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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Czech, Greek, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Bulgarian
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 4 Cast/crew biographies


Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 110 mins . M15+ . PAL


This is a different western. With plenty of big action and gunfights and all that cool stuff it looks like any other, but it also has a deep vein of sadness running through it. Geronimo tells the story of the last great Native American Chief to surrender to the newly formed United States. After being betrayed by them (again), he escapes and revolts against the army, sparking a war that sees him go underground before finally giving up for the last time.

"What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world – and lose his soul?"

This historical film is fairly heavy handed in its condemnation of the United States government for their continued betrayal of the Native American peoples, and exposes the lies and underhanded techniques used by the government to imprison the Indians on reservations. It’s a terribly inhumane story of how the Native American people were brutally brought under control by white settlers and how any insurrection was dealt with swiftly and forcefully.

Capable acting in roles is important to any historical drama and the actors each portray their character in the manner they deserve. The story is well narrated by Matt Damon, portraying a man who witnessed these actual events as a youthful soldier in the U.S. Army and a great ensemble cast of veterans and newer faces work well together, bringing this heroic legend to life in a sympathetic and respectful way.

The action is well organised and well choreographed considering the myriad gunfights-on-horses scenes. The brutal truth of viciousness on both sides is never shied away from, rather, focused on at times to bring the point home. This lends the film authenticity and the viewer’s empathy to fully show the complete story.


An enhanced 16:9 transfer enables the 2.35:1 ratio to bring the entire panorama of this film to the screen. The scenery in the Arizona and Mexican deserts is used to maximum advantage, creating a visually impressive film full of amazing locations. For this end, the colour levels are fine although at times we see the ‘brown filter’ removing the blue sky and replacing it with a ‘sandstorm in the distance’ feel. This works in some ways, but other films (set in the world of today) use this filter to create a dirty smog sky and the parallel can be offputting. (See Bad Boys, Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon etc.)

The daylighting is marvellously crisp, bringing the dryness of the desert to the story. Due to so much of this film being shot in broad daylight, the shadows tend to suffer in the few interior or night shots. During the first half of the movie, shadow levels are a greenish blue, but in the final half shadow levels have switched to blue-black. As mentioned though, there are limited interior or night shots, so this little indiscretion is readily overlooked. On the subject of daylight, the skin tones in the film are fantastic in broad light. Interiors tend to make the skin colours look a little muddy and that may be confusing when so many characters' skin tones set the tale.

Generally speaking this film looks very nice. I detected very few film artefacts which is what you want when so many shots are out under blue skies.


The sound is okay on this DVD, although the most annoying aspect is the low voices and loud music. One minute I’m using the remote for volume and the next I’m using it for volume again, though both times for different reasons. This was a bit annoying, though it isn’t uncommon on DVD or, for that matter, in movies.

The music, whilst being louder, is still masterfully written by the amazing Ry Cooder. No stranger to the soundtrack, Cooder’s take on desert life is well recorded and well mixed adding overall depth to the story. Utilising his compositions is a nice touch and it works successfully on all levels (it’s not his fault it’s too loud!)

Sound effects are also well handled, not an easy task with tons of blokes firing willy-nilly and horses splashing in the river. The voiceover is okay for the most part, but leans toward the low, and while not to the degree of the dialogue, is still noticeably soft. That having been said, the narration is well spoken by Matt Damon, lending his character emotion not necessarily conveyed by his onscreen persona. This stands as an encouraging testament to Damon performing in one of his earliest roles.


Basically, there isn’t much. The Theatrical Trailer is fine, although slightly muckier than the film artefact wise and presented in full frame, which is unfortunate. The only other extras are four Filmographies of actors Jason Patric, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman and director Walter Hill. It is disappointing, to say the least, that Wes Studi, who plays the title role, doesn’t rate one (even with his long catalogue of movies) nor does Matt Damon, both narrator and second lead in the film. That makes for a pretty weak collection of extras wherever you’re from.


I really enjoyed this film. It doesn’t run too long, and although the story is a little thin in parts, the veteran stable of actors keep the film’s momentum rolling with their character explorations. The important social message running alongside the main story is interwoven in parts and left for the viewer to assess singly in others. Excellent stuntwork, well-written dialogue and capable acting all contribute to making this film an enjoyable experience for multiple watchings. While having too big a heart for a ‘classic western’, it is nonetheless a monumental movie with several important stories to tell.

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      And I quote...
    "No smoking the peace-pipe in this occasionally bitter epic of the betrayal of Native America."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
    • Speakers:
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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