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4.8 out of 5 stars 262 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The legends of American nations come to life.

A century-old storyteller and his grandson, a troubled 17-year-old boy, embark on a cross-country journey toward self-discovery. Like Old Pete's wise tales themselves, DREAMKEEPER is important and illuminating storytelling for the entire family.


While it doesn't hold together as a three-hour TV drama, Dreamkeeper should prove enthralling to anyone interested in Native American myths and legends. A variety of tribal folklore provides the episodic thrust of this typical Hallmark production, which relies too heavily on digital effects--and the plodding direction of Hallmark regular Steve Barron--in telling the story of a resentful Lakota teenager (Eddie Spears) who reluctantly agrees to drive his wise old grandfather (August Schellenberg) from their South Dakota "rez" to an All-Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Along the way, the tradition-bound elder serves as tribal "dreamkeeper" for his initially resistant grandson, who gradually realizes that his grandfather's stories--visualized through effects-laden reenactments involving all manner of magic and mystery--are essential in preserving the fading cultures of the Lakota and the several other tribes whose folklore depends on unbroken generations of oral tradition. While some of the lavishly dramatized tales can stand alone as authentic Native American myth-making, Dreamkeeper lacks the overall structure that could've given the stories a cumulative magical impact. Still, it's an admirable attempt to introduce neglected cultures into the television mainstream. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • The Making of Dreamkeeper
  • Native American History and Facts

Product Details

  • Actors: August Schellenberg, Eddie Spears, Gary Farmer, John Trudell, Chaske Spencer
  • Directors: Steve Barron
  • Writers: John Fusco
  • Producers: Georgina Lightning, John Fusco, Matthew O'Connor, Nick Abdo, Ron McLeod
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: March 16, 2004
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00019330O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,080 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dreamkeeper" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 3, 2004
Format: DVD
This Amazon reviewer guy obviously has no clue about what this story is actually about, or why the film format is really groundbreaking for Native American film and DOES work, wonderfully. It really isn't a typical Hallmark film. He thinks the special effects are cheesy because he doesn't understand these stories that are being told... and missed the humor of a lot of it. It's not about "myths" in the way that White people see myths. It's about how story is life.
THIS IS NOT A CHEESY HALLMARK MOVIE. It's really artfully done and is not a typical TV movie about why mainstream culture should loooove those Interesting and Spiritual Native Americans. I hope this film won't get labeled as a Nice Family Film About Myths. The only reason it's a TV movie by Hallmark is probably because this was the only way to fund such a high-budget Native film. What's too bad about that is that it won't get seen by the independent/art film crowd who might give it the awards that it deserves.
Honestly, not to offend anyone, but I think that this film wasn't made for White people, it's really more for Native people who will understand its importance. It's kind of how there are a lot of important films about White people/white american culture FOR White people who share the culture of the characters that other people can watch and either misunderstand (due to lack of understanding of white american culture) or try to view it in its context and understand the white perspective.
In the same way, this film needs to be seen in its own context, apart from the fact that it was shown on TV and laced with commercials aimed at mainstream America, or that its being sold as a Hallmark movie.
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"I want to tell you a story as it was told to me." This is the thesis of this wonderful three hour film. A grandfather tells his grandson (who has forgotten how to be an Indian) the Native American legends. The grandfather is a dreamkeeper who orally keeps the legends, culture and history of his people alive through stories passed down. Shane is a modern day 17 year old on the Res (the actual Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota) who embraces the gansta lifestyle.

By the end of the story you'll discover like Shane has that each of us as to walk the road of life (Good Red Road). Shane story is parallel to perhaps an ancestor of his named Eagle Boy who lived a thousand years ago. They are both on a Vision Quest (unknowingly to Shane). One of the many wonderful things about this film is that it doesn't just focus on the Lakota Nation legends, but many others for a more fuller experience. I will focus on a few major legends below to give you insight on the film:

1. Legend of Bluebird Woman and High Horse (Lakota): This is truly a treasure and the first of the many legends told by grandpa to hopefully help Shane resolve his conflicts (internal and external). You learn that a man's worth is in the good deeds he does. A real woman wants to be won with honor and not simply given away.

2. Legend of She Crosses The Water And The Thunder Spirit (Mohawk): This is almost like a dream world in the sky. This is truly visually stunning and another legend about love. You'll learn that we must always honor and respect the power of nature.

3. Legend of Tehan, The Red-Haired, White Kiowa (Kiowa): This is based on an actual story of a white man who became a true Native American.
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ABC and Hallmark should be commended highly for putting forth this outstanding program. Dreamkeeper is absolutely brilliant in every possible way. Production, direction, writing, acting, effects, cinematography, etc... everything was remarkable. It was inspiring, moving and educational all at once. I cannot recall ever being so moved by ANYTHING on TV. This show has restored my faith in television programming, and I know many other people feel the same way. I hadn't seen or heard any advertising about Dreamkeeper but just came across it as I was channel-surfing; it stopped me in my tracks and kept me enraptured throughout the conclusion last night. Amazing.
This is a must-own along with any possible tie-ins, i.e. resource & educational materials, as the content is of such a high caliber.
I hope the "head honchos" over at ABC and Hallmark get this message and know how much this program meant to alot of people.
For what it's worth, I am a "regular white guy" but my wife is Cherokee and African-American and we both were held speechless throughout the entire program.
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Format: DVD
Let me first preface this by stating that I am one of those people much more interested in contemporary Native American issues such as water/ land rights and language retention than I am in the spirituality stuff. The way I see it is that for every European like me there are probably a hundred that are awaiting a wizened medicine man to tell them all the secrets of the universe and bless them with long life...blah, blah, blah.....

Taking this into account I was a little bit cautious about 'Dreamkeeper' which I received as a Christmas present from my sister. How very pleasantly suprised I was. The story starts on the Pine Ridge Reservation and a young man - Shane - being co-erced by his mother into taking his Grandfather hundreds of miles away to the All Nations Powwow in New Mexico. Shane reluctantly agrees and so the real story starts.

Along the trip the Grandfather - a storyteller - relates stories that are relevant to Shane in understanding events happening in his own life and that of some of the people they meet along the way. I won't divulge too much else about the story except to say that Shane meets his estranged father and there is a reconciliation between the two. By the end of the trip Shane has also 'found' that there is more to himself than he believed.

The stories presented are great in terms of detail to attention, covering a broad breadth of Native American cultures and never neglecting humour - love the ugly woman in the cave. The acting performances are exceptional; Eddie Spears who plays Shane makes an excellent stroppy teenager (I work with them on a daily basis!). Sheila Tousey is as excellent as ever - has that woman ever acted anything less than superbly?
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