Broken Arrow - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Broken Arrow Reviews

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September 8, 2012
Broken Arrow is a western Technicolor film directed by Delmer Daves. Starring James Stewart, Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget. Film is adapted from the book Blood Brother by Elliott Arnold. It received three nominations at Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Jeff Chandler), Best Cinematography (Technicolor), and Best Adapted Screenplay, it won Best Film Promoting International Understanding award at Golden Globes. It portrays two historical figures Chochise (1805-1874) and Tom Jeffords (1832-1914), the two would become fast-friends.

Tom (James Stewart) heals a wounded Apache boy of 14-years on an Indian Territory, for this generous act he is released by the Apache. Tom befriends Cochise (Jeff Chandler), and takes him into confidence to allow stagecoaches, mail to pass-through, with mutual coexistence. However, not all on White-side believe in such truce.

This is an average classic western film, but it's pure in its struggle to define three sought-after words in proper western movies 'tolerance', 'harmony' and 'equality. I loved watching Jeff Chandler and Jimmy Stewart together. While, John Ford and John Wayne and many in their footsteps realized very late about portraying Native-Americans negatively, James Stewart did it quite early in his times. It is first post World-War-II film to depict Native-Americans in positive way, showing their courage of tolerance, and intention to live in harmony, while coping with loss of loved ones. Movies do play major role in brainwashing immature audience, and since the silent movies, there were many of such movies, which would often preach words like 'Barbarians' or 'Savages' for Native-Americans, forgetting to be noticed that at the end of the film "white community triumphs". But I always get excited when former foes make truce to be friends and work shoulder-by-shoulder. Some of us are bad some of us are good, and thus we must always endure pain to make all good.
½ August 7, 2012
James Stewart is great in western movies. Broken Arrow is a classic mix of love and war.
½ July 27, 2012
I was named after the Apache girl lol. Great movie :)
July 24, 2012
A fine western that shows the constant struggles between the Whites and the Apaches. James Stewart plays the in-betweener, a man who is supposed to bring peace to the two rivaling races. While it seems that the 'treaty' might finally be signed, as it always happens, the human element intervenes and a new fight embarks setting the deadly hunting game. A classic western, but somehow not as engaging as other similar titles.
½ April 19, 2012
A great western that was the first to promote peace between Indians and the whites after WWII
January 22, 2012
Un western de los buenos, entretenido y convincente, y con mensaje antiyanki, que es lo mejor.
June 11, 2011
Engrossing western, this one earned the late Jeff Chandler an Oscar for his white man's portrayl of Cochise.. A drama about a scout and his personal relationship with the American Indian. Debra Pagent is quite good as an indian maiden whom Stewart marries.

Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations.

Regretably, it was typical back in the 50 and 60's and beyond, as white people played many of the parts as American native indians, especially Italians who seemed to corner the market on the roles in television.

Very recommended, as is most anything with James Stewart, in my very humble opinion.

NOTEs about the film:

1 At 41, James Stewart was 25 years older than Debra Paget, who was barely 16 at the time of filming.

2 Screenwriter Albert Maltz did not receive a credit when the film was released because he was blacklisted. Instead, the script was credited to Michael Blankfort.

3 The film was considered groundbreaking at the time because it portrayed the native American Indians in a humane light, something that had scarcely happened since silent days. However, years later the film was heavily criticized because the Indians were still played by white actors.

4 The movie's world premiere was held in the Nusho Theater in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

5 The broken arrow, which signals an end to fighting, is in fact a Blackfoot Indian symbol, not an Apache symbol. The Blackfoot are native to Montana and Alberta, Canada.


James Stewart ... Tom Jeffords
Jeff Chandler ... Cochise
Debra Paget ... Sonseeahray ('Morningstar')
Basil Ruysdael ... Gen. Oliver 'The Christian General' Howard
Will Geer ... Ben Slade, Rancher
Joyce Mackenzie ... Terry, Scatfly Proprietress (as Joyce MacKenzie)
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Milt Duffield, Mail Superintendent

Director: Delmer Daves
Writers: Elliott Arnold (novel), Albert Maltz (screenplay)

Runtime:93 min

Sound Mix:Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Color: (Technicolor)

½ May 10, 2011
It has beautiful Technicolor and some nice visuals but the earnest pro-Indian, condescending liberalism dates the film. Fairly dull even at only 90mins.
½ February 5, 2011
A great western that was the first to promote peace between Indians and the whites after WWII
½ January 30, 2011
Great flick! And it has some real history about Tucson and the old west. If you want to see the true story that Dances With Wolves is based on - this is the one.
December 28, 2010
All of you guys know that I'm a huge, Jimmy Stewart and this is one of his best film's..., Broken Arrow. It's got a great cast and the storyline is "dead on target..." You guys will love this one...Njoy!!!
½ November 26, 2010
This is a tough one to review. On the one hand, you've got Whites playing Native Americans, which feels wrong. But on the other hand, you've got a more complex treatment of Native Americans than was probably put on screen before PLUS Jimmy Stewart actually goes in for an inter-racial marriage, viewed positively. There are both "good" and "bad" whites and Apaches here, but somehow the land granted to the Apaches in the treaty seems larger than their current reservation. Wikipedia shows this to have been based on a true story (Cochise and Tom Jeffords really were friends) and that ultimately the Apaches did get "relocated". Technicolor, with some well staged scenes.
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2010
James Stewart is cool in this movie trying to get the Europeans and Native Americans to get along. Both he and the audience learn a lot. Of course this isn't the best western, but I liked it.
September 22, 2010
ive always like james stewart movies
½ September 13, 2010
not Stewart's best western but still a good one..Stewart is solid as always in his role but Jeff Chandler as Cochise steals the film...good action scenes along with nice cinematography..the romance kinda slows it down tho..still a fine western
½ September 3, 2010
Very well done picture. One of the only 50's westerns I can remember that didn't portray Indians as savages. Good story about how we can all get along. Nice appearence by Geronimo, as well as a clever narration of explaining that the Indian's would take American so we'd understand them. Surprised more films don't use that trick.
½ July 17, 2010
While not entirely perfect, it was still a great movie, especially since, when it was filmed, it was the first of it's kind to portray Native Americans in a positive light - humans that were forced to defend their family and land, not savages with a lust to kill. But the shots were beautiful, the acting spot on, and quality action.
Super Reviewer
June 28, 2010
I actually really like this and think it has a very nice message and sense of direction. James Stewart fits well into the earnest cowboy role, essentially becoming the peacemaker of Arizona. While some of the Indians don't come across as authentic looking, it doesn't really matter. I'd rather watch Jeff Chandler as Cochise than a real Native American who can't act. This is a very different type of Western and one that has a very unique quality to it.
June 15, 2010
despite the white actors and their brown-painted faces (think charlton heston as a mexican), it still fares better than /dances with wolves/ which amounts to no more than 'not interested' in mine eyes... basically the same story
Super Reviewer
May 22, 2010
Fine movie, well acted. This film portrays Cochise and many of the other Apaches as good people, which was a remarkable leap at the time.
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