- 1 hr 48 min
Windwalker is a 1980 American western epic film directed and co-written by Kieth Merrill, a documentarian who has made films about Native Americans in the past. It is an emotionally powerful and unique tale of a very old Kiowa tribesman, Windwalker, who embarks upon a journey to his last place of solitude. At the film's opening, Windwalker is an elderly Native American (played by Trevor Howard) who has outlived his tribe and has become the last survivor of his people. He spends his days in the wilderness, living off the land and reflecting on the past, remembering the days of his youth when his people were strong and proud. His wife, Tashina, passed away some years ago, and their son, a warrior named Bitahotso (Nick Ramus), was kidnapped and raised by the Crow tribe.
When Windwalker dreams of his son and realizes that he is still alive, he embarks on a journey to track him down with the help of his grandson, Koda (James Remar). Along the way, they encounter other tribes and unexpected trials, including a violent encounter with a group of Crow warriors in which Windwalker puts his legendary skills to the test.
This film is not just a western but also a powerful commentary on the importance of family, heritage, and identity. Windwalker's quest to find his son Bitahotso is not only a test of his physical strength, but also a test of his cultural identity. As he travels through various tribal lands, he learns about the history and customs of the different tribes, and gains a deeper understanding of his own heritage.
One of the most notable aspects of Windwalker is its stunning visuals. Filmed entirely on location in the Navajo country of Utah and Arizona, the film showcases the majestic beauty of the American Southwest, with its vast landscapes, towering mesas, and deep canyons. The cinematography, by Vilmos Zsigmond, is breathtaking, and the score by Merrill Jensen perfectly complements the images on screen, adding a haunting quality to the film.
The acting in Windwalker is also noteworthy. Trevor Howard's portrayal of Windwalker is really something to behold. He doesn't speak much throughout the film, but his eyes betray a lifetime of pain and wisdom, and his performance is both understated and powerful. Nick Ramus, as Windwalker's son, is also excellent, displaying a raw, physical intensity that perfectly captures the character's conflicted emotions.
One of the most memorable scenes in Windwalker involves Windwalker's confrontation with the Crow warriors. The scene is brutal and intense, but it also illustrates the film's themes of cultural identity and perseverance. Windwalker is an elderly man, but his abilities surpass those of his younger opponents. The scene becomes a battle of wills as much as a physical battle, and it is truly mesmerizing to watch.
Overall, Windwalker is a beautiful and emotional film that tells a universal story about the importance of family, heritage, and identity in times of tribulation. Its themes are timeless, and its message is as relevant today as it was in 1980. Directed by Kieth Merrill with a deft and sensitive hand, Windwalker is a film that deserves to be better known and appreciated.
Windwalker is a 1981 adventure movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.