5 Must-See Movies Starring Native American Vietnam Vet Wes Studi

Wes Studi stars in "Hostiles." (Entertainment Studios)

Vietnam veteran Wes Studi, a hardworking actor with almost 100 film and TV credits, will become the first Native American to be awarded an Oscar when he receives an Honorary Award this fall at an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ceremony.

Studi didn't begin his acting career until he was in his thirties and has become one of Hollywood's go-to performers for Native American roles in modern westerns.

If you're just becoming acquainted with Studi, here are five essential movies from his storied career.

1. Hostiles

Studi's performance as Chief Yellow Hawk in the 2017 western "Hostiles" should have earned him an Oscar nomination. Set in the last days of the Indian Wars of the American West, director Scott Cooper's movie explores the challenges warriors face as they make peace with enemies as hostilities cease.

Related: Vietnam Vet Wes Studi Stars in the Western 'Hostiles.' He Talked to Us About His Military Service

"Hostiles" is available on Netflix, or you can rent or buy a digital copy from Amazon, iTunes or Vudu. It's also available on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD discs.

2. The Last of the Mohicans

Director Michael Mann's 1992 movie updates James Fenimore Cooper's 1826 novel for modern audiences, and the result is the greatest action movie about pre-Revolutionary America. Of course, there aren't very many action movies about that era, but that's only because it's hard to make one without all the car chases and high-powered weapons that have fueled so many of Mann's other classic movies.

Studi plays a crucial role as Huron tribe chief Magua, chief antagonist of the film's hero Hawkeye (aka Nathaniel Poe, aka Natty Bumppo), played by Daniel Day-Lewis.

"The Last of the Mohicans" is not available from the major streaming services, but you can rent or buy a digital copy from Amazon, iTunes or Vudu. It's also available on DVD and Blu-ray discs.

3. Geronimo: An American Legend

Studi stars as the legendary Apache leader in this underrated 1993 classic from the great action director Walter Hill ("The Warriors," "The Long Riders," "48 Hrs.") and legendary screenwriter John Milius ("Apocalypse Now," "Magnum Force," "Red Dawn").

He plays opposite Marine vet Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Jason Patric and a very young Matt Damon. It's hard to understand why this movie hasn't enjoyed a long life on basic cable, but it's worth seeking out now.

"Geronimo: An American Legend" is not available from the major streaming services, but you can rent or buy a digital copy from Amazon, iTunes or Vudu. It's also available on DVD and Blu-ray discs.

4. Dances With Wolves

Kevin Costner produced, directed and starred in this 1990 movie that won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Costner plays Union Army Lt. John Dunbar, a troubled officer sent to a remote outpost, where he connects with nature and Native Americans.

Studi plays a Native American character known as "Toughest Pawnee" in the credits. It's not a big role, but it's the first important movie part in his career and the movie's a classic.

"Dances With Wolves" is currently streaming ad-free on Showtime and EPIX and available with ads on Tubi TV. You can rent or buy a digital copy from Amazon, iTunes or Vudu. It's also available on DVD and Blu-ray discs.

5. Heat

Studi gets a rare opportunity to play a character who's not defined by his Native American background in Michael Mann's 1995 cop classic. He's Detective Casals, a member of Al Pacino's law enforcement team aiming to take down Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer's robbery crew.

"Heat" just gets better with age, and Studi shines in a role that he elevates above the usual faceless Cop #2 performance most actors would have delivered

"Heat" is not available from the major streaming services, but you can rent or buy a digital copy from Amazon, iTunes or Vudu. It's also available on DVD and Blu-ray discs.

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