The Exiles (1961 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Exiles
The Exiles (2008 restoration poster).jpg
2008 restoration poster
Directed byKent Mackenzie
Produced byKent Mackenzie
Written byKent Mackenzie
  • Yvonne Williams
  • Homer Nish
  • Tommy Reynolds
  • Rico Rodriguez
  • Clifford Ray Sam
  • Clydean Parker
  • Mary Donahue
Music by
  • Erik Daarstad
  • Robert Kaufman
  • John Morrill
Edited by
  • Kent Mackenzie
  • Warren Brown
  • Thomas Conrad
  • Erik Daarstad
  • Thomas Miller
  • Beth Pattrick
Distributed byContemporary Films[1]
Release date
  • 1961 (original)
  • 2008 (restoration)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Exiles (1961) is a film by Kent MacKenzie chronicling a day in the life of a group of 20-something Native Americans who left reservation life in the 1950s to live in the district of Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, California. Bunker Hill was then a blighted residential locality of decayed Victorian mansions, sometimes featured in the writings of Raymond Chandler, John Fante, and Charles Bukowski. The structure of the film is that of a narrative feature, the script pieced together from interviews with the documentary subjects. The film features Yvonne Williams, Homer Nish, and Tommy Reynolds.


The film is about Native Americans who have left their reservations in the Southwest. It follows them in Bunker Hill, a gritty neighborhood in Los Angeles.[2] The cast of American Indian actors are notable for their lack of self-consciousness as they drink and socialize during a night out on the town ending in a 49 party[3] of drumming and dancing on "Hill X" overlooking downtown LA.[4][5]


Filming was started in the late 1950s. The film features rock and roll music provided by Anthony Hilder and Robert Hafner. It was performed by The Revels,[6][7] who recorded on Hilder's Impact record label.[8] Years later Norman Knowles of The Revels recalled some of the tracks they recorded for the film. They included "It's Party Time" and possibly "Revellion". According to Knowles, the song "Commanche" which was written for the movie was cut.[9]


The Exiles premiered at the 1961 Venice Film Festival. As it was only licensed (16mm version) to schools and churches, it did not find a distributor to release it theatrically in that year,[10] and so over the years it fell into obscurity, known to cinephiles but remaining largely unseen by the public. A restored version produced by the UCLA Film and Television Archive premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2008, and Milestone Films released it commercially and on DVD in summer 2008.


In 2009, it was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant and will be preserved for all time.[11] [12] [13]

Years later in a review of the 2015 film Mekko about a Native American, The Exiles along with On the Bowery (1956 film) was mentioned in a comparison of Mekko by Variety's film critic Dennis Harvey. They were referred to as being two classic films set on skid row.[14]


Production crew[edit]

  • Written, produced, and directed by Kent MacKenzie
  • Cinematography by Erik Daarstad, Robert Kaufman, John Morrill
  • Production by Ronald Austin, Sam Farnsworth, John Morrill, Erik Daarstad, Robert Kaufman, Beth Pattrick, Sven Walnum, Paula Powers
  • Additional photography by Sven Walnum, Nicholas Clapp, Vilis Lapenieks.
  • Archive photographs by Edward S. Curtis
  • Editing by Kent Mackenzie, Warren Brown, Thomas Conrad, Erik Daastad, Thomas Miller, Beth Patrick
  • Music by Anthony Hilder, The Revels, Robert Hafner, Eddie Sunrise
  • Sound by Sam Farnsworth
  • Sound effects edited by Thomas Conrad

Additional crew[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Heider, Karl G. (1968). Films for anthropological teaching. Washington D.C. : American Anthropological Association. p. 55. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  2. ^ popmatters, 15 November, 2009 - REVIEWS, The Exiles By Adele Melander-Dayton
  3. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica - Forty-nine dance, NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURE Written By: John-Carlos Perea
  4. ^ The Exiles DVD - Audio commentary by Sherman Alexie and Sean Axmaker
  5. ^ LA Weekly, August 13, 2008 - Exiles on Main Street: Searching for the Ghosts of Bunker Hill's Native American Past - Matthew Fleischer
  6. ^ New York Times, July 11, 2008 - Despair and Poetry at Margins of Society By MANOHLA DARGIS
  7. ^ Film Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 3 Spring, 1962 - Page 59 Film Reviews, THE EXILES (JSTOR 1210630)
  8. ^ Billboard Music Week, May 8, 1961 - MUSIC AS WRITTEN, Hollywood
  9. ^ The Center for Studies in American Culture - September 28, 2010 (XXI:5), Kent MacKenzie, THE EXILES (1961, 72 min) Page 3 to 4
  10. ^ TIME, Friday, July 18, 2008 Exiles on Indie Street By Richard Corliss
  11. ^ "25 new titles added to National Film Registry". Yahoo News. Yahoo. 2009-12-30. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-30.
  12. ^ "Michael Jackson, the Muppets and Early Cinema Tapped for Preservation in 2009 Library of Congress National Film Registry". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2020-04-28.
  13. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing | Film Registry | National Film Preservation Board | Programs at the Library of Congress | Library of Congress". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2020-06-16.
  14. ^ Variety, September 11, 2015 - Toronto Film Review: ‘Mekko’
    An ex-con lands in Tulsa's Native American community of homeless 'street chiefs' in Sterlin Harjo's third feature. By Dennis Harvey

External links[edit]