The Exiles
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The independently produced The Exiles was warmly received at the 1966 Venice Film Festival, then inexplicably fell into obscurity. This is a shame: though made 30 years ago, the issues raised by the film are just as potent and powerful today. The story concerns a trio of young Native Americans who decide to leave the reservation. Once they've reached Los Angeles, the three protagonists find themselves just as lost and isolated as they would have been in the middle of the desert. Non-professionals Yvonne Williams, Homer Nish and Tommy Reynolds offer strong, naturalistic performances; in… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A ghostly and startling tale of Native Americans in Los Angeles -- a fusion of documentary and fiction -- in the late '50s. Never previously released, it's a revelation."
‑ Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"Rife with astonishing black-and-white images of an unknown L.A. and clashing sounds of bars, cinemas and poker games, The Exiles is one of those movies that functions as both artifact and fresh discovery."
‑ Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post
"It's as if someone had done a ghost dance and it worked, just a little -- enough to turn your sigh into a gasp of amazement."
‑ Stuart Klawans, The Nation
"It's an essential film that hardly anyone saw upon its release in 1961."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Mackenzie imposes no obvious attitude or mediating outsider's perspective on the material; he just presents it to us, a snapshot of an otherwise unknown culture, with details specific to its time and place."
‑ Andy Klein, Los Angeles CityBeat
"The Exiles ... presents one boozy night in the lives of Homer, Cliff, Tommy and Yvonne, from a convertible joy ride through the Third Street Tunnel, to an early-morning powwow."
‑ Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"Its moving portraiture is refreshingly free of cliches and moralizing platitudes, and the high-contrast black-and-white photography and dense, highly creative sound track are equally impressive."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"A sorrowful and beautiful film, the kind you never see from mainstream Tinseltown studios, then or now."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"For its beautiful black-and-white aesthetics, docudrama realism, and, sadly, still fresh portrait of off-reservation Native Americans, an excellent rediscovery"
‑ Nora Lee Mandel, Film-Forward.com
"Just because a movie was lost and found doesn't mean it's worth your $8.75."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"Kent Mackenzie's magnificent, long-undistributed, unclassifiable first feature, The Exiles, stands as a rare consideration of the inner and outer lives of American Indians in a big American city."
‑ Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
"A cinéma vérité look at the rootless Native American community that once upon a time lived in Bunker Hill and hung out in downtown bars such as Club Ritz, this Kent Mackenzie film is a brooding picture of a darkly beautiful, long-gone Los Angeles."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Kent Mackenzie's 1961 movie 'The Exiles' was so revolutionary that even now it seems gutsy."
‑ Dan Lybarger, eFilmCritic.com
"The amateur actors, many of whom in reality met sad ends on those same streets, are utterly convincing. You have the sense again and again that you've unearthed a time capsule -- a sensation that cinema alone of all the arts can impart."
‑ Shawn Levy, Oregonian
"The Exiles is a vivid portrait of Native American culture. Even more astonishing is the fact the movie is more than 40 years old."
‑ Jeff Vice, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for The Exiles on Rotten Tomatoes