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Smoke Signals (1998)

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Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by... See full summary »

Director:

Chris Eyre

Writers:

Sherman Alexie (book), Sherman Alexie (screenplay)
12 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Beach ... Victor Joseph
Evan Adams ... Thomas Builds-the-Fire
Irene Bedard ... Suzy Song
Gary Farmer ... Arnold Joseph
Tantoo Cardinal ... Arlene Joseph
Cody Lightning ... Young Victor Joseph
Simon Baker ... Young Thomas Builds-the-Fire
Monique Mojica Monique Mojica ... Grandma Builds-the-Fire
John Trudell ... Randy Peone
Chief Leonard George Chief Leonard George ... Lester Fallsapart (as Leonard George)
Michael Greyeyes ... Junior Polatkin
Darwin Haine ... Boo
Michelle St. John ... Velma
Elaine Miles ... Lucy
Cynthia Geary ... Cathy the Gymnast
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Storyline

Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by Arnold. Arnold soon left his family (and his tough son Victor), and Victor hasn't seen his father for 10 years. When Victor hears Arnold has died, Thomas offers him funding for the trip to get Arnold's remains, but only if Thomas can also go with him. Thomas and Victor hit the road. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A new film from the heart of Native America.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some intense images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 November 1998 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona See more »

Filming Locations:

Idaho, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$43,574, 28 June 1998

Gross USA:

$6,745,362

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,745,362
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

There is no way that one bus driver could have driven the same bus continuously from Idaho to Arizona. Federal law would prohibit it. See more »

Quotes

Thomas Builds-the-Fire: How do we forgive our fathers? Maybe in a dream. Do we forgive our fathers for leaving us too often, or forever, when we were little? Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage, or making us nervous because there never seemed to be any rage there at all? Do we forgive our fathers for marrying, or not marrying, our mothers? Or divorcing, or not divorcing, our mothers? And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness? Shall we forgive them for pushing, or leaning? For shutting ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Support HONOR/EARTH campaign. Support American Indian College Fund. Contributions from the profits of this film will be made to each of these organizations. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Joe Dirt (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Her Song
Music and Lyrics by André L. Picard Jr.
Performed by André L. Picard Jr. and John Sirois
See more »

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User Reviews

Deep, affirming film
21 February 1999 | by KurzbeinSee all my reviews

Despite Leonard Maltin's comment that Smoke Signals is "basically unexciting film-making," I found this movie deeply spiritual without being heavy-handed. The aspect of the film that captured my interest and has stayed with me is the story-telling of Thomas. The stories mingle simple, real-life recollections with fantasy, and the voice of Thomas subtly gives the movie a transcendent quality. Thomas is a modern-day medicine man, grounded in reality yet open to possibilities. He marvels at the beauty of the creation that surrounds him and dreams of what new wonders the future might bring. He is hope.

I intend to view this film many more times. It deals with tragedy without being tragic. It recognizes the sometimes brutal facts of reality without allowing brutality to define. It reveals sadness but not as an end in and of itself. It asks questions but leaves the answers to the viewer. And it affirms that there are answers and hope.


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