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Apache

Released Jul 9, 1954 1h 31m Western List
64% Tomatometer 11 Reviews 45% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings
Adapted from the 1936 novel "Bronco Apache," this groundbreaking Western casts a sympathetic eye on the struggles of Native Americans in the post-bellum West. Massai (Burt Lancaster), the only Apache warrior still fighting after the surrender of Geronimo, is arrested and placed on a train headed for a Florida prison. After a daring escape, he begins the trip back home to his lover, Nalinle (Jean Peters), on foot -- but the journey is long and treacherous, and the authorities are closing in. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

View All (11) Critics Reviews
Yasser Medina Cinefilia A western without strength or spirit that robs me of an hour and a half when I witness the journey of the rebel blue-eyed Indian played by Burt Lancaster. [Full review in Spanish] Rated: 5/10 Mar 16, 2022 Full Review Matt Brunson Film Frenzy Massai covers a lot of ground in his crusade (via plains and trains), and so does the movie -- perhaps too much, since there are some abrupt shifts in both message and characterization. Rated: 2.5/4 Dec 17, 2020 Full Review Clyde Gilmour Maclean's Magazine Don't be misled by the commonplace title - this is one of the most exciting and entertaining westerns Hollywood has produced in a cayuse age. Oct 15, 2019 Full Review Fernando F. Croce CinePassion The radicalized howl to Broken Arrow's amenable mewl Feb 3, 2011 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Burt Lancaster joins a long line of white actors who played native Americans in this brutal Western, directed by the young Robert Aldrich, who was forced to change the ending. Rated: B- Jan 19, 2011 Full Review Jeffrey M. Anderson Combustible Celluloid Colorful and rousing. Aug 25, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (57) audience reviews
Steve D The film is ok but Lancaster is fantastic. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 04/07/24 Full Review Jeff S This western drama follows the determined lone Apache warrior Massai (Burt Lancaster), who refuses to capitulate even after Geronimo's surrender (Monte Blue). He is pursued not only by long-time foe Al Seiber (John McIntire) but also by Nalinle (Jean Peters), who is devoted to him even though he is running for his life. Western vet Mort Mills, who appeared on Gunsmoke six times, and the criminally underappreciated John Dehner are also along for the chase. This is not a traditional western featuring numerous gun battles in a conventional setting where good and evil are defined in more-or-less precise terms. But it is rather a thought-provoking look at the roles military men and their Native American counterparts played. It's also a story of love against overwhelming odds. According to at least one critic, young Robert Aldrich was "forced" to change the ending. Without knowing what that other ending was, it's hard to imagine it could've been better. This ending is a marvelous triumph in more ways than one. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/05/24 Full Review William R. P blue-eyed native Americans Rated 2 out of 5 stars 07/07/23 Full Review Audience Member A minstrel show that should never been made. Racist white people were told that blackface was racist so they decided to wear "redface". It is a remnent of a genocidal past that lives on into the present. Minstrel shows are still being watching and making a profit entertaining racist white people at the expense of indigenous peoples culture. Minstrel shows are a form of cultural genocide and proves that AmeriKKKa today is just as racist as it was before native americans could legally worship their religion. Smutt minstrel films like Apache is proof that the United States is an apartheid state committing genocide against indigenous people. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review Audience Member The fact that there are white actors playing Native Americans, makes this movie slightly racist, but it is still well-worth watching to see Burt Lancaster preform some very impressive stunts throughout the chase scenes in this quality western. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Audience Member A '50s Western in redface (is that what you call it?) was bound to be uncomfortable to modern tastes. But I went in expecting something of a Broken Arrow: patronizing in many of its assumptions but essentially well-intentioned. This isn't that. In fact, I don't think I'd even consider it an honest attempt to represent the Native point-of-view despite having an Apache as the lead. A real standout for me was the encounter with the Cherokee farmer, whose potted history of his tribe is absolute whiteman bullshit. Apparently the reason for their being driven west was that Cherokee couldn't learn to live at peace with the white men. Only after they had been driven from their homes and humbled did they consent to sit down and be instructed on how to farm and live peaceably. No Cherokee before or since would recognize this story. The Cherokee WERE farmers before they were driven out by white men hungry for more land. There is no way to make the Trail of Tears and all their other misfortunes the Cherokee's fault you racist imperialist douchebags is what I wanted to yell at the screen. And this generally ignorant depiction is exactly what we get for the rest of the film. Indians Like Children. Need Good Beating To Learn How Behave. And yes, they talk just like that. Even to each other when they're presumably speaking Apache. Ugh. Which is a shame because there's the making of a good film in here. The Apache warrior consumed with revenge but forced to find a way to live has the potential to be interesting if the film could only forget for a minute that it's being written by white guys and genuinely take the lead's side. And it's not completely without nuance. Not all white guys are good, particularly an American soldier who seems just as set on fighting as the Apache is. But the ground-level refusal to conceive that any form of prejudice could exist in American-Native relations means that the film is basically a call for Native Americans to be more grateful to their conquerors for teaching them how to grow corn (a plant native to the Americas!) and granting them peace. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Apache

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Movie Info

Synopsis Adapted from the 1936 novel "Bronco Apache," this groundbreaking Western casts a sympathetic eye on the struggles of Native Americans in the post-bellum West. Massai (Burt Lancaster), the only Apache warrior still fighting after the surrender of Geronimo, is arrested and placed on a train headed for a Florida prison. After a daring escape, he begins the trip back home to his lover, Nalinle (Jean Peters), on foot -- but the journey is long and treacherous, and the authorities are closing in.
Director
Robert Aldrich
Producer
Harold Hecht, Burt Lancaster
Screenwriter
James R. Webb, Paul Wellman
Distributor
United Artists, MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc.
Production Co
Linden Productions, Hecht-Lancaster Productions
Genre
Western
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Jul 9, 1954, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Sep 16, 2008
Runtime
1h 31m
Sound Mix
Mono
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