The Indian Runner

Synopsis: An intensely sad film about two brothers who cannot overcome their opposite perceptions of life. One brother sees and feels bad in everyone and everything, subsequently he is violent, antisocial and unable to appreciate or enjoy the good things which his brother desperately tries to point out to him. Frank understands the atrocities of life as a big picture; Joe does not. Joe is content to enjoy smaller pleasures: children, family, routine. Joe mistakenly believes he can straighten his little brother out and convince him that life is good. Frank is a cursed man. He is cut between his love for his brother and his repulsion at self-indulgent contentment. The result is a painful story of heartbreak, heartache, disappointment, despair, and the tragic side of love.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Sean Penn
Production: MGM
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
127 min

The Indian knew that deer

moved in circles.

That if the hunter moved with skill...

...he could run the swift deer

into submission.

Its hooves would bleed,

and the animal stumble.

The Indian was to kneel

above his dying prey...

...putting his mouth

to that of the deer...

...stealing its last breath.

While he had earned

the swiftness of the beast... its death, he was struck

by its peace and stillness.

And by his own.

I tried telling myself

I'd done my job...

...defended my life.

I didn't believe me.

You killed my boy, Joe Roberts!

You killed my baby boy!

This is how houses catch fire.

Murderers' houses! Murderer!

- Murderer!

- Mrs. Baker, this won't help.

He killed my baby.

Robert, you and Jim want to get

Mr. Baker there? I'm sorry.

My brother Frank was due back

from Vietnam within the week.

We hadn't seen each other

since I'd lost the farm in '65...

...and took the uniform job

to make ends meet.

In one of his letters,

he said his comrades...

...were disturbed

by the killing they'd seen.

He wrote:

"Guys over here...

...expect their hair

to stay dry in the rain."


Your mom called.

Yeah? What's happening?

First, the plane

was gonna be delayed in Hawaii...

...then it was on time.

Now she says 9:
30, Tuesday. For sure.

It's gotta go through Fort Dix.

- Raffael asleep?

- Yes, babe.

You worried about today?

Or about Frank coming home?

No, no, no. This kid today...

- His parents came in making threats.

- What threats?


When they pulled the father outside,

he started singing.

- Don't move!

- Hey, hey, it's me!

Sh*t! You scared the hell

out of me! Come here.

- I almost killed you.

- He's got you trained.

- You're early.

- I didn't wanna hang around Fort Dix.

Joe will be so happy to see you!

Joe is so happy to see you.

Come on, baby. Come on.

Come on, a little bit. A little bit.

Share with your Uncle Frankie.

I'm gonna take Frank over

to the folks. I'll be back in a bit.

- You be here?

- Yeah, I've got two lessons later.

See you.

Welcome home, Frank.


Your uncle is a barnyard dog.

Well, town looks same-same.

So you're a dad, man. How's that?



He's amazing.

- What?

- Just looking at you.

It feels kind of strange

riding upfront in the Man's car.

No handcuffs, my own brother driving.


Remember we used to plug

cop cars with snowballs?

Pull over. Pull over.

Hey, don't you do that!

Don't you do that!

He did it.

Hey, get the cop.

King of the mountain!

Need an army to fight me, huh?

What are you doing?

Listen, I just wanted

to see you guys... the baby and all.

I ain't gonna see Mom and Pop.

What are you talking about?


You caught me off balance.

What are you saying?


Let's call it, "See you later."

- I came to see you, brother man.

- What about mom and dad?

- What about them?

- You'll break their hearts.

You're the one

who always takes sh*t personal.

If anything, they'll be relieved.

You'll see.

Where you going?

You got a place to stay?

- You got money?

- I took 40 bucks from your wallet.

It's in the glove box.

I don't want you to go.

This whole town's talking about you.

- Good job, boy.

- Thanks.

If I could figure out

the difference...

...between what gets you a kiss

on the ass and me locked up...

I used to know my brother

like I knew I'd always be a farmer.

But drifting off on the train

that day was a stranger.

He looked like a hero.

I felt closeness with that

rough-and-tumble kid...

...I knew before

high school distractions.

Then later my wife and farm

occupied our time together.

In the last few years

before going overseas...

...Frank had become branded

the hell-raiser of town.

That he'd come to no good.

Maybe leaving suddenly was the only

mercy he knew for the grief he'd caused.

As for my parents, Frankie was right.

They would not take it personally.

They say some of the boys

coming back...

...are coming back real confused.

Frank left confused.

Maybe it'll straighten him out.

That's what Randall said.

Now my boy's

comparing his mama to a moron.

It wasn't a comparison, Mom.

He's a very restless boy,

that Frankie.

That's what got him into trouble.

That's why he left.

I thought he just hated cops.

Don't say that.

Listen to your mama.

You are a good man. You hear me?

You are a good man.

It don't mean the time won't come

when you have to kill.

Can't regret it.

If it hadn't been him, it might

have been my son. No, sir. No, sir.

Don't you regret it.

You just say the Serenity Prayer

and get on with it.

We didn't see or hear from Frank

for a good six months...

...when our lives took a turn.

- Do you want anything?

- No, we're fine. Thank you.

She sure could make good apple pie.

Do you need anything?

No, thanks, Maria.


You know, Joe... didn't sit right with me

when you married a Mexican.

When I look at her today...

...she's beautiful.

She's a beautiful and good woman.

Boy, was I wrong. I was dead wrong.

I'm gonna check the Teletype

at the station.

- He's probably in the system.

- He is.

He sent out a card a month ago.

But I didn't want her to know.

He's got 24 more days.

Well, 23 and a wake-up.

Oh, yeah. I've been counting.

- Where is he?

- Columbus.

Now, he didn't send the card...

...but a girl named Dorothy.

"Dear Mr. And Mrs. Roberts...

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Sean Penn

Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) is an American actor and filmmaker. He has won two Academy Awards, for his roles in the mystery drama Mystic River (2003) and the biopic Milk (2008). Penn began his acting career in television with a brief appearance in episode 112 of Little House on the Prairie (December 4, 1974), directed by his father Leo Penn. Following his film debut in the drama Taps (1981) and a diverse range of film roles in the 1980s, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Penn garnered critical attention for his roles in the crime dramas At Close Range (1986), State of Grace (1990), and Carlito's Way (1993). He became known as a prominent leading actor with the drama Dead Man Walking (1995), for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination and the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Penn received another two Oscar nominations for Woody Allen's comedy-drama Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and the drama I Am Sam (2001), before winning his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 for Mystic River and a second one in 2008 for Milk. He has also won a Best Actor Award of the Cannes Film Festival for the Nick Cassavetes-directed She's So Lovely (1997), and two Best Actor Awards at the Venice Film Festival for the indie film Hurlyburly (1998) and the drama 21 Grams (2003). Penn made his feature film directorial debut with The Indian Runner (1991), followed by the drama film The Crossing Guard (1995) and the mystery film The Pledge (2001). Penn directed one of the 11 segments of 11'09"01 September 11 (2002), a compilation film made in response to the September 11 attacks. His fourth feature film, the biographical drama survival movie Into the Wild (2007), garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations. In addition to his film work, Penn engages in political and social activism, including his criticism of the George W. Bush administration, his contact with the Presidents of Cuba and Venezuela, and his humanitarian work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Indian Runner" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Apr. 2024. <>.

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