Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson Reviews

  • Sep 15, 2019

    Some of the worst writing and directing Paul Newman ever had to suffer. It is telling that Hollywood chose to weave a story about show-people as a vehicle to express their distain and hatred for America.

    Some of the worst writing and directing Paul Newman ever had to suffer. It is telling that Hollywood chose to weave a story about show-people as a vehicle to express their distain and hatred for America.

  • May 27, 2015

    Having only just discovered this film thanks to KINO's blu ray release, this is an oddly entertaining take on history that not only challenges the American myth of the wild west and the character known as Buffalo Bill. Paul Newman is perfect in the role of the goofy showman. It is all a show. And Altman's signature style lends itself well to the rambling backstage peak which is as realistic as it is funny. As I understand it, this film failed upon its initial release. That is understandable, but you can't help but think that Altman was thrilled to release this all too honest movie during the US Bicentennial. It may have failed in 1976, but it a fun and interesting experience in 2015. This is not your Mom's Paul Newman movie.

    Having only just discovered this film thanks to KINO's blu ray release, this is an oddly entertaining take on history that not only challenges the American myth of the wild west and the character known as Buffalo Bill. Paul Newman is perfect in the role of the goofy showman. It is all a show. And Altman's signature style lends itself well to the rambling backstage peak which is as realistic as it is funny. As I understand it, this film failed upon its initial release. That is understandable, but you can't help but think that Altman was thrilled to release this all too honest movie during the US Bicentennial. It may have failed in 1976, but it a fun and interesting experience in 2015. This is not your Mom's Paul Newman movie.

  • Mar 03, 2015

    Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson continues Robert Altman's trend of finding the reality within the fiction, and vice versa. Released in 1976, it came along at a time when the U.S. was celebrating its bicentennial, not to mention the blockbuster success of Jaws (with Star Wars on the horizon), so to say that a post-modern western (especially one that has strong ties to its original stage play counterpart) wouldn't be well-received isn't too much of a surprise. Altman's continued use of messy dialogue-heavy soundtracks with diffused lenses is partly what turns me off about this film. This specifically feels like a work that didn't require that kind of style. It feels like it should be more perfunctory in nature and less stylish. Not that Altman is incapable of delivering a product that feels fresh or different, but I felt that this project didn't need his usual overt touches. It feels more straightforward. The presence of Paul Newman, first of all, seems to be off-kilter most of the time. He doesn't feel like he belongs in this ensemble, but then again, I couldn't imagine Warren Beatty or Elliot Gould in it either. The cast does some great work, of course, but there are never any great performances or great dialogue pieces that stand out anywhere. I've said elsewhere that I'm not a big Robert Altman fan, but I do appreciate some of his work and genuinely love a couple of his movies, but this is a case where it's hard for me to defend the material. It's not a terrible movie by any means. If it were, it would be more memorable, but I felt mostly neutral about it while watching it. Some good performances mixed with an over-zealous style equals boring results.

    Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson continues Robert Altman's trend of finding the reality within the fiction, and vice versa. Released in 1976, it came along at a time when the U.S. was celebrating its bicentennial, not to mention the blockbuster success of Jaws (with Star Wars on the horizon), so to say that a post-modern western (especially one that has strong ties to its original stage play counterpart) wouldn't be well-received isn't too much of a surprise. Altman's continued use of messy dialogue-heavy soundtracks with diffused lenses is partly what turns me off about this film. This specifically feels like a work that didn't require that kind of style. It feels like it should be more perfunctory in nature and less stylish. Not that Altman is incapable of delivering a product that feels fresh or different, but I felt that this project didn't need his usual overt touches. It feels more straightforward. The presence of Paul Newman, first of all, seems to be off-kilter most of the time. He doesn't feel like he belongs in this ensemble, but then again, I couldn't imagine Warren Beatty or Elliot Gould in it either. The cast does some great work, of course, but there are never any great performances or great dialogue pieces that stand out anywhere. I've said elsewhere that I'm not a big Robert Altman fan, but I do appreciate some of his work and genuinely love a couple of his movies, but this is a case where it's hard for me to defend the material. It's not a terrible movie by any means. If it were, it would be more memorable, but I felt mostly neutral about it while watching it. Some good performances mixed with an over-zealous style equals boring results.

  • Jan 10, 2015

    The subtleties elevate this from good to genius. Watch it very, very closely.

    The subtleties elevate this from good to genius. Watch it very, very closely.

  • Dec 17, 2013

    been looking for this movie, among other titles

    been looking for this movie, among other titles

  • Nov 30, 2013

    Until you get used to the over-lapping dialogue, camera set back in unusual locations (with objects in the way) and a kind of decentralized way of dealing with long shots (helped by the occasional zoom), then an Altman movie (like this one) can be quite disorienting. Paul Newman doesn't show up for the first 12 minutes, in the starring role as Buffalo Bill. The stage is set at Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and the events that unfold surround the negotiations with Sitting Bull to join show business. He wants to do it on own terms (for example, instead of re-enacting the death of Custer at Little Bighorn, he'd rather show how his people, unarmed and including women and children, were massacred by another American general). So, there are darker themes here about "phony" history, the people who propagated it and those who may have believed it, and then the truth about the American west.

    Until you get used to the over-lapping dialogue, camera set back in unusual locations (with objects in the way) and a kind of decentralized way of dealing with long shots (helped by the occasional zoom), then an Altman movie (like this one) can be quite disorienting. Paul Newman doesn't show up for the first 12 minutes, in the starring role as Buffalo Bill. The stage is set at Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and the events that unfold surround the negotiations with Sitting Bull to join show business. He wants to do it on own terms (for example, instead of re-enacting the death of Custer at Little Bighorn, he'd rather show how his people, unarmed and including women and children, were massacred by another American general). So, there are darker themes here about "phony" history, the people who propagated it and those who may have believed it, and then the truth about the American west.

  • Mar 10, 2013

    this movie has a pacing problem. the content is good and the actors deliver, but somehow the structure is too removed from its own story, and robert altman seems miles away from the movie he is making. Everything is good and yet it doenst gel like he managed for Mash and Nashville. Also could be funnier than it is, and more mobilizing. it knows its mark but doesnt really make for it....

    this movie has a pacing problem. the content is good and the actors deliver, but somehow the structure is too removed from its own story, and robert altman seems miles away from the movie he is making. Everything is good and yet it doenst gel like he managed for Mash and Nashville. Also could be funnier than it is, and more mobilizing. it knows its mark but doesnt really make for it....

  • Nov 01, 2012

    Cynical chaos, but interesting nonetheless.

    Cynical chaos, but interesting nonetheless.

  • Oct 09, 2012

    Intelligent et feroce mais parfois un peu ennuyeux aussi. Inegal...

    Intelligent et feroce mais parfois un peu ennuyeux aussi. Inegal...

  • Sep 25, 2012

    (*** 1/2): [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img] Well-acted and directed.

    (*** 1/2): [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img] Well-acted and directed.