Reel Injun

Watch Reel Injun

"On the trail of the Hollywood Indian"
  • NR
  • 2009
  • 1 hr 28 min
  • 7.5  (1,608)
  • 63

Reel Injun is a 2009 documentary film that explores the portrayal of Native Americans in cinema. Directed by Neil Diamond, the film features interviews with various Native American actors and filmmakers, including Adam Beach, Chris Eyre, and Russell Means, as well as film historians and movie buffs. The film begins by examining the earliest depictions of Native Americans in silent films, which were often racist and stereotypical. These depictions included white actors in redface, portraying Native Americans as savage, bloodthirsty warriors or noble savages, unable to adapt to the modern world.

The film then charts the evolution of Native American characters in cinema, from the early Westerns of the 1930s and 1940s to the more nuanced and complex portrayals of recent decades. Along the way, the film explores the impact of such classic films as John Ford's The Searchers and Dances with Wolves, as well as the work of contemporary Native American filmmakers such as Chris Eyre and Sherman Alexie.

Reel Injun also delves into the legacy of Native American performers such as Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto in the 1950s television show The Lone Ranger. Despite the character's subservient role and cultural appropriation, Silverheels was seen as a positive role model by many Native Americans at the time.

The film also looks at the way in which Native Americans have been excluded from the film industry, both behind and in front of the camera. Many Native American actors have been pigeonholed into playing stereotypical roles, while Native American filmmakers have struggled to get their projects financed and distributed.

Reel Injun concludes with a call to action, challenging Hollywood to represent Native Americans in a more accurate and respectful way. The film advocates for Native American filmmakers to tell their own stories, rather than relying on a predominantly white industry to do so.

Overall, Reel Injun is an engaging and thought-provoking examination of the representation of Native Americans in cinema. Through a combination of archival footage, interviews, and commentary, the film highlights the impact of Hollywood's portrayal of Native Americans on both the film industry and on Native American communities.

Reel Injun is a 2009 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 63.

Reel Injun
Where to Watch Reel Injun
Reel Injun is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Reel Injun for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 28 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (1,608)
  • Metascore