Flap (film)

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Flap (film).jpg
Directed by Carol Reed
Produced by Jerry Adler
Screenplay by Clair Huffaker
Based on Nobody Loves a Drunken Indian
by Clair Huffaker
Starring Anthony Quinn
Claude Akins
Tony Bill
Shelley Winters
Victor Jory
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Cinematography Fred J. Koenekamp, A.S.C.
Edited by Frank Bracht, A.C.E.
Produced in association with
Cine Vesta Associates
Distributed by Warner Bros. Inc.
Release date
  • November 1970 (1970-11)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Flap (distributed in Britain as The Last Warrior) is a 1970 American comedy-drama western film directed by Carol Reed and starring Anthony Quinn, Claude Akins and Shelley Winters.[1] Set in a modern Native American reservation, it is based on the novel Nobody Loves a Drunken Indian by Clair Huffaker.[2]


Flapping Eagle lives on an Indian reservation in the southwestern United States. He drinks too much, one of many sources of disagreement between Flap and his sweetheart, Dorothy Bluebell. He also has trouble with his arch-rival, Sgt. Rafferty, a brutal, bigoted police officer in town.

Flap launches protests, first disrupting a construction crew's bulldozer impeding on Indian land, then stealing a train after a lawyer, Wounded Bear, leads him to believe the train would become legal Indian property once it's in their territory.

Rafferty is violently beaten by Flap after a series of insults and abuses and the last straw, the shooting of a dog. Flap, now an Indian activist whose protests have gained him publicity and popularity, leads a protest march through the town. From a hospital window, Rafferty aims a rifle and assassinates him.



The song "If Nobody Loves" was written by Marvin Hamlisch with lyrics by Estelle Levitt. It is performed by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition.

Flap on Turner Classic Movies[edit]

Flap was shown April 29, 2015 on Turner Classic Movies as part of its "Star of the Month salute" to Anthony Quinn.

Introductory comments[edit]

"Hi, welcome to TCM, I'm Ben Mankiewicz, filling in tonight for Robert Osborne. We are showcasing films featuring our star of the month Anthony Quinn and, up next, a double feature of Quinn comedies. Quinn was especially adept at playing ethnic characters — Italians, Russians, Arabs, Frenchmen, Greeks and, in the case of our next film, Native Americans. From Warner Brothers in nineteen seventy, it's Flap, a movie making its TCM premiere. It's a film adaptation of a novel, Nobody Likes a Drunken Indian by Clair Huffaker, who also wrote the screenplay. Set in present day, nineteen seventy, Quinn plays the title character, an American Indian named Flapping Eagle who lives on a reservation. Many of his problems are his own doing, mostly due to his fondness for the bottle, but he wants a better life for himself and his fellow reservationists so he sets out to start a modern day Indian uprising. His methods are unconventional to say the least. While Flap showcases the plight of Native Americans living on reservations, it's handled in a lighthearted manner, carefully directed by British filmmaker Carol Reed whose credits include nineteen forty-nine's The Third Man. Reed was still fresh off the success of his nineteen sixty-eight smash hit musical Oliver! This movie, Flap, is Reed's follow-up to that Oscar winner, coming two years later and also featuring a music score by Marvin Hamlisch and boasting a top-flight supporting cast, including Claude Akins, Tony Bill, Shelley Winters and Victor Jory. There's only one real-life Native American in the cast, John War Eagle, who plays Luke Wolf. From 1970, here's the TCM premiere of Anthony Quinn as Flap."

Ben Mankiewicz's closing comments[edit]

"Flap was not the only film released in nineteen seventy depicting Native Americans from a sympathetic point of view. There was also Arthur Penn's western comedy, Little Big Man, with Dustin Hoffman. In a case of life imitating art, in nineteen seventy-three, three years after Flap was released, the Oglala Lakota tribe occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. They were protesting the U.S. Government's failure to honor treaties. The siege lasted a little over two months, from February twenty-seventh until May eighth, but the incident got widespread media attention that brought the treatment of Native Americans to the forefront of the national conversation. Up next, more with Anthony Quinn in a comedy set in Italy during World War Two, also starring Anna Magnani, Virna Lisa [sic] and Giancarlo Giannini."

See also[edit]



  • Evans, Peter William. Carol Reed. Manchester University Press, 2005.

External links[edit]