LITTLE BIG MAN
DIRECTED BY ARTHUR PENN
CINEMA CENTER FILMS
NATIONAL GENERAL PICTURES
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
CINEMA CENTER FILMS
NATIONAL GENERAL PICTURES
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
INFORMATION FROM IMDb
Jack Crabb is 121 years old as the film begins. A collector of oral histories asks him about his past. He recounts being captured and raised by indians, becoming a gunslinger, marrying an indian, watching her killed by General George Armstrong Custer, and becoming a scout for him at Little Big Horn.
Written by John Vogel
Dustin Hoffman ... Jack Crabb
Faye Dunaway ... Mrs. Pendrake
Chief Dan George ... Old Lodge Skins
Martin Balsam ... Mr. Merriweather
Richard Mulligan ... Gen. George Armstrong Custer
Jeff Corey ... Wild Bill Hickok
Aimee Eccles ... Sunshine (as Amy Eccles)
Kelly Jean Peters ... Olga Crabb
Carole Androsky ... Caroline Crabb (as Carol Androsky)
Robert Little Star ... Little Horse
Cal Bellini ... Younger Bear
Ruben Moreno ... Shadow That Comes in Sight
Steve Shemayne ... Burns Red in the Sun
William Hickey ... Historian
James Anderson ... Sergeant
Jesse Vint ... Lieutenant (as Jess Vint)
Alan Oppenheimer ... Major
Thayer David ... Rev. Silas Pendrake
Philip Kenneally ... Mr. Kane - Drugstore Proprietor
Jack Bannon ... Captain
Ray Dimas ... Young Jack Crabb
Alan Howard ... Adolescent Jack Crabb
Jack Mullaney ... Card Player with Full House
Steve Miranda ... Younger Bear as a Youth
Lou Cutell ... Deacon
M. Emmet Walsh ... Shotgun Guard
Emily Cho ... Digging Bear
Cecelia Kootenay ... Little Elk
Linda Dyer ... Corn Woman
Dessie Bad Bear ... Buffalo Wallow Woman
Len George ... Crow Scout
Norman Nathan ... Pawnee
Helen Verbit ... Madame
Bert Conway ... Bartender
Earl Rosell ... Giant Trooper
Ken Mayer ... Sergeant
Bud Cokes ... Man at Bar
Rory O'Brien ... Assassin
Tracy Hotchner ... Flirting Girl
and many more...
Thomas Berger ... (novel)
Calder Willingham ... (screenplay)
Gene Lasko ... associate producer
Stuart Millar ... producer
John Paul Hammond
Harry Stradling Jr.
In order to get the raspy voice of 121 year old Jack, Dustin Hoffman sat in his dressing room and screamed at the top of his lungs for an hour.
Dustin Hoffman was put in The Guinness Book of World Records as "Greatest Age Span Portrayed By A Movie Actor" for portraying the character of Jack Crabb from age 17 to age 121.
One of the few two-and-a-half hour films of that era to not be shown with an intermission.
Little Big Man was the name of an actual historical figure. He was a Native American, an Oglala Lakota, who was a fearless and respected warrior who fought under, and was rivals with, Crazy Horse. He also fought at the Battle of Little Big Horn, a battle which is depicted in this film.
The role of Old Lodge Skins was initially offered to Marlon Brando, who turned it down. Other sources claim Arthur Penn's first choice for the role was Laurence Olivier. When that didn't work out, Richard Boone was slated for the role. When Boone backed out at the last minute, Chief Dan George was given the part and earned an Oscar nomination.
Although Dustin Hoffman plays the "younger" adopted son of Faye Dunaway's character in the film, he's actually four years older than Dunaway. Hoffman was born in 1937 while Dunaway was born in 1941.
Old Lodge Skins' line "Today, is a good day to die," was adopted by the Star Trek Universe as a Klingons catchphrase.
As acknowledged in the film, the self chosen names of many American native tribes simply translate as "the human beings," leading to inevitable difficulties in translating and interpreting certain sayings in their languages.
Paul Scofield was considered for the role of Old Lodge Skins. Curiously, it was not until shortly before filming began that director Arthur Penn thought about using an actual Native American for this role - even though an important point made in Thomas Berger's original novel was that Caucasian actors are hardly ever convincing in such parts.
The main tune played when the the 7th Cavalry were attacking on the Washita River and during the Battle of Little Big Horn is an Irish jig titled "Garry Owen". This song was the official song of the Seventh Cavalry of the U.S. Army - Lt. Col. Custer's cavalry. However, the music is actually a medley which consists of The Garry Owen and St. Patrick's Day.
Stuntman Gary Combs lost an eye during production.
Near the site of Custer's Last Stand, you will find a village named Garryowen, the name of the jig played by Custer's cavalry.
When Merriweather is forced by the lynch mob to reveal the ingredients of his elixir, he includes oil of cloves. The same was used to alleviate Dustin Hoffman's pain following his torture in Marathon Man (1976).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Following the movie time line, Jack Crabbe should have been rescued from the Indians around 1865. When he enters his gunfighter period around 1866, Jack is carrying two 1873 Colt Peacemakers while Hickok's pistol is an 1882 Colt.
When Jack first sees Mr. Merriweather, Merriweather is using a bass drum pedal. The first bass drum pedal was not patented until 1909 by William F. Ludwig.
When Jack Crabb is shown drunk during a heavy rainstorm shots alternate back and forth from being on an overcast day to being ones in bright sunshine.
When Shadow That Comes In Sight rescues young Jack and Caroline after their parents were killed, you can see Caroline put her foot up to a stirrup as she mounts the horse behind Shadow. When she dismounts it appears that Shadow, like most other Cheyennes, rides bareback.
When Jack and Olga are being photographed in front of their store the photographer removes the lens cap to expose the film and we see the image being taken reversed on camera glass. In reality the film holder would have blocked any view during the exposure.
Many inaccuracies regarding the Battle of Little Big Horn are copied from They Died with Their Boots On:
see goofs for that movie.
George Armstrong Custer is shown wearing the two star rank insignia of a Major General, which was his brevet rank in the Civil War. But as a cavalry commander in the Indian Wars, he had reverted to his Regular Army rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and should been depicted wearing the silver oak leaves of that rank.
During the Civil War, Custer was brevetted at various times to the ranks of Major General and Brigadier General. However, by the time of the Battle of Little Big Horn (well after the end of the Civil War), Custer's rank was reduced to Lt. Colonel. In the film, his uniform does not reflect this and the men incorrectly refer to him as "General Custer" prior to and during the battle.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs
..or maybe not. If the movie is just a tall tale told by Jack Crabb, then most factual errors and anachronisms
are simply the character's mistakes or quirks. However, since this is debatable, they are left on this list for your consideration.
The wires forcing a horse to fall are visible in the final battle scene, just before Custer exclaims "Fools! They're shooting their own horses!"
During the credits at the beginning of the movie, young Jack comes out of hiding and looks at a man's body, with an arrow sticking up out of it. The top of the arrow moves slowly as the "dead" man breathes.
Custer's attack on the Cheyenne at the Washita River occurred in the winter of 1868. Since Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the summer of 1876, Jack's drunk period would have lasted about eight years. Also the Battle of Little Big Horn was on June 25, 1876; Hickok was killed August 2, 1876, more than one month later.
In the saloon scene where Wild Bill Hickok is killed (1876),
there is a Miller beer "Girl on the Moon" picture on the wall.
Although Miller beer started operations in 1855, the "Girl on the Moon" advertising was first used in 1907 and it wasn't the same picture as the one in the movie.
During the stagecoach battle, the body of the dead driver appears and disappears between shots.
In the film, Custer and many of his men are killed by arrows. By the time of the Battle of Little Big Horn, the Plains Indians realized that bows and arrows were obsolete, and the braves who wiped out Custer's command were armed with rifles, lances and tomahawks.
When Wild Bill Hickok is gunned down, he lives long enough to have a conversation with Jack Crabb about the Widow. The shooter is apprehended immediately, claiming Hickok killed his father. In reality Hickok was killed instantly by Jack McCall, who ran away and was later found hiding in a local butcher shop. McCall's claim was that Hickok killed his brother not his father. The film also neglects to depict an important part of the Hickok mythos: he died holding two aces and two 8s, the origin of the proverbial "dead man's hand." And as noted elsewhere, Hickok's fall occurred AFTER Custer's Last Stand, not before it.
Little Bighorn River, Montana, USA
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument - 756 Battlefield Tour Road, Crow Agency, Montana, USA
Billings, Montana, USA
CL Ranch - 45001 Township Road, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Crow Agency, Montana, USA
Crow Indian Reservation, Montana, USA
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Lame Deer, Montana, USA
Hardin, Montana, USA
Lame Deer, Montana, USA
Morley, Alberta, Canada (winter)
Nevada City, Montana, USA
VA Hospital - 11301 Wilshire Blvd., Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, USA (modern bookend sequences)
North Ranch, Lindero Canyon Road at Kanan Road, Agoura Hills, California, USA
Thousand Oaks, California, USA
Virginia City, Montana, USA
Watch the Movie
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