Geronimo: An American Legend
|Geronimo: An American Legend|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Walter Hill|
|Produced by||Neil Canton
|Written by||John Milius|
|Narrated by||Matt Damon|
|Music by||Ry Cooder|
|Edited by||Donn Aron
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||December 10, 1993|
|Running time||115 minutes|
Geronimo: An American Legend is a 1993 film, directed by Walter Hill from a screenplay by John Milius and starring Wes Studi, Jason Patric, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall and Matt Damon. It was released on December 10, 1993 by Columbia Pictures.
The film follows the events leading up to the capture of Geronimo in 1886. The Apache Indians have reluctantly agreed to settle on a U.S. government approved reservation. Not all the Apaches are able to adapt to the life of corn farmers, and one in particular, Geronimo, is restless. Pushed over the edge by broken promises and unnecessary actions by the government, Geronimo and 30 other warriors form an attack team which humiliates the government by evading capture, while reclaiming what is rightfully theirs. The plot centers upon Charles Gatewood (Jason Patric), the U.S. cavalry lieutenant charged with capturing the elusive Apache leader with the assistance of a scout leader Al Sieber (Robert Duvall) and a young graduate Britton Davis (Matt Damon). Gatewood is torn by a grudging respect for Geronimo and his people, and his duty to his country. But then all the white men in the film have respect for Geronimo, even as they are trying to hunt him down and kill him. Brigadier General George Crook (Gene Hackman), charged with overseeing the forced settlement of the Apaches on reservations has nothing but admiration for Geronimo.
- Wes Studi as Geronimo
- Jason Patric as 1st Lt. Charles B. Gatewood
- Gene Hackman as Brig. Gen. George Crook
- Robert Duvall as Chief of Scouts Al Sieber
- Matt Damon as 2nd Lt. Britton Davis
- Pato Hoffmann as The Dreamer
- Rodney A. Grant as Mangas
- Kevin Tighe as Brig. Gen. Nelson A. Miles
- Steve Reevis as Chato
- Carlos Palomino as Sgt. Turkey
- Victor Aaron as Ulzana
- Stuart Proud Eagle Grant as Sgt. Dutchy
- Scott Wilson as Redondo
- Stephen McHattie as Schoonover
- John Finn as Capt. Hentig
- Lee de Broux as City Marshal Joe Hawkins
- Rino Thunder as Old Nana
Walter Hill had a development deal at Carolco. They approached him wanting to make a Western that focused on an Indian and Hill was enthusiastic. He initially considering doing a movie on Crazy Horse "but for various reasons I thought it was a little too difficult." Eventually Geronimo was selected and John Milius hired to write a draft. "I like Geronimo just as he was, a human predator," said Milius.
Hill said the title of the film should have been The Geronimo War. "The conception was you make the film from the last time he came in and broke off and was sent away," he said. "The last time he broke off the reservations. This had been a recurring pattern. I thought that would be more accurate."
According to Hill, Milius' screenplay was more inclusive of Geronimo's early years and Milius was reluctant to revise it so he had it rewritten by Hill and Larry Gross. "This movie certainly presents a heroic view of Geronimo," said Hill.
The movie was eventually transferred from Carolco to Columbia.
The part of Al Sieber was expanded when Robert Duvall was cast. The character of Sieber was meant to ride off into the sunset at the end of the movie but during filming Hill felt that the running time was going to be too long and so decided to kill off the character. "If I'd known I was going to die I might not have done the movie," said Duvall. "I've died nine times in films." However part of Duvall's deal to make the film did mean his company, Butcher's Run Films, signed a deal with Columbia.
Another film on Geronimo came out around the same time, a made for TV movie.
Walter Hill later expressed dissatisfaction with the title:
It’s not about Geronimo. It should have been called The Geronimo War... It’s as much about the Army as it is Geronimo. That came out of my reading of historical accounts, and realizing that so much of what we think we know about the Indian campaigns is wrong. The Army is generally depicted as the enemy of the Apache, but in many cases, the people who were most sympathetic to their plight were those soldiers.
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- "The 66th Academy Awards (1994) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
- McCarthy, Todd (1993-12-12). "Geronimo: An American Legend". Variety. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
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- "Geronimo: An American Legend". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Mathews, Jack (1993-12-05). "The Right Geronimo? : Native Americans call Walter Hill's 'Geronimo' the most honest look yet at the feared Apache leader, but the director is not so sure". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- CINEMA Hill's warrior charge The Observer (1901- 2003) [London (UK)] 16 Oct 1994: C9
- Jon Zelazny, 'Kicking Ass with Walter Hill', The Hollywood Interview, 8 Sept 2009 accessed 12 Jan 2012
- Pristin, Terry (1993-12-14). "Weekend Box Office : Sequels Take 2 of Top 3 Spots". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- Fox, David J. (1993-12-20). "Pelican' Soars at the Box Office Movies: The mystery, with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, takes in more than $16 million. `Mrs. Doubtfire,' `Schindler's List' also do well.". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Geronimo: An American Legend at the Internet Movie Database
- Geronimo: An American Legend at the TCM Movie Database
- Geronimo: An American Legend at AllMovie
- Geronimo: An American Legend at Rotten Tomatoes
- Britton Davis, "The Truth About Geronimo", 1929