"This life is not only sinful, it's not much fun."
- Mrs. Pendrake (Faye Dunaway) on the life of prostitute
Total Film - 02/01/2004
"Told with an easy wit and a generous humanism, it's a beautiful, funny and tender movie. The best Western you've probably never seen."
Uncut - 08/01/2004
"[T]he film unfolds as a rambling, picaresque folk tale?...Even the saddest and most squalid moments come laced with humour."
Sight and Sound - 02/01/2012
"The narrative is lightly absurd, bouncing impishly in flashback....The film's conspicuous ambitions and merry way with history are finally winning."
Description by OLDIES.com:
For Dustin Hoffman, acquiring the right voice was the biggest challenge he faced portraying a 121-year old man, not the daily five hour makeup regimen. He achieved the perfect sound through closely studying the speech patterns of several elderly men.
In this sweeping epic that swings from high comedy to drama, Dustin Hoffman gives a "virtuoso perfomance" (Hollywood Reporter) as the 121-year old sole survivor of Custer's Last Stand. Narrating his colorful life story, he tells about everything from his adoption by Cheyenne Indians to his marriages and friendship with Wild Bill Hickok. His tall tale indicates he just may be one of the biggest liars who roamed the West. Oscar-winner CHIEF DAN GEORGE, FAYE DUNAWAY, MARTIN BALSAM and RICHARD MULLIGAN co-star.
LITTLE BIG MAN was significant when it was made because of its editing, which was still being explored in Hollywood at the time as a vehicle for innovative, simple storytelling.
Arthur Penn's film of Thomas Berger's bestselling novel demystifies the Old West with its funny, chaotic portrayal of one man's experiences in its closing days. Jack Crabb (Dustin Hoffman), a 121-year-old Indian living in a rest home, relates his incredible life experiences. According to Crabb's somewhat fanciful tales, he was raised by the Cheyenne from the age of 10 only to be seized by whites when he was 15. He then embarks on a string of failed attempts to find a place for himself in the world. These bring him into contact with (among many others) Wild Bill Hickok, the US Cavalry, a former preacher's wife-turned-prostitute, his own spunky frontierswoman sister, and General George Armstrong Custer during the Battle of Little Big Horn. The result is a funny, spiritual film with a humane view of the plight of Native Americans.