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Hostiles (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byScott Cooper
Screenplay byScott Cooper
Story byDonald E. Stewart
Produced by
CinematographyMasanobu Takayanagi
Edited byTom Cross
Music byMax Richter
  • Waypoint Entertainment
  • Le Grisbi Productions
  • Bloom Media
Distributed byEntertainment Studios Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • September 2, 2017 (2017-09-02) (Telluride)
  • December 22, 2017 (2017-12-22) (United States)
Running time
133 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$39 million[2][3][4]
Box office$35.7 million[5]

Hostiles is a 2017 American western drama film written and directed by Scott Cooper, based on a story by Donald E. Stewart. Hostiles stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi, Ben Foster, Stephen Lang, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, Adam Beach, Q'orianka Kilcher, Jonathan Majors, and Timothée Chalamet. It follows a U.S. Army cavalry officer in 1892 who must escort a Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their home in Montana.

The film had its world premiere on September 2, 2017, at the Telluride Film Festival. It had a limited release in the United States by Entertainment Studios beginning December 22, 2017, before going wide on January 26, 2018. It received generally positive reviews from critics, but grossed just $35 million worldwide.


In the New Mexico Territory in 1892, settler Rosalee Quaid and her family are attacked by a Comanche war group who kill her husband and three children. Rosalee escapes by hiding under a rock outcrop.

At Fort Berringer, soon-to-retire U.S. Army captain Joseph Blocker is ordered by President Harrison to escort the cancer-stricken Cheyenne war chief Yellow Hawk and four members of his family back to their tribal lands in Montana. Blocker initially refuses as he and Yellow Hawk are old enemies from the Great Sioux War of 1876, but accepts under the threat of court-martial and loss of his pension. Blocker sets out for Montana accompanied by his old friend 1st Sgt. Thomas Metz, long-time aide Cpl. Woodson, West Point newcomer Lt. Kidder, and a young private named Dejardin.

Blocker challenges Yellow Hawk to a knife fight, but he refuses. The group soon comes across the Quaid house and Rosalee's dead husband. Inside the house, they find a traumatized Rosalee and her deceased children. After some convincing, Rosalee agrees to join the company until their next stop-over in Fort Winslow, Colorado. They are soon ambushed by the Comanche who kill Dejardin and seriously injure Woodson before being forced to retreat. After the attack, Yellow Hawk convinces Blocker to unchain him and his family so they can help with future attacks. The following day, three dead Comanches are discovered, and Blocker correctly deduces that Yellow Hawk and his son Black Hawk snuck out of camp and killed them overnight.

At Fort Winslow, the group drops off the wounded Woodson and Blocker arranges for Rosalee to stay with the fort's commander, but she chooses to remain with the group. Blocker is ordered to bring disgraced sergeant Philip Wills to be hanged for having deserted from Fort Pierce and murdered a Native family. Two members of the fort, Cpl. Thomas and Sgt. Malloy, join Blocker's company to oversee Wills, who chastises Blocker and the Natives.

Near camp, the chief's daughter-in-law Elk Woman and Rosalee are abducted and raped by three fur traders. The group hunts down and kills the rapists. Malloy is killed in the fight. The next night, Metz walks into a downpour and begins to express guilt for his past actions against the Natives, leaving Blocker concerned. He asks for mercy for past actions to the natives from Chief Yellow Hawk before returning to his tent. Meanwhile, Wills feigns illness, allowing him to kill Kidder and escape. Blocker is awakened by Wills killing Kidder and wounds Wills as he escapes. Metz chases after him against Blocker's orders. The next day, the group finds their bodies with Metz still clutching a gun in his hand following his own apparent suicide. A devastated Blocker is consoled by Rosalee. They travel farther north as Yellow Hawk's condition continues to deteriorate. Blocker makes peace with the chief for the hardships they have inflicted upon one another over the years.

Yellow Hawk dies just as the group arrives at the tribal lands in Montana, where he is buried. As Blocker and others prepare to leave, a rancher and his three sons ride up, declare that they own the land, and order Blocker and the rest of the group to leave with the chief's body. Blocker informs them of the president's orders, only to be threatened at gunpoint. Blocker refuses, and a brutal shootout ensues. Black Hawk, Living Woman, Elk Woman and Corporal Thomas are killed and buried next to the chief.

Rosalee decides to take Black Hawk's orphan son, Little Bear, with her to Chicago. At the train station, the pair thank and bid an emotional farewell to Blocker. He hands Little Bear a gift: a book about Julius Caesar. As the train departs, Blocker decides to jump aboard.


  • Christian Bale as Capt. Joseph J. Blocker, a veteran of the Indian Wars.
  • Rosamund Pike as Rosalee Quaid, a widow who joins Blocker's detail after the murder of her family by Comanches.
  • Wes Studi as Chief Yellow Hawk, an imprisoned and sickly Cheyenne leader being taken home to die, and the father of Black Hawk and Living Woman.
  • Jesse Plemons as Lt. Rudy Kidder, a fresh West Point graduate, part of the detail to escort Yellow Hawk home.
  • Adam Beach as Black Hawk, Yellow Hawk's son and Elk Woman's husband.
  • Rory Cochrane as 1st Sgt. Thomas Metz, a Confederate veteran that is now in the United States Cavalry. He is war-weary and is among Blocker's oldest friends, part of the detail to escort Yellow Hawk Home.
  • Peter Mullan as Lt. Col. Ross McCowan, commander of Fort Winslow, Colorado.
  • Scott Wilson as Cyrus Lounde, the owner of Yellow Hawk's ancestral land. This marked the final film appearance of Wilson before his death in 2018.
  • Paul Anderson as Cpl. Tommy Thomas, a British-born soldier from Fort Winslow escorting Wills to his hanging.
  • Timothée Chalamet as Pvt. Philippe Dejardin, the youngest member of the detail to escort Yellow Hawk home.
  • Ben Foster as Sgt. Philip Wills, a criminal soldier whom Blocker is charged with escorting to his hanging.
  • Jonathan Majors as Cpl. Henry Woodson, a black soldier who served under Blocker for many years, part of the detail to escort Yellow Hawk home.
  • John Benjamin Hickey as Cpt. Royce Tolan, Fort Berringer's resident military surgeon.
  • Q'orianka Kilcher as Elk Woman, Black Hawk's wife.
  • Tanaya Beatty as Living Woman, Yellow Hawk's daughter.
  • Stephen Lang as Col. Abraham Biggs, Blocker's commanding officer
  • Bill Camp as Jeremiah Wilks, frontier correspondent for Harper's Weekly.
  • Scott Shepherd as Wesley Quaid, Rosalee's slaughtered husband.
  • Ryan Bingham as Sgt. Malloy, a soldier from Fort Winslow escorting Wills to his hanging.
  • Robyn Malcolm as Minnie McCowan, Col. McCowan's wife.
  • Xavier Horsechief as Little Bear, the young son of Black Hawk and Elk Woman.
  • Luce Rains as Virgil Lounde, one of the sons of Cyrus Lounde
  • Brian Duffy as Silas Lounde, one of the sons of Cyrus Lounde
  • Richard Bucher as Ezekiel Lounde, one of the sons of Cyrus Lounde


The project was announced in February 2016 with Scott Cooper as director and Christian Bale starring.[6] In March, Rosamund Pike was cast, and a production start date of July was announced.[7] In April, Jesse Plemons was cast.[8] Wes Studi and Adam Beach were signed in June.[9] In mid-July, Timothée Chalamet joined the cast.[10]

Filming began late July in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ben Foster was added to the cast at the beginning of filming. Ryan Bingham, who also stars in the film, wrote and performed "How Shall A Sparrow Fly" for the soundtrack. Max Richter composed the score for the film, which was released by Deutsche Grammophon.[11]


The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2017.[12] It was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 10, 2017.[13] Shortly after, Entertainment Studios acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film.[14] It was released in a limited release in the United States on December 22, 2017, before expanding wide a month later.


Box office[edit]

Hostiles grossed $29.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $5.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $35.5 million.[5]

In the United States and Canada, following several weeks in a limited run where it grossed $1.8 million, Hostiles had its wide expansion alongside the release of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, and was expected to gross around $10 million from 2,813 theaters over the weekend.[15] It ended up opening to $10.1 million, finishing third behind The Death Cure ($24.2 million) and holdover Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($16.1 million).[3] In its second weekend the film dropped 49.5% to $5.1 million, finishing fifth at the box office.[16]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 70% based on 228 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Hostiles benefits from stunning visuals and a solid central performance from Christian Bale, both of which help elevate its uneven story."[17] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 65 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[18] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an overall 72% positive score.[3]

Following its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, Sasha Stone of TheWrap, wrote of the audiences' reaction to the film, saying, "Riveted by the glorious storytelling of Hostiles, a few Telluride audience members burst into spontaneous applause as it built to its conclusion".[19] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter wrote praise of the film and of the performance of Christian Bale, concluding that the film is an "estimable piece of work grounded by a fine-grain sensibility and an expertly judged lead performance".[20]

William Bibbiani of IGN said that writer/director, Scott Cooper wasted the talent of its actors and cinematographer in a "by-the-numbers storyline with a rather obvious message about how it's harder to be despicable to people after you get to know them". He went on to say, "Scott Cooper directs Hostiles with an eye for 'greatness' but the actual material simply isn't deep enough to justify the solemn presentation. It's not entertaining, it's not illuminating, it's not even complicated. It's mostly just a bummer".[21]

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) lauded Hostiles for its "authentic representation of Native Peoples" and accurate rendition of Native American languages.[22]

Writing in The Atlantic, David Sims noted the film's "majestic photography", calling it "a handsome-looking western", but faulted the script for "seem[ing] less interested in character development" and was critical of the "harsh and uncompromising" tone of the film, describing its opening scenes as "gory, tough to watch, and short on dialogue, with Cooper intent on showing a world severely lacking in empathy."[23]

Jesse Wente was director of film programmes for TIFF and believed Hostiles was deeply racist and asked TIFF not to show it. After TIFF went ahead with it, Wente resigned. [24]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients Result Ref.
San Diego Film Critics Society December 11, 2017 Best Costume Design Jenny Eagan Nominated [25]
Saturn Awards June 27, 2018 Best Action or Adventure Film Hostiles Nominated [26]
Best Actress Rosamund Pike Nominated


  1. ^ "HOSTILES (15)". British Board of Film Classification. May 15, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  2. ^ Keegan, Rebecca (January 11, 2018). "Can Scott Cooper's Winning Western Wrangle an Oscar Nod?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 28, 2018). "Fox Controls Close To 40% Of Weekend B.O. Led By 'Maze Runner' & Oscar Holdovers; 'Hostiles' Gallops Past $10M". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Tatiana Siegel; Ashley Lee (October 3, 2017). "Christian Bale Drama 'Hostiles' Sells to Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Hostiles (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  6. ^ Jaafar, Ali (February 18, 2016). "Christian Bale To Star In Scott Cooper's 'Hostiles'". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 9, 2016). "Rosamund Pike To Star With Christian Bale In Scott Cooper-Helmed 'Hostiles'". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 6, 2016). "Jesse Plemons Joins Christian Bale in Scott Cooper's 'Hostiles' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  9. ^ Busch, Anita (June 14, 2016). "Adam Beach Joins Christian Bale In Scott Cooper's 'Hostiles'". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  10. ^ Ford, Rebecca (July 21, 2016). "'Interstellar' Actor Timothee Chalamet Joins Scott Cooper's 'Hostiles' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  11. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 27, 2016). "Ben Foster Rounds Out Scott Cooper's 'Hostiles' Cast As Shooting Starts". Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  12. ^ Hammond, Pete (August 31, 2017). "'Darkest Hour', 'Battle Of The Sexes', 'Lady Bird' Among World Premieres In 2017 Lineup – Telluride Film Festival". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  13. ^ "Hostiles". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 3, 2017). "Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Acquires 'Hostiles;' Christian Bale-Starrer Gets Oscar Season Berth". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  15. ^ McClintock, Pamela (January 25, 2018). "Box-Office Preview: 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' Eyes $20M U.S. Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  16. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 4, 2018). "'Jumanji' Poised To Be Dwayne Johnson's Highest Grossing Pic Of All-Time Stateside After Super Bowl Weekend Rebound". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  17. ^ "Hostiles (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved April 13, 2024.
  18. ^ "Hostiles Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  19. ^ "'Hostiles' Review: Christian Bale Drives a Great American Western". TheWrap. September 3, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  20. ^ "'Hostiles': Film Review - Telluride 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. September 3, 2017. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  21. ^ "Hostiles". IGN. December 21, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  22. ^ Schilling, Vincent (January 8, 2018). "'Hostiles' Movie Starring Wes Studi, Christian Bale Will Screen in DC". Indian Country Media Network. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  23. ^ Sims, David (January 19, 2018). "Hostiles Is a Brutal, Shallow Western: Scott Cooper's new film sees Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and Wes Studi battling through the American West in the 1890s". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  24. ^ "Journalist Jesse Wente has spent a lifetime being uncomfortable. Join him, won't you?". The Globe and Mail. September 18, 2021.
  25. ^ "2017 San Diego Film Critics Society's Award Nominations". San Diego Film Critics Society. December 9, 2017. Archived from the original on December 10, 2017. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  26. ^ "'Black Panther,' 'Walking Dead' Rule Saturn Awards Nominations". Variety. March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  27. ^ "'Black Panther' Tops 44th Saturn Awards With Five; 'Blade Runner 2049', 'Shape Of Water', 'Get Out' Also Score". Saturn awards. June 27, 2018. Retrieved June 27, 2018.

External links[edit]