6.2/10
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Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)

A cynical Buffalo Bill hires Sitting Bull to exploit him and add his credibility to the distorted view of history presented in his Wild West Show.

Director:

Robert Altman

Writers:

Arthur Kopit (suggested by the play "Indians" by), Alan Rudolph (screen story) | 3 more credits »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... The Star (William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody)
Joel Grey ... The Producer (Nate Salisbury)
Kevin McCarthy ... The Publicist (Maj. John Burke)
Harvey Keitel ... The Relative (Ed Goodman)
Allan F. Nicholls ... The Journalist (Prentiss Ingraham) (as Allan Nicholls)
Geraldine Chaplin ... The Sure Shot (Annie Oakley)
John Considine ... The Sure Shot's Manager (Frank Butler)
Robert DoQui ... The Wrangler (Oswald Dart) (as Robert Doqui)
Mike Kaplan ... The Treasurer (Jules Keen)
Bert Remsen ... The Bartender (Crutch)
Bonnie Leaders Bonnie Leaders ... The Mezzo-Contralto (Margaret)
Noelle Rogers Noelle Rogers ... The Lyric-Coloratura (Lucille DuCharme)
Evelyn Lear ... The Lyric-Soprano (Nina Cavallini)
Denver Pyle ... The Indian Agent (McLaughlin)
Frank Kaquitts Frank Kaquitts ... The Indian (Sitting Bull)
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Storyline

Buffalo Bill plans to put on his own Wild West sideshow, and Chief Sitting Bull has agreed to appear in it. However, Sitting Bull has his own hidden agenda, involving the President and General Custer. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Western

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Buffalo Bill and the Indians See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1979) | (video)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of several collaborations of mentor Robert Altman and protégé Alan Rudolph. See more »

Goofs

There is a flag on the flagpole. All 3 flags have 48 stars on them. The flag with 48 stars didn't come about until 1912. See more »

Quotes

Maj. John M. Burke: Don't worry about how you feel about where you ought to be... just come on over here where you should be.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Robert Altman's Absolutely Unique and Heroic Enterprise of Inimitable Lustrel See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Robert Altman (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Altman's Take on the Wild West
31 July 2007 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

A very weak Altman film, all the weaker because it came out the year after one of Altman's best works: "Nashville." "Buffalo Bill..." is one of the most savagely satiric films from a director known for savage satire. Unfortunately, it's also a one-joke film, whose joke is given away in the first five minutes, leaving the film nowhere to go. Paul Newman plays Buffalo Bill as a complete buffoon, surrounded by yes-men and lackeys. He practically buys ex-Indian chief Sitting Bull for his Wild West show, and what we suffer through is scene after scene of white men making asses of themselves while native American Indians nobly and quietly observe and judge them. It's two hours of smug finger pointing at oblivious Caucasians for raping and pillaging the American frontier.

All of Altman's films have the feel of coming together in the editing room, and many times this approach to structure results in inspired moments, but "Buffalo Bill" feels even more than usual like a film without a center. There's no narrative thread to hold it together, so it has a wandering and monotonous quality. Also, it doesn't help that Altman's shooting style is uncharacteristically distant. There are virtually no close-ups in the entire picture, so scene after scene is photographed in medium and long shots. Both the screenplay and the camera keep us at a distance; as a result, we never become engaged in the action.

A definitive misfire.

Grade: C


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