|Michael Mann Director||previously directed L.A. Takedown|
Last of the Mohicans is an epic adventure film set in 1757 and follows Daniel Day-Lewis's character Hawkeye, as he and his adoptive family try to live their way during the French and Indian war. But they're soon dragged into the war to protect the daughter of a British Colonel.
The original cut of the film came in at around 3.5 hours leading to the studio to demand that Michael Mann cut down the running time as they thought the average movie goer would not sit through a film that long. As a result of the cutting almost entire performances were cut out, eg Pete Postlethwaite, and most of the sub plot between Uncas and Alice.
You have done everything you can. Save yourself. If the worst happens and only one of us survives, something of the other does too.
|James Fenimore Cooper||Novel|
|John L. Balderston||Adaptation|
|Philip Dunne||1936 Screenplay|
|Madeleine Stowe||Cora Munro|
|Jodhi May||Alice Munro|
|Steven Waddington||Maj. Duncan Heyward|
|Maurice Roëves||Col. Edmund Munro|
|Patrice Chéreau||Gen Montcalm|
|Edward Blatchford||Jack Winthrop|
|See Full Credits|
The Last of the Mohicans is an epic historical adventure film set in 1757 based on the novel of the same name by
James Fenimore Cooper. The film was made in 1992 by Michael Mann and was released to great critical acclaim.
The American Colonies
It is the third year of war between Britain and France for possession of the continent.
Three men, the last of a vanishing people, are on the frontier west of the Hudson River.
The film opens on our heroes' hunt in the deep wilderness of the then-North American colonies. We meet three natives at first checking tracks and following something, as time moves on they begin to pick up speed and are soon running
through the trees and undergrowth. One of the three natives removes his shirt while running and it is revealed that he is not a native but a white man. As they run he begins loading a musket and we are shown a deer running through the forest. The three hunters have stopped and the white man is aiming down his musket and then fires. A deafening shot rings out and the deer falls. The hunters then perform a ritual over their kill and begin skinning and cutting up the animal.
The three hunters are next seen arriving at a cabin deep in the woods. Here we meet John Cameron, his family, and their guest Jack Winthrop who come out of the cabin and greet the hunters. They are Chingachgook the father, his son Uncas and Hawkeye his adopted son. They rest at the cabin and hear the news of the current war with the French and how the local militia is being called up to fight the French. Jack is there
to recruit the locals if they are willing to go to war. The next day there is a meeting with the British army representative who is asking for everyone to join the fight. John Cameron and Hawkeye ask why they should go and fight and who will defend their homes while they are gone. There is tension between the local farmers and the officer and the meeting ends with Jack going to go to Albany to get terms from the general that the militia can leave to defend their homes if necessary. John states that any man who goes their family is welcome to stay with him for protection. Our heroes are not interested and Hawkeye tells the officer as much.
The next scene involves a lovely reflected bridge over a river as a coach and horses cross. Once over the bridge the coach arrives at a British army building and we meet Major Duncan Hayward as he enters the army HQ to report to General Webb and receive his orders. Once inside, Jack is there arguing with General Webb's adjutant stating that with
out the ability to protect their homes the militia will not be going to the front. The adjutant becomes confrontational at this and Webb steps in and agrees to Jack's conditions. As Jack leaves Duncan makes his report and is ordered to Fort William Henry on the frontier and the guide Magua will show him the way there. Duncan asks about Colonel Munro's daughters whereabouts as he is to escort them to the fort and their father. Duncan leaves to find them and tells Magua they will leave early the next day.
Cora Munro is waiting at a cider press when Duncan arrives and they share small talk. Later at a picnic table Cora is talking to Duncan and explaining that that her feelings do not go beyond friendship. Not to be refused Duncan presses the issue and it becomes apparent he has asked her to marry him. Using the logic that if she is undecided then her father and friends, meaning himself, should decide for her. The conversation is cut short when Cora's sister Alice arrives and they begin discussing the journey they are about to undertake to the fort.
Duncan, Cora, Alice and a detachment of soldiers led by Magua head off into the wilderness for the trek to the fort and Colonel Munro. While on the road the two sisters seem to be showing signs of the traveling being hard on them and Duncan asks Magua to stop to rest. Magua speaks in his own language giving insight that he may not be
what he seems. While walking back down the line of troops Magua attacks one with his tomahawk and shoots the next in line. Suddenly shots ring out as the soldiers are ambushed. As the British fire a volley into the woods Indians rush the soldiers and begin slaughtering them at close quarters. With all looking lost, Duncan continues to fight. Suddenly more shots ring out and the attackers are now falling. Hawkeye and his family appear to the rescue. Hawkeye stops Magua from shooting Cora and the ambush is foiled but all the soldiers are already dead and Magua escapes.
Survivors Duncan, Cora and Alice agree to travel with Hawkeye and his family to the fort and they set off. Hawkeye discusses Magua's intention to kill Cora which Duncan brushes off as preposterous, leading to tension between the two. They travel and come across a burned cabin, which belonged to John Cameron and there are bodies laying around. They move on and spend the night in a burial ground to stop any pursuit. Here Hawkeye explains to Cora that the dead were his friends and that moving them would have been a sign they had been there. They arrive at the fort at night to find a battle raging as it becomes clear the fort is under siege by the French.
Once inside the fort Colonel Munro explains that the fort will soon fall and asks where are the reinforcements he requested. Duncan explains no message arrived and that General Webb does not know of the siege. Through the course of the conversation Munro learns that Webb is closer than he thought and they arrange to send a runner to seek
the help they need. While preparing to cover the courier Hawkeye tells Jack Winthrop and the other militia of John Cameron's burned cabin and they agree to go to Munro to leave the fort and protect their homes. The courier gets away and the milita go to talk to Munro. After making their case Munro will not release the militia as Duncan disagrees with Hawkeye as to the nature of the attack on the Cameron's cabin. Cora is not happy with Duncan and goes to Hawkeye after the meeting. They spend the night together and most of the militia desert.
The next day Hawkeye is arrested and locked up for encouraging the militia to desert. Cora goes to her father to plead
Hawkeye's case but to no success. Meanwhile the French attack has blown a hole in the wall of the fort and terms are offered to the British. A meeting takes place between the Munro and the French General where it is agreed the British will leave the fort and go home. That night Magua is not happy with the peace between the two sides and explains that he has history with Munro and he blames him for the loss of his old life and family and wants revenge. Here they agree that once the British have left the fort Magua and his Indians will attack them on the march back to British lines.
The British leave the fort and a long line of troops march into the forest. Hawkeye is toward the rear of the line, still in chains. Chingachgook and Uncas are in the line with him on either side of his guards. Sometime after leaving the fort, the
column is deep in the woods and noises start to be heard around and single Indians begin to strike, picking off single soldiers. A cry goes up and the column halts. There is another shout and the British are attack on all sides. Indians start running in for close quarters combat and begin taking the soldiers apart. As the battle progresses it goes against the British and Munro is pinned below his horse. Magua appears and informs him he will kill his children, then cuts out his heart and eats it as he dies.
Hawkeye is now loose and he and his family start fighting their way down the line so as to rescue Cora and Alice, who are now in danger. They kill several Indians while running and with Cora in sight, Hawkeye sees her get knocked down and saves her just as she is about to die. They break away from the
battle and arrive at canoes and make their way out onto the the lake. Here they meet Duncan and a few other survivors in another canoe. They see they are being pursued and head down river through rapids and come to a waterfall. They abandon the canoes and take refuge in a cave under the waterfall in the hope the Indians will pass them by. When they learn they have not passed by, Hawkeye and his family with Cora's blessing jump into the water and swear they will find them. Cora, Alice and Duncan are then captured and led off.
Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas give pursuit and catch up to Magua as they reach a Huron village. As Magua goes before the great sachem, Hawkeye enters the village in peace to plead his case. The sachem decides that Magua will take
Alice with him as a slave, Duncan will go back the British as a show of peace and Cora will be burned for Magua's dead children. After arguing more Hawkeye has Duncan translate that they burn Hawkeye instead of Cora. Duncan translates Hawkeye's words exactly, sacrificing himself for the good of Hawkeye and Alice. The Huron take Duncan and burn him leaving Cora to go with Hawkeye. With Duncan beginning to burn Alice leaves with Magua, seeing this Uncas rushes off to stop them. When Hawkeye reaches his father he shoots Duncan to stop his suffering. They all then rush to help Uncas.
With Magua and his Indians heading along a mountain pass Uncas attacks and fights
Magua. Magua is a better warrior and kills him and pushes the body from the cliff. Alice, now alone, jumps from the cliff to be with Uncas. Chingachgook, enraged after seeing his son dead, rips his way through the Indians to Magua while Hawkeye is covering him. He reaches Magua and beats him in combat killing him.
With Uncas and Alice avenged Hawkeye, Cora and Chingachgook say prayers for them on the hillside and stand looking over the land, looking to the future as Chingachgook realizes he is the last of the Mohicans.
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