on August 5, 2004
This amazing film begins by interrupting the conversation of a wizen old man and a stock liberal professor who is conducting research into the old west. As the pompous scholar begins to explain to his elderly interviewee about the `real' American West, the man becomes indignant and begins telling a fascinating tale. It is a very human story that he shares and unlike the professor's close-minded, simplistic view of the conflict between the American Indians and white men (a popular modern viewpoint that anything Indian was numinous and good and anything white was evil), it is a revealing of the fact that there was good and bad on both sides.
Thankfully this was produced before the forces of political correctness could bowdlerize it. Today this would be watered down to avoid the epithets and stereotypes that add color and authenticity to this wonderful film. It is a obvious precursor to `Dances With Wolves', but also to a movie where the influence is less patent like `Forrest Gump' where famous persons are infused into a historical comic-drama. Numerous interesting characters infuse the picture: the epicene (though lustful) sister, the wise, yet pixilated Indian grandfather (played brilliantly by Chief Dan George), the unconscionable General Custer, the libertine Mrs. Pendrake (Faye Dunaway may possibly be the sexiest woman to ever appear on screen) and of course Dustin Hoffman's own character.
A funny and sad study of a wild time in history mixed with modern sentiments. A tall tale that resonates with truth.
on March 25, 2012
In the late 1960's American film maker Arthur Penn was a reference for post-studio system, idealistic and free director. Perhaps his best work until today is Little Big Man. Anchored on a solid screen play, the film takes place in a home for the elderly, where ancient Jack Crabb reviews his life for a greedy reporter. This is, in my humble opinion, actors Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway best work done for film.
Highly recommended to anyone who is not familiar with Arthur Penn movies. The Blu-Ray is a must have for Penn's fans. The soundtrack is an improvement over the original 35 mm mono track, and it is far better defined than the DVD release.
on June 19, 2000
LITTLE BIG MAN was what DANCES WITH WOLVES was not; a intellegent, well-crafted account of the 19th-century American West and the state of affairs between the Native Peoples and the White Man...and a great story to boot. Jack Crabb is still Dustin Hoffman's best role and the movie should've up-ended PATTON for the Best Picture Oscar in 1970, but no matter. The picaresque adventures of Crabb and those he encounters along the way still resonates today and still speaks volumes about how this country was conquered and how its original inhabitants were betrayed. A classic.
on November 13, 2011
Please describe the audio/video quality of any Blu-Ray you review. Thanks to those who do this.
I can't believe I am the first to review this Blu-Ray (it was released on Tuesday the 8th, and this is 11/13/2011).
The video quality varied. The beginning had a lot of grain, which soon disappeared. I sit about 7 feet away from a 52" LCD, and I didn't notice any grain during most of the movie. The lowest rating I have ever given to a Blu-Ray movie was 4.0 on a 10.0 scale. The beginning was about a 6.5. Most of the movie was about 8.5. Some of the indoor shots were about 9.5. Overall, very good for a movie made in 1970.
I was happy to see that there was DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio; it just wasn't that good. They didn't put much effort into the surround sound.
The movie lasted 2 hours and 19 minutes. I believe the aspect ration is 2.40:1, but it could be 2.35:1. I was glad to see the widescreen format, instead of the 1.77:1 that is listed in the product description. The movie had credits at the end. The only person in the cast that I recognized, besides Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, and Chief Dan George, was E. Emmett Walsh, who was the "Shot Gun Guard". I wish they had the credits at the beginning, so I would have known to look for him.
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I am satisfied having it on Blu-Ray.
This is pure movie magic. The kind where people sigh and exclaim, "They don't make them like this anymore!" Actually this movie was made after the time of "They don't make this anymore," which makes it even more special. Dustin Hoffman gives probably his best performance ever and all the actors stand out perfectly. Faye Dunaway is a riot and Chief Dan George is very memorable. My only regret is not having seen this movie in a theatre yet. It is warm, engaging and very funny. I highly recommend the film.
in history or a Liar of Insane Proportions!"
This is Dustin Hoffman's tour de force; his transformation from a young man into a very, very old one, and it is entirely believable and great to watch. All the cast members are terrific, and Jeff Corey and Robert Mulligan my favorites. When Hoffman joins Custer's 7th as a scout/mule skinner he deliberately gives Custer the information that causes him to make the ill-fated decision to ride into the waiting arms of several thousand Sioux/Cheyenne and consequently, history. His own scout,the Native American named White Man Runs Him, warned him on the day before the Battle: "Tomorrow we go home by a different path."
"One of the facts surrounding the battle that has been largely overlooked is that it wasn't just Bluecoats against Indians. It was Indians against Indians. Without the Crow and Arikara scouts aiding the military, the Bluecoats would not even have been able to find the Sioux and Cheyenne. On June 17, when Crazy Horse and his warriors attacked General Crook's detachment at the Battle of the Rosebud, the battle favored the Sioux, although Crook called it a draw. He withdrew from the field to lick his wounds, taking himself out of the hunt for the ''hostiles,'' and neither Gibbon and his men, Terry and his men, nor Custer and his men knew that he had returned to base. But this is the real kicker about that battle: the Crow and Arikera scouts saved General Crook and his men from an even more absolute whipping.
This, and other poignant details, are explored in a new book, ''Little Bighorn Remembered,'' by Herman J. Viola. He is the Curator Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution and noted author of fifteen books on American Indians over the past quarter century. He is now the adopted brother of Joseph Medicine Crow, whose grandfather White Man Runs Him was a scout for Custer, helping him to find the large gathering of Sioux and Cheyenne at the Little Big Horn."
The most haunting part of the entire movie, for me, was the massacre of Native Americans as a result of the Battle of the Little Big Horn. When the 7th rides into the camp they are accompanied by the stirring tune of "Garryowens" and slaughter men, women and children in one astounding, riveting scene, that horrifies and hypnotizes. You know it actually happened, it is historical and that makes it have far more impact, and it is very hard to watch, yet impossible not to.
All the Native Americans portrayed are done so with great care and I liked the friend of Hoffman's who later became a "Contrary" and walked backwards and spoke backwards, and the one who was more female than male and allowed, quite generously and without prejudice of any kind, to remain with the women and children, and to dress like a woman.
The elephant spigot in the drugstore was great, (that Old Lodge Skins saw in a dream) as was Faye Dunaway's portrayal of the good Christian wife with a side of lust.
When Custer loses it on the Battlefield, it is something to see, and he literally goes insane in front of us. In accounts of the actual battle, there were reports of soldiers going insane and killing themselves first before the Sioux could get to them; not a bad idea, considering the way in which they were butchered. Another interesting factoid was that the battle itself took about twenty minutes, and was not the long, drawn out episode sometimes portrayed. An old Sioux watched from afar, and said the battle lasted as long as it took him to finish his pipe. There were mutilations too, and Custer was the only one relatively untouched; when the squaws came to the battlefield they pierced his ears so in the next life he would "hear better, for he had been warned not to attack the Sioux again."
All in all, a wonderful movie and really transports you to a another time, long gone.
on January 6, 2012
A brilliant film re-made into more brilliant colors on blu-ray. Watching this stellar film again shows the talent of Duston Hoffman and a surprising list of real actors playing real life characters. Seeing the wild west and the cultures of the time with a . hindsight view of the many injustices to the indians and buffalo. Defintely a must see enjoyable yet haunting movie
Dustin Hoffman gives one of his best performances (although, almost all of his performances are wonderful) in Little Big Man, a kind of western/comedy/road movie. You know those movies where you follow a character around from misadventure to misadventure while they meet a large share of quirky characters. Recent examples of those kind of films would be Jesus' Son and Breakfast on Pluto; Little Big Man is also one of those kinds of movies. When the film opens we meet 121-year old Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman), who looks like Grandpa from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. Jack is about to give an interview to a guy who wants to know about indians; Through flash-backs and voice-over Jack tells his story. As a boy, Jack and his family are ambushed by a group of indians but saved by another group (the Cheyenne). With only his sister and him, they go off to live with the indians but his sister escapes quickly leaving Jack all alone. As Jack proves his merit to the indians, he earns the nickname Little Big Man. After a battle where he is almost killed by a white man, he is brought into town and sent to live with two-overly religious people Mr. and Mrs. Pendrake. While Mr. Pendrake is an old religous man, Mrs. Pendrake (Faye Dunaway) is quite different. She appears to be a religious fanatic, but there's something else there as well. After catching her with another man, Jack ends up with a traveling "healer" named Mr. Meriweather who is prone to losing various body parts. After that debacle, he's reunited with his sister and becomes a gunslinger but after watching Will Bill Hickok (Jeff Corey) gun down a man, he quits that too. This is all in the first hour alone and this movie runs over two hours long. I'm not a big fan of movies involving cowboys and indians and such; But this movie is actually pretty good. It's very entertaining, all the characters are great, the performances are wonderful, the script is solid. Faye Dunaway isn't even in the movie that long, but she's a scene-stealer in this film for sure. This movie, which features Dustin Hoffman aging from 10 years old to 121 years old holds the world record for doing so. It's the longest anyone's lived on film apparently. It's an interesting film, it's funny and it's hard to not to enjoy.
on May 10, 2006
Years after its release, there just aren't many films that even approach this masterpiece. My all time favorite movie. This adaptation of the Thomas Berger novel, stands on its own quite well. Not as raw as the novel, but every bit as satisfying. Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of the 121 year old Jack Crabb, stands out as one of his, and filmdom's great screen performances. Even if one doesn't care much for Westerns, this film is more than just a Western; its an American epic. One of Hollywood's better portrayals of a more sympathetic and human side to the Native-American plight.
From the tragic loss of most of his family at the hands of renegade Indians, to his being raised into his adolescent years by the Cheyenne, this story is both compelling, and at times extremely funny. Raised during his teen years with the strictly religious Pendrakes, Jack enters a new phase of life, and an end-to-innocence, after discovering the infidelity of Mrs. Pendrake(Faye Dunnaway), who never looked lovelier on the big screen. Experiencing life as a Medicine Man, Gunslinger, General Store owner, and taking on his first wife Olga, who he loses to the Indians, after taking the advice of General George Armstrong Custer(Richard Mulligan in his finest role)to "go west."
Returning to his Cheyenne family, he takes his second wife Sunshine. Watching this film in the theater after its initial release, it was love-at-first-sight seeing the actress playing this young woman. It was also one of the most gut-wrenching moments in film history, to watch the brutal murder of Sunshine, and the newborn baby of Jack Crabb, gunned-down by the U.S. Calvary as she flees with baby-in-arm, during the cruel massacre of the Indian Nation. The entire audience was in total shocked silence. But he does manage to rescue his Grandfather, Old Lodge Skins, played by the Oscar nominated Chief Dan George. He then turns Hermit and nearly goes mad. He even manages the impossible, of being the "sole white survivor of the Little Bighorn." From beginning-to-end, a can't miss buy that was long overdue on DVD. Infectious viewing at its best.
on January 30, 2005
I sincerely consider Little Big Man to be one of the greatest movies made. Dustin Hoffman is just superb as Jack Crabb, who as a boy is adopted by the Cheyenne after his family was butchered by the Pawnee. He grows up to become a full-fledged Cheyenne brave, but when is adoptive father, played by the great Chief Dan George, decides to wage war against the Whites, Crabb suddenly finds himself swept along in the events of the day. He becomes--in rapid succession--a school boy, con man, gunfighter, store propriertor & husband, Cavalry soldier, drunk, and a scout for General Custer. This movie abounds with humour, but ultimately I guess this was done in order to make the true message of the movie easier to take. The movie is in actuality a an indictment of America's "Wild West" era, during which the native inhabitants of the West saw their homelands invaded, and were to a large degree exterminated for daring to defend their homes.