Little Big Man is a 1970 American Western directed by Arthur Penn and based on the novel Little Big Man by Thomas Berger. It is a picaresque comedy about a white male child raised by the Cheyenne nation during the 19th century. The film is largely concerned with contrasting the lives of American pioneers and Native Americans throughout the progression of the boy's life.
The movie stars Dustin Hoffman, Chief Dan George, Faye Dunaway, Martin Balsam, Jeff Corey and Richard Mulligan. It is considered a Western, with Native Americans receiving a more sympathetic treatment and the United States Cavalry depicted as villains.
satirical approach, the film has tragic elements and a clear social conscience about prejudice and injustice. Little Big Man is considered an example of anti-establishment films of the period, protesting America's involvement in the Vietnam War by portraying the U.S. military negatively.
In 2014, Little Big Man was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
To obtain the hoarse voice of a 121-year-old man, Hoffman sat in his dressing room and screamed at the top of his lungs for an hour. Hoffman also holds the record for portraying the greatest age span of a single character in the one film, with the age of his character ranging from 17 up to 121 - a difference of 104 years. The makeup for the ancient Crabb was created by Dick Smith from foam latex and included revolutionary false eyelids that could blink along with the actor's. Due to editing, and much to Smith's chagrin, no blinks were visible in the finished film. Of the makeup, Hoffman was quoted in Life as saying, "I defy you to put on that makeup and not feel old". The role of Chief Old Lodge Skins was initially offered to Marlon Brando, Paul Scofield, and Laurence Olivier, all of whom turned it down.