Entertainment

The Best Native American Movies  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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 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. 

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, 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
Smoke Signals is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
2
Dances with Wolves is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
The Last of the Mohicans is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Pete Postlethwaite
The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 and produced by Morgan Creek Pictures. It was directed by Michael Mann and based on James Fenimore Cooper's novel of the same ...more
4
Dance Me Outside is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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.
5
Little Big Man is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
6
Powwow Highway is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
Skins is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
Thunderheart is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
9
Windtalkers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Nicolas Cage, Mark Ruffalo, Christian Slater
Windtalkers is a 2002 American 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
A Man Called Horse is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
11
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Anna Paquin, J.K. Simmons, Aidan Quinn
This film 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 Films. The book on ...more
12
Black Robe is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
13
Last of the Dogmen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
14
Windwalker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
15
Billy Jack is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
16
Dreamkeeper is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Native American Movies
PanyEconomidou added 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
17
Grand Avenue is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Irene Bedard, Tantoo Cardinal, Eloy Casados
Grand Avenue is a 1996 drama written by Greg Sarris and directed by Daniel Sackheim.
18
Incident at Oglala is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Native American Movies
Norman Zigrossi, Robert Sikma, Darelle Butler
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
19
War Party is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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.
20
The New World is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Native American Movies
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
21
Into the West is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
Legends of the Fall is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Native American Movies
matt24a added 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
23
The Cherokee Word for Water is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Native American Movies
kristina-kiehl added Zahn McClarnon, Deanna Dunagan, Moses Brings Plenty
The Cherokee Word for Water is a 2013 drama film directed by Tim Kelly and Charlie Soup.
24
More Than Frybread is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Native American Movies
k-kelly added Tatanka Means, Greg Fernandez, Mary Kim Titla
More Than Frybread is a comedy film directed by Travis Holt Hamilton.
25
The Business of Fancydancing is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Native American Movies
k-kelly added 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