The Donner Party (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Donner Party (2009)





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A group of American emigrants en route to California are forced to resort to cannibalism after becoming stranded in the Sierra Mountains in this historic docudrama inspired by the harrowing true story. Excited at the prospect of beginning a new life in a new land, a group dubbed "Forlorn Hope" makes their way west under the guidance of William Hastings. When Hastings suggests that the group could save a significant amount of time by cutting though the Sierras, they follow his lead to tragic results. As blinding snowstorms steer leaders William Foster (Crispin Glover) and William Eddy (Clayne Crawford) hopelessly off course, the group slowly realizes that they have become stranded in the wilderness with no shelter and dwindling food supplies. With starvation setting in and the prospects of rescue looking bleak, the group makes the gruesome decision to sacrifice a few for the survival of many - a choice that will forever haunt them once they return to civilization and the grim reality of their struggle sets in.more
Rating: R (for some violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 26, 2010
First Look Studios - Official Site

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Crispin Glover
as William Foster
Clayne Crawford
as William Eddy
Christian Kane
as Charles Stanton
Mark Boone Jr.
as Franklin Graves
Jamie Anne Allman
as Eleanor Eddy
Mara LaFontaine
as Sarah Foster
Michele Santopietro
as Amanda McCutcheon
Cary Wayne Moore
as Jay Fosdick
Catherine Black
as Ann Fosdick
Alison Haislip
as Mary Graves
Crispian Belfrage
as Patrick Dolan
Jack Kyle
as Milt McCutcheon
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Critic Reviews for The Donner Party

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Audience Reviews for The Donner Party


We've all heard the true story of the fallen party of settlers led by William Hastings who were forced to resort to cannibalism in order to survive in the Sierra Nevada mountains, This film tells the tale in a somewhat loose fashion of the group's failure to reach their destination of California which ended up being quite near to where more than half of them met their demise.
I enjoyed seeing Crispin Glover as the preacher and one of the "leaders" of the pack on their journey towards California where they seek salvation. Obviously, the film is quite grim in subject matter, and does not quite establish any meaningful characters or backstory. However, if you like Crispin Glover, you'll want to see this. He talks with a British accent, and sounds quite like Donald Pleasance. I find it difficult to watch him in anything without thinking of his brilliant character work as Lane in "River's Edge", but when it all comes down to it, he seems to make just about anything entertaining.
"See? It's okay, he saw it on the television."(Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in "The Shining").

Eric S

Super Reviewer


Something was definately missing from this movie (besides good acting and an interesting way to present the plot). I would skip this one...

Sarah Prisbylla

Super Reviewer

I really only gave this two stars because the subject matter is interesting. Unfortunately, this film doesn't stay very true to actual events, and it's portrayed in an incredibly dull way, so I can't really even give it points for being entertaining. This is a tragic and riveting story, but this version of it does it absolutely no justice.

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