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Little Big Man

Where to Watch Little Big Man

PG
1970

Little Big Man is a sweeping narrative of the American frontier, directed by the iconic filmmaker Arthur Penn in 1970. This epic dramatizes the vibrant and tumultuous era during the mid-19th century, depicting the harsh realities of conquest and survival in the Old West of America. The film stars prestigious actor Dustin Hoffman, alongside Faye Dunaway, and Chief Dan George, one of the finest actors of the First Nations descent to grace Hollywood's silver screen.

The film follows the larger-than-life character of Jack Crabb, charmingly performed by Dustin Hoffman. It presents the Old West's atrocities, ironies, and larger-than-life personalities through Crabb's immersive narrative point of view. Locating him as the oldest living man in the world at age 121, the story swaps between his present-day recounting and his vivid flashbacks to his tumultuous, adventure-filled life.

Crabb recounts being captured and raised by the Cheyenne tribe, culturally his enemy, when he is the sole survivor of a frontier family massacre. This gives him the movie's title, Little Big Man. In this Cheyenne tribe, he learns their customs, their values, and, crucially, their perspective on the encroaching white settlers. Crabb live this dual existence throughout his life, oscillating between the Native American world and the white settlers'. This equilibrium allows the narrative to emphasize the ironies, hypocrisies, and cultural clashes of those worlds in a time of great upheaval.

Dustin Hoffman is joined by a flamboyantly performative Faye Dunaway, who mesmerizes at every turn of her unpredictable character. Dunaway plays a Bible-thumping, straightlaced woman who tries to civilize the ‘savage’ in Crabb, while ironically ignoring the savagery within her society. This offers a sharp critique of the settlers' fervor for civilizing natives while ironically harboring atrocities within their cloistered world.

Adding to this peculiar ensemble is Chief Dan George, showcasing a gritty, wryly humorous, and deeply touching performance. His character ruminates on the changing cultural landscape and embodies the tragedy and resilience of Native Americans. His relationship with Hoffman's character adds richness to the narrative, injecting a noteworthy balance of emotion and levity into the scenes.

Penn's direction and Calder Willingham’s film adaptation of Thomas Berger's novel, "Little Big Man," brings an uncommon depth to the genre. It isn’t just a western; it is also a scathing social satire, a tragedy of cultures, and a character study. Penn oscillates between wild slapstick humor and gut-punching drama without ever tipping the balance of the narrative. He successfully manages to present a notable critique of American frontier history which still resonates today.

The film employed the state-of-art production design of the period, successfully re-creating the 19th-century American West in all its grandeur and squalor. The cinematography is sweeping in its embrace of the vast frontier landscape, enriched with its unique color palette. The Spanish Peaks of the Rocky Mountain Range in Southern Colorado provide a majestic backdrop for the epic.

Simultaneously heartbreaking and humorous, Little Big Man makes the Old West up close and personal. The film's narrative tension springs from family-like bond that forms between the incompatible cultures – one native and the other alien. Throughout the film, the inherent humanity of native culture, their appreciation for the earth, and holistic living philosophies are illuminated straightforwardly.

In a broader sense, Little Big Man serves as a profound statement on cultural extinction and the cruel dynamics of the American frontier. Penn uses the narrative's humor as a tool to lead viewers to contemplate the real tragedy and empathy for the Native people's genocide. It's a film that asks its audience to confront their understanding of American history and extend empathy to the forgotten people who also helped shape it.

In conclusion, Little Big Man is a rich, complex, and compelling cinematic exploration of the American West, seen from the eyes of 'the oldest living survivor.' It stands today as a classic example of great storytelling, an impressively brave film, and a timeless critique of American history.

Little Big Man is a Adventure, Western, Comedy, Drama movie released in 1970. It has a runtime of 139 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.5. It also holds a MetaScore of 63.

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Where can I stream Little Big Man movie online? Little Big Man is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Pluto TV, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Little Big Man for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

7.5/10
63/100
Director
Arthur Penn
Stars
Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam, Richard Mulligan
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