Broken Arrow

Western | English | 93 minutes


“BROKEN ARROW is a landmark film produced by a courageous studio that was one of the first to sympathetically depict the plight of the American Indian. The momentum was halted temporarily as the McCarthy era began and actors and directors who had Communist ties years ago were blacklisted. Oscar-nominee and blacklisted screenwriter Albert Maltz had to use the pseudonym Michael Blankfort in order to work on the film.

Tom Jeffords, a gold prospector, finds a wounded 14-year-old Apache boy, close to death, with buckshot wounds in his back. Jeffords treats the wounds and saves the boy’s life. The incident enforces Jeffords’ feeling that the Whites and the Indians must reach a peace agreement. Jeffords learns the Apache language and customs and heads for a risky meeting with Cochise, the Apache chief. Jeffords convinces  Cochise to allow the mail couriers to pass without incident. Jeffords also meets a young Apache woman, Sonseeahray. They fall in love and have an Apache wedding. One day, when Cochise and Jeffords ride in a canyon looking for horse thieves, they are ambushed by an Apache-hating ruffian. Sonseeahray is killed;  Jeffords is bereft. Jeffords is determined to take revenge but is dissuaded by Cochise. Jeffords rides off realizing that peace is going to be incredibly elusive. But as Jeffords visits Apaches in the mountains, “he always feels that his wife is with him.”   
James Stewart (Tom Jeffords) / Jeff Chandler (Cochise) / Debra Paget (Sonseeahray)
Why Stream This Film?
The Chronicle of the Cinema praised  BROKEN ARROW as follows: “Based on verifiable fact, it faithfully evokes the historical relationship between Cochise and Jeffords, marking a historical rehabilitation of American Indians in the cinema.” 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 89%
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jeff Chandler); Best Screenplay (Albert Maltz); Best Cinematography (Ernest Palmer)
  • Golden Globes: Winner. Best Film Promoting International Understanding
  • Writers Guild ofAmerica: Winner, Best Written American Western (Albert Maltz)
Arizona is the background for this beautifully photographed story dealing with a conflict with Apaches in the 1870s. This superb western is one of the earliest to treat the problems of Indians seriously and sympathetically.
TV GUIDE staff


Those who prefer to get their history from movies should know that BROKEN ARROW carries, among other things, the honor of being a Hollywood film that gets its central facts right. Under the direction of Delmer Daves, James Stewart is note-perfect as Jeffords, his raw earnestness plowing right over any possible condescension towards the audience and the Indians.
Jim Tudor

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