For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
320 Ratings

The Exiles

Directed by Kent MacKenzie
United States, 1961


Chronicling one night in the lives of young Native American men and women living in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles, the film follows a group of exiles—arrivals from the Southwest reservations—as they flirt, drink, party, fight, and dance.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
The Exiles Directed by Kent MacKenzie
Both THE EXILES and MY BROTHER’S WEDDING share that value of capturing the in-between moments, those characteristic details that define a neighborhood, and in turn, a city.
April 25, 2018
Read full article
The film has little interest in received notions of savagery or exoticism. Instead, its focus is on human behavior: What kind of fun do people without much money pursue on a Friday night? Maybe they drink and play cards; dance and carouse; watch TV or catch a movie. It’s tough to discern which activities were spontaneous or which may have been staged in this semi-fictionalized documentary. It all holds together as an episodic narrative, immersed in the circumstances of a few scattered lives.
March 01, 2017
Read full article
A prime exemplar of its vibrant moment, and deserves recognition alongside the other American independent features (ON THE BOWERY, SHADOWS, THE COOL WORLD) that tested the commercial viability of the nascent festival circuit… The final product resembles a master’s thesis: it demonstrates the depth of the candidate’s research and vouches for his formal sensitivity.
April 01, 2016
Read full article

What are people saying?

  • msmichel's rating of the film The Exiles

    'Let's do it again tonight'. Classic American indie that was almost lost to history until its restoration by UCLA and Milestone Films. A group of young native Americans relocated to L.A. are torn between trying to create a life for themselves there and keeping their traditions and identity. The charm of the film is making the story so identifiable and engaging creating a full empathy and connection.

  • Petra Simmons's rating of the film The Exiles

    "When I go to jail, I don't worry about it. Time is just time to me. I'm doing it outside. So I can do it inside." Important artifact in Native/American social history. Not so into the whole "narrative documentary" but I know it was groundbreaking at the time, as was the collaborative filmmaking. Devastatingly good night photography. Great soundtrack. "Hill X" would be criminalized as fuck today.

  • Miggy Angel's rating of the film The Exiles

    tragic. painful to watch. post-genocide trauma SHOULD hurt to watch. cut adrift from presence, land, history, culture, the staged scenes reinforcing the enacting of a script they didn't author, costumes covering their crowns & coronas, suffocated by the eraser of americana. the film is complicit in the denial of genocide. the jukebox lied. "Either one must remain terrified or become terrifying." - Franz Fanon

  • Zac Weber's rating of the film The Exiles

    A refreshing, cliche-free focus on Native Americans in contemporary society. The neon-kissed black and white cinematography produces a buzz we often associate with L.A. noir and the documentary-like structure adds a sense of authenticity to the environments and characters.

  • rcrespin's rating of the film The Exiles

    This is a great film, a great document of a city no longer around. Watch it and look for it on DVD so you can revisit as often as you can. Such a Joy!!

  • Chris's rating of the film The Exiles

    Liked this one a lot. It stands as a fascinating and somewhat bleak document of a culture that is either underrepresented or (more often than not) misrepresented in media. At the same time, the movie serves as a compelling neo-realist portrait of Los Angeles during a period that is far removed from the contemporary experience, but still feels very familiar in many ways.

  • Eric Rucker's rating of the film The Exiles

    I don't know what to say: I was so touched by this movie, so intrigued, so happy and curious to get to know our brothers and sisters who were here before us. Heartbreaking that our parents did what they did to their parents. I love the gentle wordless sensibility and humor. The few more or less Native American films I've seen put me in mind of Bill Forsyth's gentle wordless humanism and humor, which deeply moves me.

  • Quattro's rating of the film The Exiles

    A portrayal so sincere, so moving. And it's a pleasure to watch, it could really be filmed just yesterday. I think I missed a bunch of lines because of the absence of subtitles, but the substance hit the same. I loved the use of the voice-over, and the «nocturnal» mood that fills each and every frame. Ah, and the title is perfect, too. Great Cinema. One of those hidden pearls I expect to discover on MUBI. Thank you!