Silent Tongue


Silent Tongue

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 16


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,376
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Silent Tongue Photos

Movie Info

Playwright Sam Shepard wrote and directed this bizarre combination of western film revisionism and Greek tragedy. Silent Tongue (Tantoo Cardinal) is a mute Kiowa who is raped by Eamon McCree (Alan Bates), the owner of the Kickapoo Traveling Medicine Show. Eamon attempts to make up for his crime by marrying her, hoping for forgiveness. Instead, Silent Tongue enacts a bitter retribution through her two daughters, Awbonnie (Sheila Tousey) and Velada (Jeri Arredondo). Awbonnie, as the film begins, has already died, but her grieving husband Talbot (River Phoenix) refuses to let her go, dragging around her corpse. To assuage Talbot, his father Prescott (Richard Harris) sets out to purchase Velada from Eamon, thinking that only Awbonnie's sister can replace her in Talbot's eyes. But Velada's half-brother Reeves (Dermot Mulroney) protests the attempted transaction. As a result, Prescott kidnaps Velada and flees, with not only Reeves and Eamon chasing him, but also Awbonnie's ghost.

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River Phoenix
as Talbot Roe
Richard Harris
as Prescott Roe
Alan Bates
as Eamon McCree
Sheila Tousey
as Awbonnie/Ghost
Dermot Mulroney
as Reeves McCree
Tantoo Cardinal
as Silent Tongue
David Shiner
as Straight Man
Jeri Arredondo
as Velada McCree
Tommy Thompson
as Red Clay Rambler
Jack Herrick
as Red Clay Rambler
Bland Simpson
as Red Clay Rambler
Clay Buckner
as Red Clay Rambler
Chris Frank
as Red Clay Rambler
Arturo Gil
as 1st Little Person Acrobat
Joseph S. Griffo
as 2nd Little Person Acrobat
Phillip Attmore
as Boy Tap Dancer
Timothy Scott
as The Lone Man
Al Lujan
as Kiowa Drummer
Devino Tricoche
as Fire-Eater
April Tatro
as Contortionist
Tim Carroll
as Stage Coach Driver
Robert Harnesberger
as Buffalo Hunter
Fred Maio
as Owner
David E. Wynne
as Easterner
Sky Fabin
as Easterner
Leslie Fleming
as Easterner
Lynn Davis
as Prairie Girl
Tim Scott
as The Lone Man
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Critic Reviews for Silent Tongue

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (10)

  • The lone lure of this supernatural Western is a truly possessed performance by River Phoenix in his last completed role.

    Apr 21, 2015 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • An alternately infuriating and exhilarating example of the Western as an art film.

    Apr 21, 2015 | Full Review…
  • A strangely satisfying and challenging piece of work, one that illustrates how elements of cinema, literature and theater can work in tandem, thanks to a recipe that is one part Poe and two parts Shakespeare.

    Apr 21, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Something deep and allegorical could be going on here, but Silent Tongue is at once so overwrought and desert-dull that you can't be bothered to investigate.

    Apr 21, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • A bizarre, meandering and, finally, maddening mystical oater that will find few partisans.

    Apr 12, 2011

    Todd McCarthy

    Top Critic
  • Intriguing, then, but defiantly slow and awkward.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Tom Charity

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Silent Tongue

Silent Tongue Quotes

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