- 1 hr 59 min
Thunderheart is a 1992 American Western mystery thriller film directed by Michael Apted and starring Val Kilmer, Sam Shepard, and Graham Greene. The story is set in South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the early 1970s and is loosely based on the events surrounding the Wounded Knee Incident of 1973. The film follows FBI agent Ray Levoi (Val Kilmer), who is assigned to investigate the murder of a Lakota Sioux man named Leo Fast Elk on the reservation. Ray is a mixed race Native American of Sioux and white descent, who is unfamiliar with his cultural heritage and the traditions of his ancestors. He is teamed up with a seasoned Native American tracker named Walter Crow Horse (Graham Greene), who is skeptical of Ray's abilities and intentions.
Ray's investigation leads him to a shady energy company that is trying to acquire mineral rights on the reservation. The company, led by Jack Milton (Sam Shepard), is exploiting the poverty and desperation of the Lakota Sioux people by offering them money in exchange for their land. Ray discovers that Leo Fast Elk was killed because he knew too much about the company's illegal activities, and that there is a conspiracy to cover up his murder.
As Ray delves deeper into the case, he starts to experience visions and dreams that connect him to his Native American heritage. He also becomes romantically involved with Maggie Eagle Bear (Sheila Tousey), a tribal activist who is fighting against the energy company's encroachment on their land. Ray's journey of self-discovery and investigation culminates in a tense standoff at the Wounded Knee occupation site, where he must confront his own identity and allegiances.
The film is notable for its portrayal of Native American culture and spirituality, as well as its depiction of the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights and sovereignty. The cast includes several Native American actors, and the music was composed by Native American musician Robbie Robertson. The cinematography captures the rugged and beautiful landscapes of the reservation, and the action sequences are well-staged and thrilling.
Overall, Thunderheart is a gripping and thought-provoking film that raises important questions about identity, justice, and the legacy of colonialism in America. It is a tribute to the resilience and spirituality of the Native American people, and a testament to the power of storytelling to bridge cultural divides.
Thunderheart is a 1992 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 58.