Starring one of my all time favourite actors, James Stewart, “Broken Arrow” is the story of gold prospector Tom Jeffords (Stewart) who takes it upon himself to bring peace between American Settlers and Apache Indians, led by Cochise (Jeff Chandler). Against all odds, the two become like brothers as Cochise soon begins to understand the need for peace. The film was considered ground-breaking upon its release, due to its unique, humane portrayal of the Apache.
Well, there’s not too much to say except that, whilst not the best Western ever made, “Broken Arrow” is a charming, engaging film. James Stewart is perfect as Jeffords, confidently projecting bravery and determination as well as an annoyance at the ignorant, prejudiced views of the American townspeople; as with most of his other films, he is the everyman who we are constantly supporting. In addition, Jeff Chandler is great as Cochise, gradually transitioning from being angry and prejudiced against the settlers to understanding the need for peace and becoming a symbol of hope and wisdom. Finally, there is wonderful chemistry between Stewart and Debra Paget, who plays the young Sonseeahray (even with a 26 year age gap!)
It is admirable how the themes of this movie are still relevant in this day and age; the film deals with issues of prejudice, racism and hate and seeing these themes played out give the film that timeless quality.
The action scenes are very well executed and the cinematography is suitably beautiful.
Sometimes charming and heart warming, sometimes tense and shocking, “Broken Arrow” is a very well acted, thought-provoking film with great characters and an important message of peace.
★ ★ ★ ★