A mountain man who wishes to live the life of a hermit becomes the unwilling object of a long vendetta by Indians when he proves to be the match of their warriors in one-to-one combat on the early frontier.
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
This is one of my all time favorite movies and evokes so much emotion from my childhood. My father and I have watched this movie at least 10 times together and it never gets boring. It reminds me of my days when we used to go on hikes in the woods and we would sing the theme song with me in my little coonskin (it's fake for all you animal lovers) cap. I just cannot get enough of this movie. It grows on my every time I watch it. It is one of if not the best Robert Redford movie ever. He does a fantastic job in this movie. The scenery is beautiful and makes me wish I was there in that unspoiled area. The dialogue, though there is very little compared to other movies, is brilliant. The old adage quality not quantity fits this movie to a tee. There are numerous one liners that have been incorporated into my everday vocabulary. "You cook good rabbit pilgrim." "....the Rocky Mountains are the marrow of the world..." "Watch your top notch." "Watch Yur'n." I could go on and on. Each character is colorful in it's own distinct way, making even the most insignificant ones unforgettable. The theme music is both haunting and beautiful and I've been looking to buy or download the soundtrack so if anyone knows where I could send me an e-mail. Not only does this movie have great characters,acting, dialogue, music, and scenery, but it also is filled with action and has several interjections of humor. I feel as though this is one of the greatest movies of all time and the special moments you share with your family watching it, just make this movie even better.
A film which is glibly categorized as a `western' but goes somewhat deeper than that. The Pollack/Redford combination works well, and the photography of those magnificent mountains of Utah is spectacular. With all that beautiful scenery in Montana, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, I am surprised that the US government never does very much for saving it and cleaning up all that contamination ……..
Thirty years on and after several viewings, I find this story grows on you, like the aging of fine wine in oak casks, such that another recent viewing gave me as much – if not more – pleasure. Precisely because it is not the standard `western' formula. One gets a little tired of John Wayne getting saddle-sore, killing indians and wooing women; at times watching `Jeremiah Johnson' I cannot help comparing a little with `Dances with Wolves' (qv), not because of any story similarity but more from certain situations being played out.
Robert Redford has given us numerous films in which his characterization is pretty good in general, but in this film I rather fancy he was inspired, even to the point of throwing off that silly category so beloved of those suffering Hollywooditis. Most notable in `The Sting' (qv), `All the President's Men', `Out of Africa', and `A River Runs Through it', without forgetting his excellent directing of `Ordinary People', one of the best true-life dramas I have seen.
`Jeremiah Johnson' is now one of the classics of the genre and even of cinema as a whole: always worth another viewing.
Jeremiah Johnson is NOT a great narrative, instead it is a beautiful foray into the mind of the frontier. Rather than simply tell a story about men who live precarious existences on the far-flung frontiers of human habitation, it tries to show us what those men were like. This is not a perfect film, it has flaws... but it is a beautiful film and one that should be seen.
Perhaps Robert Redford was not the perfect choice to play Jeremiah, perhaps his soft good-looks do not complement what we would like to see in this semi-mythic character, perhaps he undermines just a tad of our credibility... but irregardless, he comes to embody Johnson. I find his gradual transformation from inexperienced explorer into savage force of nature to be entirely beleivable, if perhaps a bit strained.
Ultimately, the real problem lies in the film's narrative structure... it tends to meander too much and to never resolve itself in a meaningful manner. The story turns violent, but we don't really get a sense of why this violence is significant, or germaine to the plot. There are too many false endings, and the movie seems to end abruptly and without real closure.
However, even with all of these problems in mind, Jeremiah Johnson is an experience. It may not be a film that you want to rent with a bunch of friends, but rather a film to watch by yourself, when you are in sort of a contemplative mood. This is a film to relax to, to allow to happen rather than to actively engage it. There are a lot of things to think about and to reflect on, and the film is truly beautiful to watch. This may not be a film that you will watch often, but it is a film that you will value having watched.
* Based upon a real-life trapper named John Johnston, nicknamed "Crow Killer" and "Liver Eater Johnston" for his penchant for cutting out and eating the livers of Crow Indians he had killed (several Crows had murdered his wife and he swore vengeance against the entire tribe).
* The Italian release title of the film was called "Red Crow You Will Not Have My Scalp".
* Trapper John Johnston's body was buried in the Veteran's Cemetery in Los Angeles. After the movie came out, Johnston's body was reburied at Old Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming. Robert Redford was a pallbearer in the reburial ceremony attended by 2,000 people.
* "Fort Hawley" mentioned twice in the movie was the actual historical Fort Hall, a well-known trading post established in 1834 along the Snake River in present-day southern Idaho.