films The Best Native American Movies  

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List Rules Only movies featuring native Americans.

Looking for the best Native American movies and films with Native American themes? This list ranks all the good Native American movies so you know what to watch first if you are looking to learn more about the culture and history of these people. These are films that focus on American Indians and their cultures as part of the story's central theme - famous films like Dances with Wolves and The Last of the Mohicans are widely known, but this list also includes lesser-known films like Smoke Signals and Skins. Some of these rank among the best war movies ever produced while others are heartfelt dramas who also have a place with the best costume drama films. Still others are love stories and great Native American romance movies. 

Once referred to as "Indians," Native Americans have an incredibly rich culture and history. While they may have originally only been used in Westerns as "the bad guys" (often played by white guys in red-face), today, Native Americans are just as often the heroes. Their braves, teepees, art, tomahawks, and skill with hunting buffalo are all veritable icons in American Indian movies. It's no small wonder then that they continue to find their way into Hollywood.

This is meant to be a list of all the greatest movies about Native Americans of all time, but if you feel we've left out any of the best Native American movies, please feel free to add them to the list yourself in the hope that they will receive enough votes to become the top Native American films of all time.
list ordered by

1
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The Last of the Mohicans is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Native American Movies
The Last of the Mohicans Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 during the French and Indian War and produced by Morgan Creek Pictures. It was directed by Michael Mann and based on James ...more

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814 228
Dances with Wolves is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Charles Rocket Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film directed, produced by, and starring Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake and tells ...more

3
622 143
Smoke Signals is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Smoke Signals Perrey Reeves, Cynthia Geary, Adam Beach Smoke Signals is an independent film directed and co-produced by Chris Eyre and with a screenplay by Sherman Alexie, based on the short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, ...more

4
378 58
Powwow Highway is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Powwow Highway A Martinez, Amanda Wyss, Wes Studi Powwow Highway is a 1989 comedy-drama road movie based on the novel of the same name by David Seals. It features A Martinez, Gary Farmer, Joanelle Romero and Amanda Wyss. Wes Studi and Graham ...more

5
521 70
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Anna Paquin, J.K. Simmons, Aidan Quinn Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a 2007 television film adapted from the book of the same name by Dee Brown. The film was written by Daniel Giat, directed by Yves Simoneau and produced by HBO ...more

6
314 57
Dance Me Outside is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Dance Me Outside Sandrine Holt, Hugh Dillon, Adam Beach Dance Me Outside is a 1994 drama film directed and co-written by Bruce McDonald. It was based on a book by W.P. Kinsella.

7
501 134
Thunderheart is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Thunderheart Val Kilmer, David Crosby, Sam Shepard Thunderheart is a 1992 contemporary western mystery film directed by Michael Apted from an original screenplay by John Fusco. The film is a loosely based fictional portrayal of events relating ...more

8
322 101
Little Big Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Little Big Man Carole Androsky, Robert Little Star, Dustin Hoffman Little Big Man or Charging Bear was an Oglala Lakota, a fearless and respected warrior who fought under, and was rivals with, Crazy Horse. He opposed the treaty and the commission that wanted to ...more

9
424 138
Windtalkers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Windtalkers Nicolas Cage, Mark Ruffalo, Christian Slater Windtalkers is a 2002 American war film directed and produced by John Woo, and starring Nicolas Cage and Adam Beach. The film was released in the United States on June 14, 2002.

10
376 142
Last of the Dogmen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Last of the Dogmen Tom Berenger, Barbara Hershey, Wilford Brimley Last of the Dogmen is a 1995 American Western adventure film written and directed by Tab Murphy and starring Tom Berenger and Barbara Hershey. Set in the mountains of northwest Montana near the ...more

11
266 95
Skins is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Skins Graham Greene, Winona LaDuke, Tina Keeper Skins is a 2002 feature film by Chris Eyre and based upon the novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis. The film is set on the fictional Beaver Creek Indian Reservation in South Dakota near the ...more

12
331 44
Geronimo: An American Legend is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Geronimo: An American Legend Matt Damon, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman Geronimo: An American Legend is a 1993 film, directed by Walter Hill from a screenplay by John Milius and starring Wes Studi, Jason Patric, Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall and Matt Damon. It was ...more

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258 81
A Man Called Horse is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Native American Movies
A Man Called Horse Richard Harris, Judith Anderson, James Gammon A Man Called Horse is a 1970 American Western film starring Richard Harris and directed by Elliot Silverstein. Based on a short story by Dorothy M. Johnson, "A Man Called Horse", ...more

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197 78
Billy Jack is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Billy Jack Tom Laughlin, Howard Hesseman, Johnny Otis Billy Jack is a 1971 action/drama independent film; the second of four films centering on a character of the same name which began with the movie The Born Losers, played by Tom Laughlin, who ...more

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173 43
Black Robe is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Black Robe Sandrine Holt, August Schellenberg, Raoul Trujillo Black Robe is a 1991 film directed by Bruce Beresford. The screenplay was written by Irish Canadian author Brian Moore, who adapted it from his novel of the same name. The film's main character, ...more

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235 73
Windwalker is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Windwalker Trevor Howard, James Remar, Billy Drago Windwalker is a 1981 western adventure film, based on a novel by Blaine M. Yorgason, starring Trevor Howard and Nick Ramus. It was shot in various outdoor locations in Utah. To maintain ...more

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188 75
The New World is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Native American Movies
The New World Christian Bale, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer The New World is a 2005 British-American romantic historical drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, depicting the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia settlement and inspired by the ...more

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126 68
War Party is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Native American Movies
War Party Antonio Te Maioha, Reweti Te Mete, Fred Te Kani Dargaville Koro War Party is a 2007 short drama film written and directed by Tearepa Kahi.

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240 88
Dreamkeeper is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Native American Movies
PanyEconomidou added Dreamkeeper August Schellenberg, Nathaniel Arcand, Alex Rice Dreamkeeper is a 2003 film written by John Fusco and directed by Steve Barron. The main plot of the film is the conflict between a Lakota elder and storyteller named Pete Chasing Horse and his ...more

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191 57
Incident at Oglala is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Incident at Oglala On June 26, 1975, during a period of high tensions on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, two FBI agents were killed in a shootout with a group of Indians. Although several men were ...more

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98 49
Grand Avenue is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Grand Avenue Irene Bedard, Tantoo Cardinal, Eloy Casados Grand Avenue is a 1996 drama written by Greg Sarris and directed by Daniel Sackheim.

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203 75
Legends of the Fall is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Native American Movies
matt24a added Legends of the Fall Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Julia Ormond Legends of the Fall is a 1994 American epic drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, and Henry Thomas. Based on the 1979 novella of ...more

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85 16
Into the West is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Native American Movies
k-kelly added Into the West Into the West is a 2005 miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks, with six two-hour episodes. The series was first broadcast in the U.S. on Turner Network Television on six Fridays ...more

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53 8
The Business of Fancydancing is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Native American Movies
k-kelly added The Business of Fancydancing Cynthia Geary, Leo Rossi, Evan Adams The Business of Fancydancing is a 2002 film written and directed by Sherman Alexie. The film explores the tension between two Spokane men who grew up together on the Spokane Reservation in ...more

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164 89
Stolen Women: Captured Hearts is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Native American Movies
PanyEconomidou added Stolen Women: Captured Hearts Janine Turner, Dennis Weaver, Jean Louisa Kelly Stolen Women: Captured Hearts is a 1997 made-for-television film directed by Jerry London. The film stars Janine Turner as Anna Morgan, a woman living on the plains of Kansas in 1868 who is ...more

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90 69
Cheyenne Autumn is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Cheyenne Autumn James Stewart, Edward G. Robinson, Ricardo Montalbán Cheyenne Autumn is a 1964 Western movie starring Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, James Stewart, and Edward G. Robinson. Regarded as an epic film, it tells the story of a factual event, the ...more

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62 11
Reel Injun is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Native American Movies
k-kelly added Reel Injun The portrayal of Native Americans in cinema. / Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an entertaining, insightful, and often humorous look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North ...more

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94 64
The Broken Chain is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Native American Movies
The Broken Chain Pierce Brosnan The Broken Chain is film directed by Lamont Johnson released on December 12, 1993.

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40 5
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Madeline Piujuq Ivalu Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner is a 2001 Canadian film directed by Zacharias Kunuk. It was the first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in Inuktitut. Set in the ancient ...more

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The Only Good Indian is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Native American Movies
DanChapman added The Only Good Indian Wes Studi, Paul Butler, J. Kenneth Campbell The Only Good Indian is a 2009 independent feature film directed by Kevin Willmott. The film was shot almost entirely in Kansas—the only exception being a scene at Missouri's Ha Ha Tonka State ...more

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Clearcut is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Native American Movies
wiabux added Clearcut Graham Greene, Tom Jackson Clearcut is a 1991 Canadian drama film about clearcutting in a Canadian province. This motion picture stars Graham Greene, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Tom Jackson, and Raoul Trujillo. It is ...more

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41 12
The Cherokee Word for Water is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Native American Movies
kristina-kiehl added The Cherokee Word for Water Zahn McClarnon, Deanna Dunagan, Moses Brings Plenty The Cherokee Word for Water is a 2013 drama film directed by Tim Kelly and Charlie Soup.

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175 159
Pocahontas is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Pocahontas Mel Gibson, Christian Bale, Billy Connolly Pocahontas is a 1995 American animated musical romantic-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 33rd film in the Walt Disney Animated ...more

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Ranker Video
smallprint84 added Broken Arrow James Stewart, Debra Paget, Will Geer Broken Arrow is a western Technicolor film released in 1950. It was directed by Delmer Daves and starred James Stewart as Tom Jeffords and Jeff Chandler as Cochise. The film is based on these ...more

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90 72
Son of the Morning Star is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Son of the Morning Star Gary Cole, Rosanna Arquette, Dean Stockwell Son of the Morning Star is a 1984 non-fiction book written by Evan S. Connell, on the subject of General George Armstrong Custer, with the subtitle 'Custer and the Little Bighorn'. A 1991 ...more

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39 37
The Doe Boy is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Native American Movies
The Doe Boy James Duval, Gordon Tootoosis, Jim Metzler The Doe Boy is a 2001 independent drama film written and directed by Randy Redroad. It was selected as the United States winner of the Sundance Film Festival/NHK International Filmmakers Award ...more

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48 15
Barking Water is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Native American Movies
GlendaWard added Barking Water Laura Spencer, David Hill, Richard Ray Whitman Barking Water is a 2009 independent feature film written and directed by Sterlin Harjo that premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and stars Richard Ray Whitman, Casey Camp-Horinek, Jon ...more

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51 17
Dead Man is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Native American Movies
press1 added Dead Man Johnny Depp, Steve Buscemi, John Hurt Dead Man is a 1995 American Western film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. It stars Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Billy Bob Thornton, Iggy Pop, Crispin Glover, John Hurt, Michael Wincott, Lance ...more

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53 21
Nanook of the North is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Native American Movies
SarahMorneau added Nanook of the North Nyla, Allakariallak, Cunayou Nanook of the North is a 1922 American silent documentary film by Robert J. Flaherty, with elements of docudrama, at a time when separating films into documentary and drama did not yet exist. In ...more

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48 21
Medicine River is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Native American Movies
PattiLynnWalker added Medicine River Medicine River is the 1993 TV movie written by Thomas King and Ann MacNaughton and directed by Stuart Margolin

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43 5
Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee Peter Weller, Irene Bedard Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee is a 1994 TNT original movie starring Irene Bedard, Tantoo Cardinal, Pato Hoffmann, Joseph Runningfox, Lawrence Bayne, and Michael Horse and August ...more

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48 30
Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resi... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Native American Movies
SarahMorneau added Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance is a 1993 feature-length film documentary film by Alanis Obomsawin, chronicling the 1990 Oka Crisis. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the film ...more

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63 34
Imprint is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Native American Movies
MichaelMassey added Imprint Tonantzin Carmelo, Michael Spears, Carla-Rae Holland Imprint is a 2007 independent drama/thriller film co-written and directed by Michael Linn and produced by Chris Eyre.

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More Than Frybread is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Native American Movies
k-kelly added More Than Frybread More Than Frybread is a comedy film directed by Travis Holt Hamilton.

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Trudell is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Trudell Native American activist and poet John Trudell fuses his radical politics with music, writing and art. Combining images and archival footage with interviews and performances, this biography ...more

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28 7
On The Ice is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Native American Movies
MarylyleMcCue added On The Ice Veron Kanayurak, Jay Rapoza, Frank Qutuq Irelan On The Ice is a 2011 thriller drama film written and directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean.

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34 17
Frozen River is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Native American Movies
press1 added Frozen River Melissa Leo, Mark Boone Junior, Michael O'Keefe Frozen River is a 2008 American crime drama film written and directed by Courtney Hunt. The screenplay focuses on two working-class women who smuggle illegal immigrants from Canada to the United ...more

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26 8
Shouting Secrets is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Native American Movies
MarylyleMcCue added Shouting Secrets Shouting Secrets is a 2011 drama film directed by Korinna Sehringer.

49
107 87
The Indian in the Cupboard is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Native American Movies
The Indian in the Cupboard Steve Coogan, Richard Jenkins, Vincent Kartheiser The Indian in the Cupboard is a 1995 American fantasy-adventure film directed by Frank Oz. It was based on the children's book of the same name by Lynne Reid Banks. The story is about a boy who ...more

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Ranker Video
Drunktown's Finest Shauna Baker, Kiowa Gordon, Carmen Moore Drunktown's Finest is an American drama film directed by Sydney Freeland. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2014. The film later screened at ...more