The Exiles (1961) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Exiles (1961)

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Critic Consensus: An historic film, The Exiles combines gritty realism and a loosely-spun, improvisational narrative to capture the lives of Native Americans adrift in a run-down Los Angeles neighborhood in the early 1960s.

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Movie Info

The Exiles is the story of one wild but typical night in the lives of three young American Indians who have left their reservations to live in downtown Los Angeles. It presents the lifestyles and actions of these people that are "not true of all Indians of the time--but typical of many."

Cast

Eddie Sunrise
as Singer on Hill X
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Critic Reviews for The Exiles

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (16)

Kent MacKenzie's forgotten indie basks in the retroactive glow of never having had a theatrical release -- as if that somehow makes it a work of misunderstood genius.

Full Review… | November 17, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

A fascinating hybrid of art and life, The Exiles may not hew entirely faithfully to literal truth but nonetheless conveys a form of artistic honesty that is inescapable. It's a mesmerizing marriage of poetry and prose.

Full Review… | September 24, 2011
Washington Post
Top Critic

A ghostly and startling tale of Native Americans in Los Angeles -- a fusion of documentary and fiction -- in the late '50s. Never previously released, it's a revelation.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The Exiles ... presents one boozy night in the lives of Homer, Cliff, Tommy and Yvonne, from a convertible joy ride through the Third Street Tunnel, to an early-morning powwow.

Full Review… | November 20, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Kent Mackenzie's magnificent, long-undistributed, unclassifiable first feature, The Exiles, stands as a rare consideration of the inner and outer lives of American Indians in a big American city.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Rife with astonishing black-and-white images of an unknown L.A. and clashing sounds of bars, cinemas and poker games, The Exiles is one of those movies that functions as both artifact and fresh discovery.

October 10, 2008
Denver Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Exiles

A fascinating hybrid of art and life, The Exiles may not hew entirely faithfully to literal truth but nonetheless conveys a form of artistic honesty that is inescapable. It's a mesmerizing marriage of poetry and prose.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo
½

it is a time capsule of los angeles and a moving portrait of young urban indians in the late 1950s. featuring untrained actors who are startlingly natural and beautiful b/w photography of an LA that has changed beyond recognition, the film follows young men on a friday night of drinking from barhopping to their after party high above the city, where they drum and dance to recall their faraway homes. a remarkable film

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

I don't know how to react to this film. Am I supposed to empathize with these lazy, sluggish Indian men? Aimless, callous, unemployed spongers who do nothing but drink, smoke, flirt, fight and play cards? It's as if the script aims to reinforce negative stereotypes. "The Exiles" has virtually no dramatic shape. The men do nothing useful, while the women work and quietly endure their unhappiness. The story spans about a day, and nothing transformative occurs. And most of the dialogue and ambient noise is awkwardly looped in post-production -- this is alienating. In particular, the casual chatter in bars and cafes is painfully stiff. The filmmakers deserve credit for making a worthwhile sociological statement on a non-existent budget but, beyond that, there's little to recommend "The Exiles" beyond some interesting glimpses of early-'60s Los Angeles.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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