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  • Most Indians don't ride horses or wear feathers, but in the movies they always do.

    Most Indians don't ride horses or wear feathers, but in the movies they always do.

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  • On Will Sampson's performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

    On Will Sampson's performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/reel_injun-clip1.jpgmp4:reel_injun-clip1-1024.mov
  • "After playing the bonehead savage for so many years, the Navajo get their sweet revenge."

    "After playing the bonehead savage for so many years, the Navajo get their sweet revenge."

    http://cdn.itvs.org/reel_injun-clip2.jpgmp4:reel_injun-clip2-1024.mov
  • Dances With Wolves- fleshed out characters or same old stereotypes?

    Dances With Wolves- fleshed out characters or same old stereotypes?

    http://cdn.itvs.org/reel_injun-clip3.jpgmp4:reel_injun-clip3-1024.mov
  • Young stuntman in training with Rod Rondeaux

    Young stuntman in training with Rod Rondeaux

    http://cdn.itvs.org/reel_injun-01.jpg
  • Actor Adam beach, Saulteaux First Nation

    Actor Adam beach, Saulteaux First Nation

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  • Filmmaker Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals)

    Filmmaker Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals)

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  • Riding into the sunset

    Riding into the sunset

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  • Entrance of Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

    Entrance of Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

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  • Russell Means at Wounded Knee

    Russell Means at Wounded Knee

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  • Activist and actress Sacheen Littlefeather

    Activist and actress Sacheen Littlefeather

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  • Director Neil Diamond, Cree First Nation

    Director Neil Diamond, Cree First Nation

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The Film

Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes a look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema. Traveling through the heartland of America, and into the Canadian North, Diamond looks at how the myth of "the Injun" has influenced the world's understanding — and misunderstanding — of Natives.

Reel Injun traces the evolution of cinema's depiction of Native people from the silent film era to today, with clips from hundreds of classic and recent Hollywood movies, and candid interviews with celebrated Native and non-Native film celebrities, activists, film critics, and historians.

Diamond meets with Clint Eastwood (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; A Fistful of Dollars; Unforgiven) at his studios in Burbank, California, where the film legend discusses the evolution of the image of Indians in Westerns and what cowboy-and-Indian myths mean to America. Reel Injun also hears from legendary Native American activists John Trudell, Russell Means, and Sacheen Littlefeather.

Celebrities featured in Reel Injun include Robbie Robertson, the half-Jewish, half-Mohawk musician and soundtrack composer (Raging Bull, Casino, Gangs of New York); Cherokee actor Wes Studi (Last of the Mohicans, Geronimo), filmmakers Jim Jarmusch (Dead Man) and Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals); and acclaimed Native actors Graham Greene (Dances with Wolves, Thunderheart) and Adam Beach (Smoke Signals, Clint Eastwood's Flags of our Fathers). Diamond also travels North to the remote Nunavut town of Igloolik (population: 1,500) to interview Zacharias Kunuk, director of the Caméra d'or-winning The Fast Runner.

Diamond takes the audience on a journey across America to some of cinema's most iconic landscapes, including Monument Valley, the setting for Hollywood's greatest Westerns, and the Black Hills of South Dakota, home to Crazy Horse and countless movie legends. It's a loving look at cinema through the eyes of the people who appeared in its very first flickering images and have survived to tell their stories their own way.

The Filmmakers

  1. Neil DiamondDirector
  2. Christina FonProducer
  3. Catherine BainbridgeProducer
  4. Linda LudwickProducer