Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss, Donald Pleasence, James Hampton, Mort Mills
Genres: Action & Adventure, Westerns, Classics, Drama, Special Interests
Honus Gent, a U.S. soldier devoted to his duty, and Cresta, a white woman who had lived with the Cheyenne for two years, are the only two survivors of a slaughter committed by the Cheyennes on a cavalry group. Together the... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Ann D. (wordyone)
Reviewed on 7/20/2012...
I saw this when it first came out in theaters in 1970 and it is one of the few movies which have stayed with me all these years. It is sobering and powerful and the truest account of events during that era I have ever seen. This is the only movie I've ever been to in which, at the end, the entire audience left the theater in stunned, ashamed silence. Everyone should see this at least once. It should be required viewing in schools.
William E. from ATKINSON, IL
Reviewed on 1/19/2012...
I was a soldier in the Army when I first saw this movie. I was cognizant of the massacres in the film paralleled what was happening in Viet Nam. While many Hollywierd epics hardly have a scant shred of truth in the telling when dealing with historical tales I was glad that someone put this saga on film.
The reality of the brutality of the massacres while toned down were vivid in my young eyes. While I am not a Liberal, I think films like these should not have ratings and be mandatory viewing in schools. They show life as it truly was and should never be again.
Regardless of the acting, the storyline was a good one. This is a movie people SHOULD watch.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Good As It Is, And Now It's UNCUT!
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 07/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"NOTE: This review of SOLDIER BLUE applies to the uncut version released by Lionsgate in 2006 and not the 'PG' version that had been on video for years.
Released in the late summer of 1970, SOLDIER BLUE concerns itself with a disenfranchised U.S. cavalry officer (Peter Strauss), one of only two survivors of a savage attack on an Army payroll train by Cheyenne Indians in Colorado, who falls in love with the other survivor, a white woman (Candace Bergen) who had been raised by the Cheyenne. Although cut off from his unit, Strauss refuses to believe that the U.S. Army is acting with undue harshness towards the Indians, until his experiences with Bergen show him otherwise. Making their way across hostile territory, and for a moment in the clutches of a deranged gun runner (Donald Pleasance), they reach an Army fort where they learn of a plan by a vengeance-minded general (John Anderson) to destroy the Cheyenne.
Bergen and Strauss warn the Cheyenne villagers of this possibility. When Anderson's troop appears on the outskirts of the village, the Indians raise an American flag as if in supplication. Anderson, however, is unmoved; and all Bergen and Strauss can do is watch as the Cheyenne and their village are totally annihilated.
SOLDIER BLUE, directed by Ralph Nelson (CHARLY, LILIES OF THE FIELD), is unique because it was the first western of its kind to really paint the Army as inherently evil. Given that it was based on the infamous 1864 Sand Creek massacre and that it equated mistreatment of the Cheyenne with the revelations of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam at the time of its release, this is not surprising--though contrary to what some might say, it is also not politically (let alone realistically) correct.
Until Lionsgate, the studio responsible for FAHRENHEIT 9/11, restored the and re-released the film on DVD last year, however SOLDIER BLUE could only be seen in a severely cut form, allowing for the 'PG' rating it had for so long. In reality, in its original form here, it was considerably notorious because of its extreme violence, particularly the horrific final massacre. As such, it exceeded even the levels of violence in THE WILD BUNCH and would almost certainly challenge the opening of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN for sheer war-related carnage. It nearly got an 'X' rating, but came away with an 'R'. It was then edited for re-release down to a 'PG', with much of the violence cut.
That said, however, Bergen and Strauss, who were practically unknown at the time, deliver fairly good performances; and the on-location shooting in central Mexico is breathtakingly panoramic when it's not focusing in on the violence angle. Roy Budd's score is also appropriate, with noted folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie (a Cree Indian) contributing songs to the soundtrack.
Now that it is in its uncut form, it is up for the viewer to judge the merits of this, the FAHRENHEIT 9/11 of the Western genre. It still isn't an easy film to like, and almost certainly there will be those that loathe it not only for its violence but also its admittedly hyperbolic view of the Army. Nevertheless, it can and should be seen now in its original form so that people can come to terms with its painful message about our genocidal mistreatment of the Native American."
How the West was really won
D. I. Shipley | KENT United Kingdom | 07/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Soldier Blue was made as a biting allegory of the Vietnam war. It divided critics at the time of its release and indeed, continues to do so. It is extremely brutal but not gratuitously so. The appalling acts depicted are shown from the point of view that this actually happened, as opposed to well lets give the audience some gore. People seeing the film tend to be shocked from the former point of view as opposed to the latter.
The film opens deceptively with a Cheyenne massacre of a US Cavalry troop guarding a pay chest. The survivors of the massacre are one naive boy soldier and a savvy, young frontier woman, played superbly by Peter Strauss, and Candice Bergen respectively. Their adventures and subsequent romance are then chronicled. Along the way they encounter Donald Pleasance's superbly sinister arms smuggler. The film's climax is a savage massacre of a Cheyenne village by the US Army - based on the real life events at Sand Creek, Colorado. In an orgy of blood lust, women and children are slaughtered and body parts are taken as trophies. By this time the film has swung 180 degrees from its opening, and has established the root cause of the suffering which is the white man's treatment of the native american. During all this, Strauss' character has changed from naive volunteer soldier to conscientious objector while the character of Candice Bergen remains the hope of reconciliation and co-existence.
The film is brutally honest and makes its point more effectively than other bigger budget films of the same genre eg. Dances With Wolves. Sadly the film is not readily available in the USA. I would strongly urge MGM who now own the rights to re release the film on dvd, preferably in its completely uncut version (The film is available on both dvd and vhs here in the UK but it is the cut version). In the current climate where Fahrenheit 9/11 is generating massive interest in the US, the re release of a brutally honest recreation of a bloody piece of American history would be timely and well received. In the meantime, if you can get a copy, I strongly urge people to see this film and form their own conclusions.
As a footnote the film has been released on dvd in its completely uncut version in Germany, as of July 2004. The film looks absolutely fantastic on dvd, picture and sound quality are incredible for a film of this age. Having just seen this version, has made me realise that the 'uncut' version I saw in the UK years ago was in fact slightly cut. Therefore, be warned, this version is very strong viewing, indeed. Any previously 'uncut' version that you saw in the past probably was in fact censored to some degree. This version of the film is titled 'Das Wiegenlied Vom Totschlag' and is available from Amazon De, which is where I got my copy from. It is a Region 2/Pal dvd, so just be aware that your dvd player may not be able to play this format. Definitely a film worth upgrading to multi region play though.
Technical details as follows:
- Title is Das Wiegenlied Vom Totschlag
- Sound is Dolby Digital mono.
- Format is 16.9 anamorphic
- Area is Region 2/Pal
- Extras are a theatrical trailer
- Running time is 110 mins.
- Languages available are English, German, Italian, and Spanish"
A Flawed, if Unflinching Look at Genocide in the U.S. West
Stephen Kaczmarek | Columbus, Ohio United States | 11/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With its stark re-creation of the massacre of Native Americans at the hands of a volunteer U.S. Army during the American Civil War, it's no surprise that "Soldier Blue" has been largely buried by cable and broadcast TV. When a local station was brave enough to air it--uncensored, no less--years ago, I was stunned at the depiction not only of sadistic violence, but overt racism and genocide that most westerns have chosen to whitewash or ignore to avoid offending mainstream audiences. That said, it's not easy to watch "Soldier Blue" without recoiling at the visciousness of so-called civilized people who defended their actions by labelling everyone else "savages." Peter Strauss plays a wayward cavalry soldier who teams up with a frontier-savvy immigrant (Candice Bergen) on the eve of a brutal attack by the army (based loosely on Chivington's massacre of the Cheyenne at Sand Creek) He quickly comes to realize who the real savages are but is nonetheless powerless to prevent the gleeful slaughter that includes rape and dismemberment. "Soldier Blue" may remind viewers of "Little Big Man" and "Dances with Wolves"--and there are striking similarities--but despite their higher production values, neither film seems to capture the sheer venom of actions and attitudes against Native Americans. (The film itself stops short of depicting the full range of brutality.) Still, "Soldier Blue" is far from a perfect film--the acting at times is over-the-top and the parallels to the Viet Nam War (think: My Lai Massacre) detract from the film's focus. Watch it not as great cinema but as a glimpse of an American West we usually don't get to see."