Little Big Man

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Released 1970

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Little Big Man

Movie Summary

Director:
Arthur Penn
Released:
1970
Rating:
PG-13
Little Big Man is a 1970 satirical Western film directed by Arthur Penn based on the novel by Thomas Berger. It tells the story of Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman) through the usage of a framing device in which the 121-year-old Crabb recounts the story of his life to a curious historian (William Hickey). The main theme of the movie is that of the dual life Crabb lives, alternating between the Indian and European-American way of life. Adopted by Cheyenne Indians after the death of his parents, Jack lives an idyllic life among them, being raised by the tribe's chief Old Lodge Skins (Chief Dan George). However, his happy life is shattered when U.S. Cavalry troopers capture him, forcing him to renounce his Native American heritage to survive. He is left in the care of a minister and his wife (Thayer David and Faye Dunaway) to relearn the ways of the white man. Eventually, he falls in love with a Swedish woman named Olga (Kelly Jean Peters) and joins up with General Custer (Richard Mulligan), who is making the preparations for the Battle of Little Big Horn.moreless

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Arthur Penn's Little Big Man is an endlessly entertaining attempt to spin an epic in the form of a yarn.

  • 70

    Variety

    Little Big Man is a sort of vaudeville show, framed in fictional biography, loaded with sketches of varying degrees of serious and burlesque humor, and climaxed by the Indian victo...

  • 30

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    The film tries to cover too much ground, even though Calder Willingham's script eliminates or telescopes events and characters from the Berger novel.

Jeff Corey

Jeff Corey

Wild Bill Hickok

Martin Balsam

Martin Balsam

Mr. Merriweather

Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman

Jack Crabb

Faye Dunaway

Faye Dunaway

Mrs. Pendrake

Richard Mulligan

Richard Mulligan

Gen. George Armstrong Custer

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Themes

Military & War, Westerns, Historical, Dark Comedy