Little Big Man (1970)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Many historical events of the Old West are recalled a century later by the 121-year-old Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman) in this classic western drama comedy. When he is ten, Jack and his sister are the only survivors of a Cheyenne Indian attack that kills their parents. Dubbed "Little Big Man," he becomes a member of the tribe for six years before being taken in by the Reverend Pendrake (Thayer David) and his lusty, unfaithful wife (Faye Dunaway). Jack later joins up with a snake oil salesman … More

Rating: PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Western, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Calder Willingham
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 29, 2003
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

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as Jack Crabb

as Old Lodge Skins

as Mrs. Pendrake

as Merriweather

as Gen. George Custer

as Wild Bill Hickok

as Sunshine

as Little Horse

as Younger Bear

as Shadow That Comes in...

as Burns Red In The Sun

as Historian

as Lieutenant

as Rev. Silas Pendrake

as Sunshine

as Captain

as Young Jack Crabb

as Adolescent Jack Crab...

as Card Player

as Younger Bear as a Ch...

as Deacon

as Shotgun Guard

as Digging Bear

as Little Elk

as Corn Woman

as Crow Scout

as Bartender

as Giant Troop

as Sergeant

as Man at Bar

as Assassin

as Flirtatious Girl

as Stage Passenger
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Critic Reviews for Little Big Man

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (5)

Might it be a serious attempt to right some unretrievable wrong via gallows humor which avoids the polemics? This seems to be the course taken; the attempt at least can be respected in theory.

Full Review… | June 11, 2008
Top Critic

An endlessly entertaining attempt to spin an epic in the form of a yarn.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Arthur Penn offers a new take of the culture clash between the White men and Native Americans in this revisionist. satirical, tone-shifting Western starring Dustin Hoffman and Faye Dunaway.

Full Review… | September 30, 2010

Penn seems to have little feel for the Western genre, but despite that the amazing thing is that this mock epic Western came out as well as it did.

Full Review… | April 21, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This outraged reconfiguration of an all-American genre may be set in the Wild West, but it's also very much a bulletin of its time.

Full Review… | August 30, 2003

Easily one of the most entertaining (and presently overlooked) Westerns of the early 1970s.

Full Review… | August 26, 2003

Audience Reviews for Little Big Man

Historical revisionism at some of it's finest (and most stinging).

Based on a satirical novel, this is a bleakly dark dramedy/western about a 110 year-old man named Jack Crabb who tells his life story to a misguided 20th Century historian.

Crabb is a white man who was raised by Native Americans from a young age. He grows accustomed to their humane, enlightened way of life, but eventually strikes out on his own to see the world. He gets involved in many notable historical events (a concept later revisited in Forrest Gump), mostly involving Custer, the white conquest of the west, and the dark side of American imperialism. It's not always a pretty sight, but it definitely rings true.

This is a great movie, and definitely one of those times where I'm surprised (but happy), that it was a mainstream affair. It definitely fits into the scholarly movement going on at the time where revisionism was going strong, shedding light into events from previously ignored perspectives, and presenting a more balanced view of history.

The cinematography is excellent, the direction is strong, the ambitions and goals noble, and the performances excellent. Hoffman delivers a wonderful turn here, and it's easily one of his best, even though it is sadly overlooked a lot of the time. The dark, quirky humor balances out with the material nicely, and this is a really eye opening film.

Please give this one a look. It's not only a gem of the 70s, but a really important masterpiece of cinema in general.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


The last survivor of the battle of Little Big Horn reminisces about his life in this off beat comic western starring Dustin Hoffman. The film obviously belongs to Hoffman himself as the entire story revolves around him and his life and he's an engagingly bemused anti-hero as he witnesses the atrocities and hypocrisies of the changing face of the old west, but what gives it real character is the supporting cast of oddballs who flit in and out of his sphere. These include yet another hilarious and charming performance from Chief Dan George as his adopted grandfather, a smouldering Faye Dunaway as the western equivalent of Mrs. Robinson and Richard Mulligan who plays Custer as a self-obsessed, pompous boob. It's very much a film of its time, sharing much of the flavour of anti-establishment fiction of the era and employs sly wit and gentle humour rather than the sentimentality and melodrama of the likes of Dances With Wolves in its depiction of the appalling mistreatment of the Native American population. One of the strangest westerns you'll ever see certainly, as well as one of the most interesting and fun.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

one of the more unusual westerns ever made and one of my favorite films as a kid. starring dustin hoffman as a supposedly 121 yr old man, the only white survivor of the battle of the little big horn. ranging from black comedy to drama to slapstick and back, it's a highly entertaining picaresque and also one of the first films to address native american rights in any way. a bit dated now and i think dustin is probably miscast (his accent is particularly bad) but i still love it. and chief dan george is awesome! <3

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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