AFI Movie Club: LITTLE BIG MAN – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: LITTLE BIG MAN

A revisionist western that satirized and subverted the mythology of the genre – and of America itself, LITTLE BIG MAN stars AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Dustin Hoffman. 

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LITTLE BIG MAN – Reelgood

Watch Chris Eyre’s introduction of the film:

Trivia About Today’s Movie

DID YOU KNOW? A satire of American West mythology, LITTLE BIG MAN was based on the 1964 novel of the same name by Thomas Berger.   

DID YOU KNOW? Starring as “Old Lodge Skins” in LITTLE BIG MAN, Chief Dan George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation was 60 years old when he made his first screen appearance as an actor in 1960 on a Canadian TV program called CARIBOO COUNTRY. 

DID YOU KNOW? In addition to bringing incredible wit and humanity to indigenous representation on screen, Chief Dan George was also a celebrated author and poet. In 2010, actor Donald Sutherland read an excerpt from a poem by the late actor and author entitled “My Heart Soars” at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. 

DID YOU KNOW? Chief Dan George’s performance as “Old Lodge Skins” earned him Supporting Actor awards from the New York Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics, as well as Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations. His Oscar® nomination for Best Supporting Actor made him the first Native American ever so honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  

DID YOU KNOW? Onscreen credits acknowledge the cooperation of the Crow Nation, Cheyenne Nation and Stony Indians of the Chippewa Nation. The production shot on locations in and around Billings, MT, and employed several members of the Crow Nation while working on their reservation. 

DID YOU KNOW? In 2014, LITTLE BIG MAN was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Registry of culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films. 

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.

 

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-How does LITTLE BIG MAN employ the convention of the unreliable narrator? Do you think there are cases where Jack Crabb’s account of his life may not be entirely accurate? 

-How would you describe the character of Old Lodge Skins? How does his portrayal by Chief Dan George differ from cinematic representations of Native Americans up to that time? 

-How do the other Native American representations subvert or reinforce stereotypes? 

-How does LITTLE BIG MAN fit in with the American counter-culture movement that was prevalent at the time of the film’s release? 

-How does its subversion of the American West mythology motivate scrutiny of then-contemporary politics and culture? 

-How do the politics of LITTLE BIG MAN fit into the modern era? 

-How would you rate LITTLE BIG MAN? 

 

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.

 

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