This Canadian production offers children a naive, romantic vision of the most celebrated Indian princess in history. However, history buffs, realists, and adults, beware.
Powhatan Prince Kocoum (Billy Marasty) sees the arrival of British settlers as the beginning of a prophesied third invasion. His cousin, Princess Pocahontas (Sandrine Holt), views the newcomers through more peaceful eyes. While she is instantly smitten by the sight of handsome John Smith (Miles
O'Keeffe), Kocoum is enamored by the settlers' "thundersticks."
After their arrival, some settlers fall sick, and Smith visits the Powhatans, hoping to trade rifles for medicine. Ambushed by Kocoum, Smith is badly beaten and later sentenced to death. But Pocahontas claims him, citing a law permitting her to own a captive. Smith's nemesis, Sir Edwin Wingfeld
(Tony Goldwyn), accuses the captured settler of being a traitor. Eventually, Smith sends medicine and a note explaining his situation to the fort. The missive is intercepted by Wingfeld, however, who pockets the note and destroys the medicine.
While Wingfeld slanders Smith, Kocoum urges his chief to declare war. Smith finally returns to the fort and is placed under arrest. His reputation is saved when another settler finds his note hidden in Wingfeld's quarters. Desperate, Wingfeld conspires with Kocoum to kidnap Pocahontas, but their
plan backfires when Smith rescues her and wounds Kocoum. Still, Kocoum uses the wound to convince the chief to declare war. Pocahontas asks that she and Kocoum submit to the truth test, which involves holding one's hand over a flame. Kocoum fails and is killed. The Chief offers the settlers peace
on one condition--John Smith must return to England with Captain Newport. Pocahontas agrees, and watches her love sail away.
POCAHONTAS, THE LEGEND scores poorly on the historical accuracy meter. History books say Pocahontas was captured by settlers and held hostage in exchange for prisoners. While captive, she converted to Christianity and met John Rolfe, who married her and took her to England. This wide-eyed romance
hardly fares much better on the narrative meter, either. This is a classic noble-savage love story, complete with stilted dialogue, easy- reading plot lines, and native American drum thumping. Finally, there are moments, notably a revealing love scene, that seem more mature than this
built-for-kids film warrants. (Adult situations, sexual situations, violence.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: NR
- Review: This Canadian production offers children a naive, romantic vision of the most celebrated Indian princess in history. However, history buffs, realists, and adults, beware. Powhatan Prince Kocoum (Billy Marasty) sees the arrival of British settlers as the b… (more)