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Little Big Man (1970)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 0

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 17,021

My Rating

Movie Info

Recounting how the West was won through the eyes of a white man raised as a Native American, Arthur Penn's 1970 adaptation of Thomas Berger's satirical novel was a comic yet stinging allegory about the bloody results of American imperialism. As a misguided 20th-century historian listens, 121-year-old Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman) narrates the story of being the only white survivor of Custer's Last Stand. White orphan Crabb was adopted by the Cheyenne, renamed "Little Big Man," and raised in the

PG-13,

Western, Action & Adventure, Classics

Calder Willingham

Apr 29, 2003

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Little Big Man

June 14, 2011:
Tom Cruise in Talks for Adaptation of Lee Child's One Shot
He'll play the 6'5", 250-pound drifter Jack Reacher.
August 31, 2006:
Battle of Little Bighorn: The Movie
You learned about it in history class (if you were paying attention), and now you can see the movie....

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All Critics (28) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (1) | DVD (11)

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.

June 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

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.

April 21, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
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.

August 30, 2003 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

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

August 26, 2003 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

A picaresque masterpiece about an inimitable American anti-hero whose wild adventures are delivered into our hearts and minds with the robust vitalities of comedy.

May 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

truly magical movie that works well

May 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

One of Dustin Hoffman's best films, one of Arthur Penn's best films, and one of Hollywood's best films.

May 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

One of the great films of the early 70s.

May 2, 2003
Creative Loafing

An American classic, Little Big Man seeks to rectify Western history with this engrossing account of the colorful life of 121-year-old Jack Crabb.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

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.
January 20, 2014
cosmo313
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.
July 3, 2012
garyX
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
September 29, 2010
rubystevens
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Dustin Hoffman turns out a great but overlooked performance as a 121 year-old man who tells his life story. Little Big Man is a good movie but has a tone that changes way too much for its own good. It hits everything from black comedy to slapstick to heartbreaking. Just like with the movie Little Big Man is a precursor to, Dances With Wolves, I felt completely ashamed to be white. The Bill Hicock scenes were too few but at the same time great. Chief Dan George was amazing and had some of the best lines ("does she show pleasant enthusiasm when you mount her?"), the gay Indian/Native American (whatever your pleasure) was great and Faye Dunaway was very entertaining for the few brief moments she was in this movie.
July 13, 2008
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

    1. Old Lodge Skins: Does she show enthusiasm when you mount her?
    – Submitted by Robert S (21 months ago)
    1. Shotgun Guard: Goodby, Hello.
    – Submitted by Tim R (2 years ago)
    1. Old Lodge Skins: Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't.
    – Submitted by Geoff B (2 years ago)
    1. Burns Red In The Sun: There is a pain between my ears that I do not understand.
    – Submitted by Geoff B (2 years ago)
    1. Jack Crabb: Might I ask who I are addressin'?
    – Submitted by Geoff B (2 years ago)
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