THE SAVAGE INNOCENTS 1959 NR CC

(25) IMDb 7.2/10

Striking film about the clash of different cultures. An Eskimo hunter accidentally kills a missionary who inadvertently insults the hunter's wife. Trailed via sled by two state troopers, he is captured only to learn that he and the white man have different values.

Starring:
Anthony Quinn, Yôko Tani
Runtime:
1 hour, 51 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Adventure
Director Nicholas Ray
Starring Anthony Quinn, Yôko Tani
Supporting actors Carlo Giustini, Peter O'Toole, Marie Yang, Marco Guglielmi, Kaida Horiuchi, Lee Montague, Andy Ho, Yvonne Shima, Anthony Chinn, Francis De Wolff, Michael Chow, Ed Devereaux, Nicholas Stuart, Anna May Wong, Robert Rietty, Nikki Van der Zyl
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By bookloversfriend on August 28, 2005
Format: DVD
I heard Anthony Quinn say in a television interview that this movie, The Savage Innocents, was one of his three favorites of all of the movies he'd appeared in (the other two being, of course, Zorba the Greek and La Strada). It is indeed a remarkably honest film of culture clash between the Inuit and the White Man. It pulls no punches but neither is it a down-and-dirty film. It is beautifully filmed, in color, with a realistic feel for the north country. If this movie had come out in the sixties or later, it would have been a hit and would be available on video. It is a shame for movie lovers to continue to miss this film. Let's hope that somebody in Hollywood will have the sense to put this out to the vast DVD market.

The situation is not helped by the title. In the fifties, the word "savage" was used to refer to primitive peoples or native peoples. The Inuit are, of course, not savage, but a peaceful, gentle people, and so they are portrayed in this film. The movie shows us as much how silly our cultural habits are as it shows how wise and humane those of the Inuit are.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Roland R. Courtemanche on January 16, 2006
Format: DVD
I cannot understand why this movie ( The Savage Innocents ) is not available to the general public. It is one of Anthony Quinn's best roles that I have ever seen. I saw this movie only once and it was on television, on a late night movie slot.

I thought at the time that it was one of the most moving films that I had ever seen and still feel the same way about it.

Somebody in the film industry is missing the boat by not making this movie available to the general public.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Moyers on May 29, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this film in college, in a sociology class. I found the film to be educational, entertaining, and one that I have not forgotten over many years. I would love to own a copy of this to use as part of my cultural differences program I teach. When I saw the film in college it was entitled "On Top of the World". All in all this is one of the most memorable films I have ever seen. Anthony Quinn as usual at his very best. Over the years we all have our "favorites", this is definitely one of mine. I just hope to find a copy soon compatable with our DVDs.
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Format: DVD
A throwback to that briefly popular 20s-30s anthropological genre of films dealing with the Inuit lifestyle like Nanook of the North and Men of Two Worlds, Nicholas Ray's The Savage Innocents seems caught between reconstructions of daily life complete with explanatory narration and a culture clash drama when two incompatible moralities meet with potentially disastrous consequences. At the time the film's rather innocent portrayal of wife-swapping caused it no end of censorship troubles but unfortunately from a modern perspective the film is troubling in different ways: at times it's hard to shake the feeling that the film is guilty of unintentionally patronising the Inuit characters, played by a mixture of Mexican (Anthony Quinn), Japanese (Yoko Tani), Chinese-American (Anna May Wong) and even British actors (Lee Montague) as childishly happy and incapable of grasping abstract concepts or other cultures' different morality, while the scenes where polar bears are killed on camera are out of step in a time when they're regarded as endangered species rather than a source of food. If it over-romanticises its hero as a somewhat unconvincingly `uncorrupted' savage - and it takes a big leap of faith to believe he lives so far north he'd never even heard of a gun let alone seen one - in its favour, it's non-judgmental, ultimately coming to the conclusion that the best thing for both Inuits and whites is to keep as far away from reach other as possible.

It's problematic in other ways as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kay Tall on March 25, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
We streamed this movie via Amazon Prime. The quality was excellent except for a couple of blares in the audio that were probably just because it was 50+year old cinematic audio technology in what was probably a low-budget film.
Now to the story.
We were a little confused in that it opened like a documentary, and the special effects and ethnic aspects were dated, but we hung in there and were glad we did. Days later, we are still discussing it.
There is a good 'moral' to a story capably told.
The cast was interesting :) I was surprised by a late entrant. Who knew?
Visually very interesting, i would consider the stark Arctic horizon to be a member of the cast . . . to exist, nay thrive, in an sub-zero environment that is an unbroken expanse for long dark months challenges our standards and imaginations.
Well done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Apra Adriano on April 23, 2009
Format: DVD
Unfortunately, this beautiful film (THE SAVAGE INNOCENTS) comes out in DVD with a non scope aspect ratio. This is a shame, particularly in the case of a director like Nicholas Ray, who used to frame his scope pictures in a very careful way. Still waiting for a scope version on DVD of this title. ADRIANO
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tracy L. White on October 9, 2007
Format: DVD
It has been many years since I saw this movie but it has been on my mind as a very modern film. It was released during a time when even the American Indians had yet to have a movie that portrayed them with sympathy. Yet, here was a film showing the native Inuit peoples (perhaps the first native Americans as they migrated from Asia) in a very realistic and sympathetic manner. I remember most, the values of the dominant culture in the film which is that of so called "Eskimos". I noticed that the values were the same as in most cultures; a reverence for family, hospitality, and the need to survive in a society. The differences between the Inuit people, as portrayed in the film, and those of the European Americans (Canadian) were not diffences in values, but rather differences in how those values were expressed. Hospitality is expressed by lending a visitor your wife. Anthony Quinn's caracter explains this succinctly by saying "you lend a friend your dogs, they come back hurt; you lend a friend your sled, it comes back broken; but you lend a friend your wife, she is fine, she is returned just like you left her." This quote is not verbatim, because it has been many years and I cannot obtain a copy of this movie to verify.
The primary conflict of the movie comes when a priest refuses to sleep with Quinn's wife (despite her covering herself with bear fat). This insult results in Quinn's accidental killing the priest. The value of family is expressed by the fact that Quinn's mother-in-law is left for the polar bears to eat (at her request) when she can no longer be a productive member of the family when her teeth are no longer able to chew fur to produce clothing.

Perhaps my review provides a darkness which is not present in the actual movie.
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