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Jeremiah Johnson (1972)

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A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by the Crow tribe, and proves to be a match for their warriors in single combat on the early frontier.

Director:

Sydney Pollack

Writers:

Vardis Fisher (novel), Raymond W. Thorp (story "Crow Killer") | 3 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Redford ... Jeremiah Johnson
Will Geer ... Bear Claw
Delle Bolton ... Swan
Josh Albee ... Caleb
Joaquín Martínez ... Paints His Shirt Red (as Joaquin Martinez)
Allyn Ann McLerie ... Crazy Woman
Stefan Gierasch ... Del Gue
Richard Angarola ... Chief Two-Tongues Lebeaux
Paul Benedict ... Reverend Lindquist
Charles Tyner ... Robidoux
Jack Colvin ... Lieutenant Mulvey
Matt Clark ... Qualen
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Storyline

During the mid-nineteenth century, Jeremiah Johnson, after a stint in the US Army, decides that he would prefer a life of solitude and more importantly peace by living with nature in the mountains of the frontier of the American west. This plan entails finding a piece of land upon which to build a house. This quest ends up being not quite what he envisioned as he does require the assistance of others to find his footing, and in turn he amasses friends and acquaintances along the way, some who become more a part of his life than he would have imagined. Perhaps most importantly, some of those people provide him with the knowledge of how to co-exist with some of the many Indian tribes, most importantly the Crow, on whose land in Colorado Jeremiah ultimately decides to build his home. But an act by Jeremiah upon a request by the US Cavalry leads to a chain of events that may forever change the peaceful relationship he worked so hard to achieve with his neighbors and their land. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

His Mountain. His Peace. His Great Hunts. His Young Bride. With All That, It Should Have Been Different. See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Crow | French

Release Date:

10 September 1972 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Crow Killer See more »

Filming Locations:

Kayenta, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (long)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Mono (35 mm prints)| Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The Italian release title of the film was called "Red Crow You Will Not Have My Scalp". See more »

Goofs

The wedding song is actually a song the Salish people sing at funerals. The producers wanted a song during the wedding and the Salish don't have one. So the technical adviser, Johnny Arlee, gave them three songs to choose from and they liked "Coming Home", a death song. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: His name was Jeremiah Johnson, and they say he wanted to be a mountain man. The story goes that he was a man of proper wit and adventurous spirit, suited to the mountains. Nobody knows whereabouts he come from and don't seem to matter much. He was a young man and ghosty stories about the tall hills didn't scare him none. He was looking for a Hawken gun, .50 caliber or better. He settled for a .30, but damn, it was a genuine Hawken... you couldn't go no better. Bought him a good ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

DVD release restores the overture and the exit music which were deleted from the VHS releases. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Sydney Pollack (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

The Way that You Wander
(uncredited)
Written by John Rubinstein, Tim McIntire
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Broken humans learning to be whole again
22 April 2009 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

Sydney Pollack's return to the western four years after THE SCALPHUNTERS was to be a completely different experience. Following the trials and tribulations of a deserter of the Mexican War who disappears in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to become a mountain man, JEREMIAH JOHNSON eschews the conventions of the western as a genre in such a way as was only made possible for American cinema in the tumultuous era of early 70's with such visceral movies of frontier survival as MAN IN THE WILDERNESS and A MAN CALLED HORSE paving the way.

As Jeremiah Johnson (Robert Redford) wanders the mountains like a fugitive stricken by disaster, a solitary figure against awe-inspiring backdrops of massive rock formations, steep ravines and expansive mesas, you can tangibly feel the film, like the hero, transcending the specific time and place and breaching out vision to become an all-encompassing spiritual journey where the individual characters - fur trappers, bear hunters or Indians - are merely the unwitting parners in a dance of death.

Some viewers may be put off by the lack of straight-forward plot, the episodic, repetitive nature of the movie or the long stretches of silence, but it's from those exact things the movie takes its power. JJ comes unto its own in those small moments of quietude, in Johnson's silent encounters with indians, in the barren, unforgiving wastes of the craggy mountains that reflect so well the psychology of characters wandering in their shadow, in the subtle, heartwarming interactions Johnson has with the Indian woman he's taken for a wife and the mute boy he's taken for a son. There's hardly a word uttered between this peculiar family the entire movie but the ways they learn to overcome the barriers that separate them is a touching sight to behold.

There is some dated montage, a corny soundtrack; how much of this will affect your enjoyment will boil down to your affinity with how cinema was in the 70's. Still, what is left is this beautiful parable of broken humans learning to be whole again. Equal parts visceral, savage and heartwarming.


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