Powwow Highway

Watch Powwow Highway

  • R
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 27 min
  • 7.2  (1,843)

Powwow Highway is a road trip movie about two Native American men, Philbert Bono (Gary Farmer) and Buddy Red Bow (A Martinez), who embark on a journey from the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The film is directed by Jonathan Wacks and produced by George Harrison, of Beatles fame. Philbert is a spiritual man who has visions and sees signs in everything. He believes that the two of them are on a mission to find and rescue his sister, Bonnie, who has been imprisoned in Santa Fe. Buddy, on the other hand, is a Vietnam War veteran and a political activist. He wants to attend a protest in Santa Fe to speak out against the government's mistreatment of Native Americans.

Their journey is full of obstacles and unexpected events. The two men have very different personalities and ways of dealing with life. Philbert is laid-back, funny, and wise in his own way, while Buddy is intense, serious, and passionate. They argue and joke with each other, but they also bond over their shared heritage and experiences.

Along the way, they pick up a hitchhiker, a young woman named Rabbit (Joanelle Romero), who is fleeing from an abusive boyfriend. She becomes part of their adventure and helps them in many ways. She is a strong and independent character who adds a different perspective to the story.

The movie explores many themes related to Native American culture and identity, such as spirituality, tradition, family, land, and sovereignty. It also touches on issues like racism, poverty, alcoholism, and political activism. The characters encounter different people and situations that challenge their beliefs and values. They learn from each other and from the world around them.

One of the highlights of the film is the powwow scene, where the characters participate in a traditional ceremony. The powwow is a colorful and joyful celebration of Native American culture, with singing, dancing, and storytelling. The scene is both authentic and entertaining, showcasing the diversity and richness of Native American traditions.

The performances in the movie are excellent, especially by Gary Farmer, who delivers a memorable and nuanced portrayal of Philbert. He is funny, wise, and touching, all at the same time. A Martinez also shines as Buddy, bringing depth and intensity to his character. Joanelle Romero gives a strong and feisty performance as Rabbit, making her a likable and empowering figure.

The cinematography and music in the movie are also notable. The landscapes of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico are breathtakingly beautiful, and the score by Hans Zimmer and Robbie Robertson adds a soulful and haunting atmosphere to the film.

Overall, Powwow Highway is a unique and compelling film that deserves to be better known. It is a moving and entertaining road movie that combines humor, drama, and spirituality with a powerful message of Native American pride and resilience. It is a film that celebrates the diversity and beauty of human culture and invites us to appreciate our differences and similarities.

Powwow Highway
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 27 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (1,843)