• James Rutherford

'The Last of the Mohicans': A Stylized and Thrilling Adaptation of the Classic Historical Novel


Movie poster for the film The Last of the Mohicans (1992) starring Daniel Day-Lewis

The Last of the Mohicans (1992) is a thrilling modernization of James Fenimore Cooper's historical novel, set in 1757 at the height of the French and Indian War. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the heroic Hawkeye, the storyline follows his efforts to shepherd the daughters of Colonel Edmund Munro (Maurice Roëves) through hostile territory to Fort William Henry in the Adirondack Mountains.


A white man raised by Mohican chief Chingachgook (Russell Means) from childhood, Hawkeye and his foster brother Uncas (Eric Schweig) accompany Chingachgook as they deliver Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and Alice (Jodhi May) to Munro—only to find his fort besieged by French and Huron forces. Ultimately forced to abandon the devastated garrison, their small party must weather the rugged terrain while pursued by a Mohawk tribe lead by Magua (Wes Studi), a merciless chieftain who bears a personal grudge against Munro.


Based on Fenimore Cooper's 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 (the second book in his Leatherstocking Tales pentalogy) and directed by Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider), it's a dazzling reinterpretation of an age old classic. In a surprising departure from his work in contemporary urban cinema, Mann delivers a richly-detailed and boldly sweeping adventure story to the screen—expertly balancing thrills, pathos and just the right touch of modernistic stylings.

 

Watch the trailer: