Geronimo: An American Legend (1993)

PG-13 | 115 mins | Biography, Drama, Western | 10 December 1993

Directors:

Walter Hill, Allan Graf

Producers:

Walter Hill, Neil Canton

Cinematographer:

Lloyd Ahern

Production Designer:

Joe Alves

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures
Full page view
HISTORY

The film contains intermittent voice-over narration by Matt Damon as his character, “Lt. Britton Davis.”
       Although a 27 Oct 1992 HR production chart indicated that Columbia Pictures planned to begin filming Geronimo in Feb 1993, preproduction was not complete until many months later, when the 13 Apr 1993 HR announced the casting of Robert Duvall. A 19 Apr 1993 HR item reported that Gene Hackman and Barry Gray had joined the project as “Brig. Gen. George Crook” and Lt. Britton Davis, before Gray was replaced by up-and-coming actor Matt Damon.
       Principal photography began on 3 May 1993, according to the 16 Jul 1993 Var. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that filming took place over twelve weeks in the canyons surrounding Moab, UT, with some additional footage shot on a Sony Pictures Studios soundstage in Culver City, CA. A 28 Apr 1993 HR article also included Grand County, Kane County, and Juab County’s Little Sahara among the Utah locations. Although Moab Film Commission director Betty Stanton claimed Geronimo was the most ambitious film to shoot in the area, the decision to use public land provoked ire from many local environmentalists when the U.S. Department of the Interior “bypassed” the standard thirty-day “public comment” period, which allows local residents to appeal a film’s permit approval. According to location manager Greg Lazzaro, this was done to accommodate the shooting schedule. Various contemporary sources estimated budgets ranging from $32 million to $35 million.
       Geronimo reportedly featured more than 200 Native American actors throughout the Southwestern U.S., while the “6th Cavalry” unit comprised roughly 100 ... More Less

The film contains intermittent voice-over narration by Matt Damon as his character, “Lt. Britton Davis.”
       Although a 27 Oct 1992 HR production chart indicated that Columbia Pictures planned to begin filming Geronimo in Feb 1993, preproduction was not complete until many months later, when the 13 Apr 1993 HR announced the casting of Robert Duvall. A 19 Apr 1993 HR item reported that Gene Hackman and Barry Gray had joined the project as “Brig. Gen. George Crook” and Lt. Britton Davis, before Gray was replaced by up-and-coming actor Matt Damon.
       Principal photography began on 3 May 1993, according to the 16 Jul 1993 Var. Production notes in AMPAS library files state that filming took place over twelve weeks in the canyons surrounding Moab, UT, with some additional footage shot on a Sony Pictures Studios soundstage in Culver City, CA. A 28 Apr 1993 HR article also included Grand County, Kane County, and Juab County’s Little Sahara among the Utah locations. Although Moab Film Commission director Betty Stanton claimed Geronimo was the most ambitious film to shoot in the area, the decision to use public land provoked ire from many local environmentalists when the U.S. Department of the Interior “bypassed” the standard thirty-day “public comment” period, which allows local residents to appeal a film’s permit approval. According to location manager Greg Lazzaro, this was done to accommodate the shooting schedule. Various contemporary sources estimated budgets ranging from $32 million to $35 million.
       Geronimo reportedly featured more than 200 Native American actors throughout the Southwestern U.S., while the “6th Cavalry” unit comprised roughly 100 cavalrymen from historic re-enactment groups around the country. The 13 Dec 1993 issue of Newsweek reported that once production concluded, many of the Native American actors immediately moved to Arizona to begin work on a TNT (Turner Network Television) television movie, also titled Geronimo.
       On 12 Oct 1993, DV announced that Columbia planned to move up the release date from 17 Dec 1993 to 10 Dec 1993, hoping to avoid competition with the Hollywood Pictures Western, Tombstone (see entry). The 5 Nov 1993 LAT indicated that the Columbia feature film had been re-titled Geronimo: An American Legend, presumably to avoid confusion with the TNT film, which was scheduled to air on 5 Dec 1993.
       Reviews were mixed, and the 14 Dec 1993 DV reported that the picture opened in fourth place at the box-office, taking in a three-day total of $4,018,452.
       End credits state: "Filmed at Sony Pictures Studios, Culver City, California, and Moab, Utah"; and, “Special Thanks to: Native American Indians in film; Bureau of Land Management; Utah Film Commission; Leigh Von Der Esch; Moab Film Commission, Bette Stanton, Don Holyoak; Jack T. Collis; Gene Autry Western Museum; John Langellier, PhD.” A disclaimer also reads: "This story is based upon actual events. However, some of the characters and incidents portrayed herein are fictitious, and any similarity to the name, character, or history of any person, living or dead, or any actual event is entirely coincidental and unintentional." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
13 Apr 1993.
---
Daily Variety
12 Oct 1993.
---
Daily Variety
14 Dec 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Oct 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1993
p. 8, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Dec 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Nov 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Dec 1993
Calendar, p. 8.
New York Times
10 Dec 1993
Section C, p. 21.
Newsweek
13 Dec 1993.
---
Variety
16 Jul 1993.
---
Variety
13 Dec 1993
pp. 36-37.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
A Walter Hill - Neil Canton Production
A Walter Hill Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Addl 2d 2d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Key grip
2d grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Grip
Video assist
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Chief lighting tech
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Apprentice film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
Const foreman
Leadman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Greensman
Paint foreman
Plaster foreman
Asst set dec, 2d unit
Prop master, 2d unit
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus
SOUND
Prod mixer
Boom op
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley artist
Foley artist
ADR group
Sd ed services by
Culver City, California
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff
Spec eff
Spec eff, 2d unit
Spec eff, 2d unit
Opticals by
Title des, Hollywood Title Services
DANCE
MAKEUP
Key makeup
Key hairstylist
Hairstylist
Hairstylist
Makeup, 2d unit
Makeup, 2d unit
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod supv
Prod coord
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Native American consultant
Native American consultant
Apache dialect supv
Asst to Mr. Hill
Asst to Mr. Hill
Asst to Mr. Canton
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr (Moab)
Head wrangler
Wrangler gang boss
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Transportation co-capt
Craft service
Unit pub
Casting asst
First aid
Loc casting asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst, 2d unit
Set prod asst, 2d unit
Set prod asst, 2d unit
Cavalry coord
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Deal Gently With Thy Servants, Lord," performed by The Boston Camerata, The Schola Cantorum of Boston, Joel Cohen, Director, Frederick Jodry, Director, courtesy of Erato Disques S.A., by arrangement with Warner Special Products
Period Brass Band Music performed by The American Brass Band
Shaped Note Music arranged, orchestrated and conducted by George Clinton.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Geronimo
Release Date:
10 December 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 10 December 1993
Production Date:
began 3 May 1993
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
29 December 1993
Copyright Number:
PA688220
Physical Properties:
Sound
SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in selected theatres; Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
115
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
32367
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1886, U.S. Brigadier General George Crook leads a march against the Chiricahua Apaches, among the last of the Southwestern Native American tribes to resist the U.S. government’s reservation system. Eventually, the Apaches surrender, including guerilla resistance leader Goyakla, also known as “Geronimo.” Crook sends First Lieutenant Charles Gatewood and the newly recruited Second Lieutenant Britton Davis to collect Geronimo at the Mexican border. As they pitch a tent and wait, an Apache medicine man joins them, and Davis learns that Gatewood, the soft-spoken son of a Confederate veteran, possesses a deep understanding of the Apache people. In the morning, Geronimo approaches the camp and agrees to be escorted to meet Crook in the California settlement of San Carlos. The second night of their journey, they stop at the Overland Way Station, where City Marshal Joe Hawkins orders Geronimo’s arrest, citing “murder of white citizens, horse thievery, and hostile Indianism.” Geronimo draws his gun and Hawkins leaves, vowing, “Justice will be served.” As they continue through the desert, evading a band of outlaws near Tombstone, Arizona, Geronimo grows to trust Gatewood. In San Carlos, Crook accepts Geronimo’s surrender, but clearly respects the Apache’s reputation as a great warrior. When the Chiricahua tribe is relocated to the corn farming reservation of Turkey Creek, Geronimo requests that Davis personally oversee the land. Six weeks later, Gatewood visits the reservation and discovers that the land is not big or fertile enough to sustain the overcrowded population. Gatewood asks Geronimo about rumors that the Apache are planning another uprising under the leadership of a medicine man called “The Dreamer.” Hoping to squash potential rebellion, Crook sends soldiers to arrest the Dreamer, and a ... +


In 1886, U.S. Brigadier General George Crook leads a march against the Chiricahua Apaches, among the last of the Southwestern Native American tribes to resist the U.S. government’s reservation system. Eventually, the Apaches surrender, including guerilla resistance leader Goyakla, also known as “Geronimo.” Crook sends First Lieutenant Charles Gatewood and the newly recruited Second Lieutenant Britton Davis to collect Geronimo at the Mexican border. As they pitch a tent and wait, an Apache medicine man joins them, and Davis learns that Gatewood, the soft-spoken son of a Confederate veteran, possesses a deep understanding of the Apache people. In the morning, Geronimo approaches the camp and agrees to be escorted to meet Crook in the California settlement of San Carlos. The second night of their journey, they stop at the Overland Way Station, where City Marshal Joe Hawkins orders Geronimo’s arrest, citing “murder of white citizens, horse thievery, and hostile Indianism.” Geronimo draws his gun and Hawkins leaves, vowing, “Justice will be served.” As they continue through the desert, evading a band of outlaws near Tombstone, Arizona, Geronimo grows to trust Gatewood. In San Carlos, Crook accepts Geronimo’s surrender, but clearly respects the Apache’s reputation as a great warrior. When the Chiricahua tribe is relocated to the corn farming reservation of Turkey Creek, Geronimo requests that Davis personally oversee the land. Six weeks later, Gatewood visits the reservation and discovers that the land is not big or fertile enough to sustain the overcrowded population. Gatewood asks Geronimo about rumors that the Apache are planning another uprising under the leadership of a medicine man called “The Dreamer.” Hoping to squash potential rebellion, Crook sends soldiers to arrest the Dreamer, and a fight breaks out, resulting in several fatalities. Geronimo flees Turkey Creek, accompanied by almost half of the reservation. As the Chiricahua move east, they pillage white settlements established on stolen Apache land. Gatewood and Davis pursue with the help of Army Apache scout Sergeant Dutchy. The men are soon joined by Crook’s experienced friend, “Apache hunter” Al Sieber, and eventually catch up with Geronimo in Mexico. As punishment for Geronimo’s flight, Crook orders the Chiricahua relocate to Florida, threatening war if they do not comply. Those who respect Crook consent, but Geronimo and a small band of followers break their word and escape again. Humiliated by the betrayal, Crook resigns from his role as commander and is replaced by Brigadier General Nelson Miles. Determined to use stricter methods to track down Geronimo, Miles dismisses Gatewood and Davis in favor of his own men. Without the help of Apache scouts, however, Geronimo vanishes in the mountains of Mexico. After five months, Miles decides to use Gatewood’s somewhat friendly relationship with Geronimo to his advantage, and assigns the lieutenant to hunt the Apache himself. Miles orders Gatewood to offer a deal: the Chiricahua will be sentenced to two years in a Florida prison with the promise of land ownership when they return. Although he agrees to the assignment, Gatewood doubts the government’s intent to keep its word. Gatewood recruits Davis, an Apache scout named Chato, and Sieber, who emerges from retirement in Tucson. After four weeks of searching across Mexico, they encounter a village of Yaqui Indians slaughtered by a group of Texas bounty hunters. Disgusted, the men follow the killers to a cantina and shoot them. Sieber is injured in the crossfire, and dies from his wounds. When the remaining soldiers reach a steep bluff near Geronimo’s camp, Gatewood and Chato leave Davis behind to stay with their supplies. At the top of the mountain, Geronimo reveals how he has been seeking revenge for his wife and daughters, who were killed by Mexicans. Offering a crucifix pendant in his outstretched hand, Gatewood implores Geronimo to end the fighting. On September 4, 1886, Geronimo and his thirty-four followers surrender to Gen. Miles. Despite his success, Gatewood is transferred to a remote garrison in Wyoming, while all Chiricahua Army scouts are arrested and sent to prison in Florida. Ashamed of the Army’s dishonesty, Davis resigns, but remains haunted by the land and lives destroyed by the U.S. government. On a train headed east, Geronimo laments that the time of his people has ended. Despite its promise, the federal government never lets him return home, and twenty-two years later, Geronimo dies a prisoner of war. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.