September Dawn
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Director Christopher Cain takes an up-close look at the devastation wrought by religious fanaticism with this romantic drama set against the backdrop of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre. As a wagon train of westward-bound settlers makes its way across southern Utah, a confrontation with a congregation of Mormons soon leads to deadly consequences for all involved. Jon Voight, Lolita Davidovich, and Jon Gries co-star in a historical drama centered on the massacre, which continues to stir controversy over a century and a half after the fact. Terence Stamp and Dean Cain contribute small roles as… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 13%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The villainous turns by Jon Voight (as a hard-hearted Mormon bishop) and Terence Stamp (as a bloodthirsty Brigham Young) would have been more fun if they weren't part of such a clumsy campaign to lay this tragedy at the church's doorstep."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"With its complete lack of empathy for early Mormons and simplistic rendering of historical figures, September Dawn is that rare movie that actually deserves whatever condemnation might come from religious groups."
‑ Steven Hyden, AV Club
"Predictable, obvious, often silly."
‑ Janos Gereben, Entertainment Insiders
"Muddled, sloppy, and obfuscating."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"There was another 9/11 horror. But it happened 150 years ago."
‑ Linda Cook, Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
"The workmanlike craftsmanship of Cain's filmmaking almost (but never quite) smooths over the ham-fisted way he conceives the story."
‑ Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
"Religious and thematic issues aside, September Dawn is well-crafted as a revisionist Western with a message."
‑ Ted Fry, Seattle Times
"Drama may benefit from attention to history, but history doesn't always make for good drama."
‑ Matthew Sorrento, Film Threat
"For all the guns fired in the film, [director] Cain aims the largest one at his foot-and pulls the trigger again and again."
‑ Jason Singer, New York Press
"It's a toss-up as to whether September Dawn is more offensive as history, as allegory or simply as lousy self-important filmmaking."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"A plodding and highly questionable history lesson."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"The maudlin, grotesque western September Dawn apes Schindler's List in hopes of creatinga Christian Holocaust picture."
‑ Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Times
"Contriving a faux Romeo and Juliet romance as a point of entry for the audience shows how unimaginative the filmmakers are, and how blandly and uninvolving it plays shows how fairly clueless they are in going about their game plan."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"An already thin veneer of historical truth wears off fairly quickly in this surprisingly dull and melodramatic low-budget western."
‑ Wade Major, Boxoffice Magazine
"The director's overreaching attempts at social commentary with hackneyed devices weaken the veracity of the source material and leave the film open to interpretation as propaganda."
‑ Cole Smithey,
More reviews for September Dawn on Rotten Tomatoes