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The Education of Little Tree
The Education of Little Tree
Actors: James Cromwell, Joseph Ashton, Tantoo Cardinal, Mika Boorem, Christopher Heyerdahl
Director: Richard Friedenberg
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family
PG     2002     1hr 52min

In 1935, an 8-year-old orphaned boy is sent to live in the Tennessee mountains with his grandparents. He doesn't yet know that he is half Cherokee, on his grandmother's side. As he learns about life and the Cherokee "way" ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: James Cromwell, Joseph Ashton, Tantoo Cardinal, Mika Boorem, Christopher Heyerdahl
Director: Richard Friedenberg
Creators: Richard Friedenberg, Jake Eberts, Laurie Marie Parker, Lenny Young, Don Sipes, Earl Hamner Jr., Forrest Carter
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family
Sub-Genres: Drama, 10-12 Years, Adapted from Books, Family Films
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/12/2002
Original Release Date: 12/25/1997
Theatrical Release Date: 12/25/1997
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 52min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 22
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A Movie With Heart
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As a Native American I am well aware of all the blatant stereotyping out there. What I like about this movie is the underlayment of good values. Yes, there is the moonshining, and it was illegal and booze has definitely had a detrimental effect on all races of people. However, this just showed that people during those times were really scrapping to keep their lives going. The Grandparents were not sitting around drinking. As with Casinos, they were selling their product to Dominant culture people. No, I am not a drinker and I teach abstinance.A perfect moment if parents are watching with their kids(as they should), to field children's thoughts about it. Do some teaching.
I wonder how many people know that during the Depression when other races of people were just hungry and homeless, Indian peoples across America- some people literally starved to death. On the bottom economically. Only 75 years ago! In our country?The connection of the people to the land and nature was very evident, but, understated, and they were not stereotyped as turning into mystical beings, but, rather, being one with the beauty around them- poor but rooted there. My humble Grandparents also took me to rock ledges and the woods to pray. Showed reverence for all living things.Someone has mentioned that characters were stereotyped as typical of mountain people. I would like to say that one of the reasons I like this movie is that I was very moved by the way a filmmaker set down scenes and family interractions that I experienced. There are people still alive who I have known well, who are good nurturing souls like the Grandparents and John Willow. Even now, in Hollers and on country cowpaths, there are folks like these, believe me. So much hurt and antifamily abuse came out of so many Indians going off to Indian boarding schools. But, here and there, and where I am from, there are pockets of country Indians, registered tribal people, living in harmony. Holding us together. Could have been my grandma's cabin,inside and out, or my adopted Dad and Mom. There was much good said in this movie, and implied, about traditional values of kindness and caring. About family, friends, and how if an Indian child does not have relatives, they are given relatives and taken care of. The Ongoing, the future of the community. Closeness to the land.

I marvel that the author of the book from which this movie is loosely adapted, had dubious racial ties. I do not support the KKK in anyway, but, the movie reflects the moviemakers,not the book author, and I do not believe that people like American Indian stars Tantoo Cardinal and Graham Greene would have supported a movie that they did not find worthy. Blessings and Balance."
This is a heart warming movie that is a must to be seen!
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite the fact that the book on which the movie was based was a fraud (sold as an autobiography, which it wasn't), this movie was wonderfully done. Growing up in the East TN and Southwest Virginia mountains with a Scotch/Irish Grandpa and a part Cherokee Grandma, I saw a lot of our family in this movie. It is true to the depression era of East Tennessee (and yes, a lot of children participated in moonshining). I highly recommend the movie to everyone. It's a shame that movies like this have to be made in Canada, but other than "Smoke Signals" so far all the truer stories of Native American People are. Maybe one day our country will accept our heritage and do this."
Enjoyable and Warm
Groovy Great One | Kelowna, British Columbia Canada | 01/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Education of Little Tree is one of the best keeper movies I have had the pleasure of watching in years. My 18 year old son watched it 3 times in 2 days. My best friend loved it, and cried during some of the touching scenes. The few places where there are curse words used are unfortunate, as there are families who would completely enjoy this movie, but won't buy it because of a few words. I have native ancestry and thought this movie was respectful to my background. This movie left me warm and wanting more of the same."
Dr Cathy Goodwin | Seattle, WA USA | 03/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"These days I watch the first scenes of a DVD rather cautiously, waiting to see if I'll get hooked. To my surprise, this DVD was totally absorbing: the beauty of the countryside and the even-handed portrayal of story and characters.

I actually liked the way the child got involved in the moonshining action, showing how it's hard to define activities as "good" or "bad." Many citizens believe the moonshine laws did more harm than good, like the war on drugs today.

I also liked the way the movie gave us an ending that was satisfying but not sugary. Bad things happen. The child was learning to differentiate between nature's cruelty and invented human cruelty.

And I don't think the whites were stereotyped as bad. The grandfather and his fellow moonshiners were a great bunch. The church scene was a little extreme but offered some much-needed comic relief.

Why four stars and not five? After watching the video, I learned the author's story, and I felt a little cheated. But after reading reviews by native Americans and Cherokees, it's reassuring to know the film managed to tell an accurate story. When I lived in Alaska, I heard many horror stories about the way governmet treated Native Americans. No surprises on that score."