YMMV / Winnetou

  • Americans Hate Winnetou: While very famous in Germany (and furthermore in other European countries), Winnetou is virtually unknown in the US, the character's supposed home. Perhaps this is because it is easier for more Americans to spot the inaccuracies, perhaps it is because he catered not to the expectations Americans have for Westerns, maybe it even is that they heard those stories that Karl May was one of Hitler's favourite authors. The fact that American audiences do not exactly flock to see films that have to be dubbed and which, to make matters worse, are set in America but were clearly filmed in Europe, does not help. This can lead to situations like Germans being surprised that Americans have no clue who Old Shatterhand is, or Americans being perplexed by the Germans' fascination for specific locations the natives wouldn't have deemed to be great tourist attractions, such as the Llano Estacado in Texas.
    I canít forget the sense of irony here, where the Indigenous People of America are loved and respected by other nations more so than country they live in! - Native American actor Jay Tavare
  • Awesome Music: The entire soundtrack.
  • Complete Monster: The films have Colonel Brinkley & Bud Forrester. See those pages for details.
  • Fair for Its Day: Most of Karl May's works were not only Fair for Its Day, but actually so progressive for their era that they managed to offend a lot of very different types of people in his native Germany, from the trash papers to the clergy. Still, they deal with a lot of stereotypes which make many modern readers cringe.
  • Germans Love Pierre Brice: The Winnetou films made Pierre Brice one of the most popular film stars in West Germany and quite probably the most popular among the younger generation. When the Franco-German school student exchange program took off, Germans were shocked to discover that Brice was practically unknown in his native France.
  • Ho Yay: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, aided e. g. by Karl May's delight in describing long, wavy hair, like that of the Apache chief. German writer Arno Schmidt tried to demonstrate a homoerotic subtext in the post-Freudian study Sitara (1963) which caused a bit of storm in a teacup, mainly because he tried to demonstrate, often by Joycean word-association games, that every canyon appearing in a Karl May story really is a reference to the crevice between the buttocks and every cave really stands for an anus. Pointless really, when Karl May spoke so openly in his books about his love for Winnetou (in the 'soul mate' sense, not the brotherly one), there are kisses and embraces and hand-holding whenever the mood occurs. None of which occur with Charlie's actual wife, Clara.
  • Iron Woobie: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, if one thinks about their actual experiences and ignores the stoic attitudes.
  • Marty Stu: Old Shatterhand and to a (little) lesser extent, Winnetou.
  • Tear Jerker: Winnetou's death in Winnetou III may be as traumatic to young German readers as the death of Bambi's mother later became to young American cinema-goers. The Apache chief is shot in a fight with the Sioux and dies as a choir of German homesteaders sings the chorale entitled Ave Maria which May himself wrote and later set to music.