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A Man Called Horse

4.2 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Captured by Sioux, an English lord absorbs their culture by surviving their rituals and taking a mate.

American Indians were a "cool" factor in 1970 cinema, the year A Man Called Horse made its vigorous, feverishly real, and occasionally shocking debut alongside Little Big Man and Soldier Blue. Unlike the latter two films, however, Horse is less an allegory for Vietnam-era America and more of a vision quest for historical identity. In one of his defining roles, Richard Harris plays an English aristocrat captured by Dakota Sioux in 1825. Over time, he adopts their way of life and eventually becomes tribal leader--but not before undergoing savage initiation rituals, the most famous of which involves being suspended by blades inserted beneath Harris's pectoral muscles. Horse looks clunky, quaint, and inadvertently demeaning in some respects today, but the film's Native American milieu is at least defined on its own terms, i.e., whole cloth and apart from familiar Western conventions. The real draw is Harris, whose performance has a soulful integrity. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Harris, Judith Anderson, Jean Gascon, Manu Tupou, Corinna Tsopei
  • Directors: Elliot Silverstein
  • Writers: Dorothy M. Johnson, Jack DeWitt
  • Producers: Frank Brill, Sandy Howard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2003
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008CMR5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,433 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Man Called Horse" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I'm always fascinated with books & movies that deal with the interaction of subjects from different cultures such as "Shogun", "Lawrence of Arabia", "Dances with Wolves" or "Broken Arrow".
The film "A Man Called Horse" (1970) had a very special place in my memory. At times I caught myself thinking about some of its scenes deemed by the years and felt sorry that wasn't shown in TV or available to hire. Searching into Amazon I finally found it and of course I bought it. I've just finished watching it and I'm delighted with the revival.

It tells the story of an English Lord in 1825 that is hunting & sightseeing Wild America, far away from "civilization". He is captured by a Sioux warriors party and kept by its chief as a horse. In this quality the chief gift him to his mother.
A hard apprenticeship starts for the Englishman, step by step he rises himself from "horse" to warrior to leader. Along with his hardships he comes to understand, admire and adopt this culture so different to his own but full of human values.

Harris performs his part with deep conviction and is one of the best of his career. The rest of the cast is of multinational extraction: Manu Tupou fleshing Chief Yellowhand is Fijian, Judith Anderson, his mother is a distinguished performer of Macbeth & Medea, Corinna Tsopei sister of the Chief and lover of the Englishman is Greek and Miss Universe 1964, Eddie Little Sky performs as Black Eagle, Iron Eyes Cody the Medicine Man was born Italian and later adopted Native American identity and married a Native American woman. Real Native Americans performs as Warriors.
Is this a drawback? Is it necessary to be Native American to flesh one? I don't think so. We do not expect actual Romans to impersonate Emperors or Egyptians to pass as Pharaohs.
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Format: DVD
RE: A note to those confused about "white" men becoming Indian chiefs . . . so frustrating it is when some people criticize that which they clearly know nothing of.
The following is from the back cover of a book depicting a true story. The book is called BLUE JACKET by Allan W. Eckert, Landfall Press, Inc., Dayton, Ohio, Copyright 1969 by Allan W. Eckert:
"In the year 1771, a white boy named Marmaduke Van Swearingen was captured by Shawnee Indians in what is now West Virginia but was then the edge of the American frontier. Impressed with his bravery, he was not killed but instead was taken to Ohio where he was adopted into the tribe and given the name Blue Jacket, from the blue shirt he was wearing at the time of his capture. The boy grew to excel as a warrior and leader and became the only white to be made war cheif of the Shawnee."
So famous is this story that every summer in Xenia, Ohio, very near where many of the noteworthy historical exents depicted in this book actually took place, the story of BLUE JACKET is performed live on stage in an ampitheatre in the form of classic outdoor drama.
Good people, don't allow the ignorance of others to mislead you into their conclusions. Indeed, this film is highly entertaining whether it is well-researched or not; and it does stand upon its own merit against the test of time whether or not some people who write negative rewiews of this film have well-researched this film and the validity of its subject matter or not.
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2 Comments 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
An English nobleman, visiting circa-1820 America, is kidnapped by a band of Sioux warriors. Before you can say `Lord Greystoke" John Morgan (Richard Harris) is adapting to the strange and savage savages, and integrating himself into their strange and savage culture. That adaptation, of course, ultimately results in Lord John having a pair of splinters driven deep under his chest muscles and getting hoisted high in the air by a rope attached to those splinters. After this initiation ceremony Horse/Lord John/Harris becomes a respected warrior in the tribe. The scene, gruesomely realistic when A MAN CALLED HORSE was released in 1970, still works pretty well today.

I recommend this movie with, no pun intended, reservations. Director Elliot Silverstein does a good job of presenting the story from Harris's point of view. His initial capture and harsh treatment is appropriately exciting and unsettling. Harris is good in the physically demanding lead role, and conveys well the disorientation Lord John feels and his gradually increasing confidence in the hostile environment. And it's always nice to have a movie pay attention to details when it takes place in a foreign and exotic location - in this case a Sioux tribe in the early decades of the 19th century. The small stuff, as far as I can tell, is accurately related.

On the other hand, the `Tarzan factor' always has to be taken into account. White English nobleman travels to the colony, is kidnapped by the `natives' and, through inherent superiority, rises to a position of power and prestige in the foreign environment. At least A MAN CALLED HORSE treats the Sioux with interest and respect, and even has a few Native Americans, most notably Eddie Little Sky, among the cast.
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