Entertainment

The Best Native American Movies

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 Native 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, some are even . 

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 be featured in Hollywood.

This is meant to be a list of all the greatest movies about Native Americans of all time, a few of them are even based on true stories. Vote up your  favorites to see which ones become the top Native American films of all time.

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list ordered by
  • American Mystery! Coyote Waits is a 2003 film directed by Jan Egleson.
  • The Cherokee Word for Water is a 2013 drama film directed by Tim Kelly and Charlie Soup.
  • This period Canadian drama tracks the difficult life of Komi (Michelle St. John), a First Nations child who is abducted from her traditional home and forced to live at a boarding school where she is ...more
  • "When members of an Indian nation decide to close down a highway in protest, the conflict brings together all different types. University-educated Adam and dropout Nathan are different in virtually ...more
  • A Thief of Time is a 2004 film directed by Chris Eyre.
  • In the early 1900's a Native American boy escapes from a training camp and a Cherokee bounty hunter (Wes Studi), who has adopted the white man's way of life, is sent to find him. A tragic incident ...more
  • Set in 1634, this film follows the travels of Father LaForgue (Lothaire Bluteau), a Jesuit priest called upon to search for a remote Canadian mission surrounded by Huron settlements. LaForgue, guided ...more
  • Cory Lambert is a wildlife officer who finds the body of an 18-year-old woman on an American Indian reservation in snowy Wyoming. When the autopsy reveals that she was raped, FBI agent Jane Banner ...more
  • In early 20th-century Montana, Col. William Ludlow (Anthony Hopkins) lives in the wilderness with his sons, Tristan (Brad Pitt), Alfred (Aidan Quinn) and Samuel (Henry Thomas). Eventually, the ...more
  • Medicine River is the 1993 American TV movie directed by Stuart Margolin. When photographer Will returns home for his mother's funeral he gets more than he bargained for from a strange cast of ...more
  • Maïna is a Canadian drama film, released in 2013. Directed by Michel Poulette, the film stars Roseanne Supernault as Maïna, the daughter of Innu chief Mishtenapuu, who embarks on a quest into Inuit ...more
  • Turquoise Rose is a 2007 independent drama film co-written and directed by Holt Hamilton that takes place on the Navajo Nation. Turquoise Rose was filmed primarily on the Navajo Nation in Fort ...more
  • An author (Christopher Sweeney) recounts his travels with an Indian elder (Dave Bald Eagle) through the heart of Lakota country.
  • A part-Indian Vietnam veteran (Tom Laughlin) kicks around bigots who pick on his girlfriend's (Delores Taylor) so-called freedom school.
  • Spirit Rider 1993 family drama film directed by Michael J.F. Scott.
  • His father's suicide prompts a young American Indian (Cody Lightning) to leave the reservation and explore the world outside.
  • Edge of America is an American culture and travel show on the Travel Channel, hosted by and starring Geoff Edgers. The show features Edgers, an arts and entertainment reporter for The Boston Globe, ...more
  • Before Tomorrow is a Canadian drama film, released in 2008. Directed by Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu, the film is an adaptation of the novel Før Morgendagen by Danish writer Jørn Riel. ...more
  • 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 reveals ...more
  • 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
  • Shouting Secrets is a 2011 drama film directed by Korinna Sehringer. A hopeful and heartwarming, universal story taking place in a present day Native American family. It's a story that is at once ...more
  • One Dead Indian is a 2006 historical drama TV movie directed by Tim Southam. Stoney Point Natives assemble at Ipperwash Provincial Park for what began as a peaceful protest.
  • Native American Ray (Timothy Vahle) heads home after graduating from college to help run his family's shabby ski resort. Believing that Tina (Mariana Tosca), a beautiful lodge guest, is an incognito ...more
  • A Native American doctor living in California, Jesse Rainfeather Goldman (Lou Diamond Phillips) travels to an Iowa Indian reservation in the hope of seeing his biological mother. Upon his arrival, he ...more
  • 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 eastern ...more