Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and her younger sister, Alice (Jodhi May), both recent arrivals to the colonies, are being escorted to their father, Colonel Munro (Maurice Roeves), by a troop of British soldiers. Along the way they are ambushed by a Huron war party led by Magua (Wes Studi), a sinister warrior with a blood vendetta against Munro. Munro's soldiers are wiped out and Cora herself is nearly killed by Magua but is saved at the last moment by Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), a white trapper raised by the Mohican tribe. Hawkeye promises to take Cora and her sister safely to their father, and along the way Cora and the intense Hawkeye fall in love. Together they must survive wilderness, war, and the relentless pursuit of Magua. Returning to the theme of a great love threatened by overwhelming circumstances, director Michael Mann hits the mark with an adaptation that captures the essence of the book and its historical details perfectly. Day-Lewis and Stowe are beautiful to watch, delivering moving performances as two people trying to hold on to each other in times of war. In addition, the Native American political activist Russell Means makes an oustanding film debut as Chingachgook, Hawkeye's adopted father and last of the Mohicans.
1992 - Academy Awards - Best Sound - Winner
Main Cast & Crew:
Michael Mann - Director
- Format: DVD
- Run Time: 114
- Color Format: Color
- UPC: 024543010890
- Genre: Adventure
- Rating: R (MPAA) (For violence.)
- Release Date: November 1999
Based on James Fenimore Cooper's novel of the same name, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS is a lush, sweeping epic about the brutal realities of building a new world. Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe are strangers who meet and fall in love amid the chaos of war and the construction of a new country. Stirring and powerful, THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS delivers action, romance, history, and scenic beauty.
Director Michael Mann originally wanted to shoot in upstate New York, the story's original location. Unfortunately, present-day Leatherstocking Country no longer looks like the place James Fenimore Cooper described, and to find the forest canopy and lack of brush they needed, the crew had to go to the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. The cast and crew went through various forms of athletic and outdoors skills training to be able to capture the way of life in the 1790s and to realistically portray the skills of Native Americans and colonial soldiers. Mann was inspired to make the film after viewing the 1936 version. He was inspired not only by the film's Philip Dunne script but also by the original novel. Mann's goal, nevertheless, was to present a more three-dimensional picture of Native American life in this period and to show their contribution to the French-American War effort. Mann admitted that he found Cooper's portrayal of Indian life rather flat and imagined; however, Mann himself has been criticized for similar depictions and for not having the real authority to show an actual picture of Native American life. Mann did not want a single blade of grass harmed by the production, and anyone who didn't comply lost their job. This was Mann's first film since MANHUNTER (1986). Mann had Daniel Day-Lewis and Russell Means attend a grueling hand-to-hand combat training program prior to production. When the film came out on video, its distributor, FoxVideo, launched a campaign against Warner Home Video, whose film UNDER SIEGE was being released at roughly the same time. Warner raised the stakes by using print ads that read "When you can have 'The Best' why settle for 'The Last?'" Warner also distributed a fact sheet comparing the box-office and rental figures for UNDER SIEGE star Steven Seagal versus those of MOHICANS star Daniel Day-Lewis. Most of the controversy was fueled by both companies' decision to retail the films for $94, a high price for videos. THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS is part of a five-book series written by author James Fenimore Cooper called THE LEATHERSTOCKING TALES. Leatherstocking Country refers to the area around Albany, New York, that includes Cooperstown, where the author grew up. In the novel, Hawkeye's American name is Natty Bumppo; it was changed in the film to Nathaniel Poe. Russell Means, who plays Hawkeye's father, Chingachgook, is best known as an Indian activist and a leader of AIM (American Indian Movement), a group that works for the protection of American Indian land and legal rights. His most famous act of "defiance" occurred on February 27, 1973, when he and other AIM members seized the historic site of Wounded Knee, where American Indians were slaughtered by the United States Army in 1890. Director of photography Dante Spinotti won a British Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The original composer, Trevor Jones, completed writing only some of the music for the film before leaving the project. Randy Edelman was brought in to finish the score, with little time to accomplish the task. The score went on to win a Golden Globe.
"...[Daniel Day-Lewis] is riveting..." - 10/29/1992 Rolling Stone, p.76-7
"...Handsome, swashbuckling, peculiarly prescient....[Day-Lewis's] fierce and graceful body language speaks much louder than words..." - 09/25/1992 New York Times, p.C3
"...[Mann's] best movie....A pleasant reminder that you don't need coherence when you've got iconic stars like [Day-Lewis and Stowe]..." -- Rating: A- - 06/21/1996 Entertainment Weekly, pp.72-3
"...Undeniably exciting....Filled from the opening shot with spectacular natural vistas..." - 09/25/1992 Los Angeles Times, p.F1
"...There are just enough historical and political details....Entertaining..." - 09/25/1992 Chicago Sun-Times, p.43
"...One of the decade's best action extravaganzas..." - 11/26/1999 USA Today, p.8E