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Film / The Last of the Mohicans
aka: Last Of The Mohicans

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The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 film directed by Michael Mann and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It is based on The Last of the Mohicans, an 1826 historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper which has experienced Pop-Cultural Osmosis and been adapted for film numerous times.

A story about the American Frontier, The Last of the Mohicans takes place in the British colony of New York in 1757, against the backdrop of the French and Indian War, the 9-year American version of the Seven Years' War which heavily involved Native Americans on both sides. The story mainly concerns the adventures of Hawkeye, a white man accompanied by the last two surviving members of the Mohican tribe, Chingachgook and his son Uncas, as the three trackers try to protect the two daughters of a Scottish colonel.

The novel had been adapted into a number of movies before this one, first in 1911, then again in 1920, 1932, and 1936. The 1992 film has been said by its director to be more of an update of the 1936 film than a straight adaptation of the book.

For more on the novel The Last of the Mohicans and other books in The Series, see The Leatherstocking Tales.

The 1992 film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Duncan Heyward comes across as a more unpleasant character than he does in Cooper's novel (or for that matter the 1936 version, in which he was more of a Romantic False Lead).
  • Adaptation Distillation: The omitted includes redundant parts where the women are captured and quickly freed, a deranged white man at the Huron camp, a shooting contest, and Natty Bumppo disguised as a bear. The changes generally streamline and improve on some lengthy and confusing segments in the novel.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Hawkeye's real name in the novel is Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo, but was changed to Nathaniel Poe for the film to avoid titters from the audience.
  • Age Lift: In the book, Hawkeye and Chingachgook were both thirty-four while Uncas was between seventeen and twelve. Since Chingachgook is portrayed as the adoptive father of Hawkeye in this it would seem, based on the fact that Russell Means was fifty-three, that Chingachgook was aged up some nineteen years. However, Chingachgook has frequently been a subject of Mistaken Age, as has Uncas, leaving it unknown if the age lift was even intentional.
  • The Alliance: In a Slice of Life montage, we see settlers and Iroquois assembling peaceably at Cameron's frontier cabin for a Harvest dinner and a traditionally violent Indian-style Lacrosse game with basketball hoops (settlers vs. Indians).note 
  • Always Someone Better: For most of the film, Magua is made out to be the biggest badass on the frontier. And then he makes the mistake of pissing off Chingachgook.
  • And Show It to You: How Magua exacts his revenge on Munro.
  • And Starring: Russell Means, in his film debut at 53.
  • Anyone Can Die: The Hamlet-style ending, specifically Col. Munro, Heyward, Uncas, Alice and Magua.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Chingachgook apologizes to the slain deer during the opening: "We're sorry to kill you, brother. We do honor to your courage and speed, your strength."
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The real life surrender terms for the garrison at Fort William Henry were a bit different than in movie. In the film, the garrison is allowed to keep all their weapons, munitions, and colors, with the requirement that they leave the continent and return to England. In real life, the garrison troops were simply required not to participate in the war for a term of 18 months. They were allowed to keep their colors and muskets, but had to give up all their ammunition and artillery other than a single cannon.
    • The movie implies that General Montcalm knew the Indians were going to attack the survivors of fort William Henry in violation of their surrender and did nothing to stop it. In real life, there is considerable evidence that Montcalm made the agreement in good faith and did everything he could to stop the Indian attacks on the retreating column after they occurred. Ironically, this earned him the ire of both his Indian allies and the British: The Indians for trying to stop them and the British for failing to do so.
    • The film depicts the attack on the British leaving Fort William Henry as a military battle. In real life, it was simply an unhindered spree of looting, kidnapping, rape, and murder. Since the British agreed to give up all their ammunition in the surrender terms, they were in no position to resist the Indians attacks and could do nothing but flee. The attacks didn't begin as a sudden ambush in the wilderness, but were drawn-out and started before the British left the fort. They also mostly took place toward the rear of the column instead of its head.
    • The real Colonel Monroe survived the attack on his retreating army after they left Fort William Henry, though he died a few months later from apoplexy. However, other than this, the movie depicts Monroe quite accurately. He was Scottish, he really did base all his hope of holding the fort on Webb's reinforcements, and he really did threaten to hang deserters who attempted to leave.
    • Reports vary wildly on casualty figures from the attack on the retreating British troops from the fort, with some putting it up at to 1,500 of the 2,300 soldiers, while others at less than 200. Modern estimates as early as 1990 have favored a smaller number. In the film, it looks like a large part if not most of the soldiers onscreen are killed, but since there aren't thousands onscreen at the time, it's unclear what part of the total army this is meant to represent and thus if the amount of death depicted in the battle is accurate.
    • Also, the real Mohicans still exist, in spite of the title. Of course, this was something Cooper himself acknowledged and explained that the tribe was dispersed amongst others and the "Last" means "Last Chief and Warrior" not "Last of the Tribe."
    • An unknown-sized detachment of the The Black Watch are shown during the siege of Fort William Henry. The only British regular formation deployed there was the 35th Regiment of Foot. Also, its highly unlikely a small detachment would have the regimental colour with them.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Major Duncan Heyward and Colonel Munro are the highest ranking British officers and they have the most success in battle against enemy Indians.
    • Magua is a villainous example, as he, a Huron war captain, is the only one who lasts more than a few seconds against the Mohicans, personally dealing out a Curb-Stomp Battle to Uncas.
  • Badass Back: Hawkeye takes out one of the Hurons in the first ambush by getting his tomahawk in a Blade Lock, using the momentum to pivot, stabbing him in the gut with his knife, and finishing him off with a blow to the back of the head.
  • Badass Boast: Magua, and how.
    Magua: The Grey Hair's children were under Magua's knife. They escaped. They will be under it again... When the Grey Hair is dead, Magua will eat his heart. Before he dies, Magua will put his children under the knife, so the Grey Hair will know his seed is wiped out forever.
  • Badass Family: Chingachgook, his son Uncas, and foster son Hawkeye are all formidable warriors on their own and when they fight side by side, they are unstoppable.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: Magua does this to Col. Munro.
    Magua: Grey Hair, before you die, know that I will put under the knife your children, so that I will wipe your seed from the earth forever.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • Cora castigates Hawkeye for leaving behind the bodies of the homesteaders and later has a rather sharp conversation with him about the differences between colonial and native cultures. They're soon desperately in love.
    • Uncas and Alice's is more subdued. Alice's first words to Uncas are to shout at him for driving off her horse. Almost all of their later interactions involve him restraining or silencing her in moments of danger. While they never share any overtly romantic scenes, Uncas's doomed attempt to save her, and her subsequent suicide, strongly imply some connection.
  • Best Served Cold: Magua's motivation.
  • Beta Couple: Alice and Uncas aren't as overt as Cora and Nathaniel, but there's at least some feeling there.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: With the death of Uncas, Alice throws herself off a cliff at the end rather than find out what Magua will do to her.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas' first interaction with Cora, Alice and Heyward is rescuing them from an ambush from Magua's warriors.
  • Big "NO!": Silent, as Chingachgook watches Magua stab Uncas, slit his throat, and throw his body down the cliffside.
  • Bilingual Dialogue:
    • Native characters slide in and out of multiple languages, including the dead languages of Huron and Mohican, which are subtitled. Magua, being a Huron enslaved by the British-aligned Mohawk who returned to his own French-aligned tribe, became a war captain, and then infiltrated the British Army posing as a Mohawk scout, seems to speak more languages than any other character. In the final parlay, he alone understands the whole conversation, and he is not pleased. This part is simultaneously subtitled and translated on-screen by French-speaking Heyward, except for the Huron part which only Magua and Sachem understand.
    • Then there's this:
    Heyward: You there! Scout. Must. Stop. Soon. Women. Are. Tired.
    Magua: Three leagues. Better water. We stop there.
    Heyward: No, we stop in the glade ahead. Understand?
    Magua: (subtitled) Magua understands the white man is a dog to his women. When they grow tired, he puts down his hatchet to feed their laziness.
    Heyward: What did you say?
    Magua: Magua said, "I understand English... very well."
    • When Hawkeye and company are hiding in an Indian Burial Ground, the Ottawa refuse to enter and their French companions don't understand why :
    French soldier: Allons-y là-bas.translation 
    Ottawa warrior: Non. Pas possible.
    French soldier: Mais pourquoi? Allons!translation 
    Ottawa warrior: NON.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alice and Duncan are dead, along with Uncas, so Chingachgook is the last of his tribe, and will probably have no more children. However, Cora and Hawkeye are alive and together and Magua is dead as well.
  • Blade Lock: One of Magua's warriors tries this on Col. Munro, only for the colonel to grab his pistol and shoot the assailant.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Magua after Chingachgook has smashed multiple bones in him before delivering the killing strike.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Mostly averted, but played straight in two instances when Cora shoots one of Magua's warriors in the head at close range (which doesn't leave a hole) and when Hawkeye snipes Heyward, where there's only a small, bloodless hole in his head.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Hinted at with Cora, who's more enlightened than most of the people in her circle.
    Duncan: And who empowered these colonials to pass judgement on England's policies, and to come and go without so much as a "by your leave"?
    Cora: (angry retort) They do not live their lives "by your leave"! They hack it out of the wilderness with their own two hands, bearing their children along the way!

    Cora: Justice? If that's justice than the sooner French guns blow the English out of America the better it will be for the people here!
    Munro: You do not know what you're saying, girl!
    Cora: Yes I do! I know exactly what what I'm saying, and if it is sedition, than I am guilty of sedition too!
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Surprisingly realistic; the Native tribesmen wear homespun like their colonist neighbors, and both they and the colonist wear leather breeches and authentic hairstyles for the most part.
  • "Bringer of War" Music: This forms the basis of "Fort Battle", the music that plays over the battle at Fort William.
  • British Stuffiness: Heyward is your typically stuffy British upperclassman, with his old-fashioned opinions of natives and women.
  • Broad Strokes: The film is more an adaptation of the 1936 film than the original novel. Who lives, who dies, and who hooks up with who at the end are all adapted from the older film rather than the book. The screenplay for the 1936 film is actually credited as an alternate version.
  • Broken Bird: Alice; Cora is clearly concerned about the effect the constant danger surrounding them is having on her mind.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Chingachgook's gunstock war club. A traditional weapon of the tribes of New England and the eastern Great Lakes, it is a curved wooden club that loosely resembles a musket stock (hence the name) with a spear head fixed to the outside of the curve. Chingachgook demonstrates its lethality in close combat and as a thrown weapon throughout the movie.
  • Call-Forward: There are tensions between the British military and colonists, foreshadowing the American Revolution, and Natives worrying about being outnumbered by the whites, doing it for the Westward Expansion.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: The scene was really shot in a cave behind a waterfall. The dialogue had to be overdubbed, and the cameramen had to be very, very careful.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: General Webb's reinforcements.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The Mohicans, primarily endurance running among other things.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Quite literally — the pistol that Cora picks up from a dead officer near the beginning of the film most likely saves her life when she later uses it to shoot dead a Huron attacker.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Referenced but defied. According to the incompetent General Webb, "French haven't the nature for war. Their Latinate voluptuousness combines with their Gallic laziness, and the result? They'd rather eat and make love with their faces than fight." However, the French forces of Montcalm and their native allies win every battle in the film.
  • Chiaroscuro: Particularly the fort scenes. The outdoor scenes are shot to look like a Thomas Cole painting.
  • Climbing Climax: Not quite the original clifftop ending, but close.
  • Clothing Damage: Uncas uses it to his advantage to make silk bullet casings and bandaging wounds.
    Hawkeye: You 'bout done holdin' hands with Miss Monro?
  • Colonel Badass: Col. Munro. He's a Reasonable Authority Figure compared to General Webb and can hold his own in a fight.
  • Color Wash: Autumnal orange and green.
    • Interestingly, Director Mann who is known for his neon urban color schemes, says this is the only film he ever did that had no artificial color wash. He wanted to capture the American woods without artificial lighting because he said they are rarely seen that way in media. Of course, this results in some pretty dark scenes.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Cora is the pragmatic brunette, while Alice is the romantic/sentimental (strawberry) blonde.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Both battle sequences between the British and the Huron are ambushes. As the British draw up a firing line and shoot a volley, we see the Huron simply duck behind cover before rushing out while the British are reloading.
  • Come with Me If You Want to Live:
    Heyward: Why's he loosing the horses?
    Uncas: Too easy to track. They'd be heard for miles... (picks among dead bodies) Find yourself a musket...
    Hawkeye: We're movin' outta here, fast. Unless you all's'd rather wait for the next Huron war party to come along.
  • Coup de Grâce: Many fights are finished with a final blow to a helpless opponent.
  • Covers Always Lie: You might get the impression that the titular "Last of the Mohicans" refers to the white guy on the cover, but it really doesn't.
  • Cower Power: Alice.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Heyward is burned on the stake with his legs together and his arms outstretched.
  • Cunning Linguist: Many characters are at least bilingual, though no less than four different languages (two of which are extinct in the modern world) are spoken on-screen, so there's still a need for translation.
    • The Marquis de Montcalm speaks English and Heyward speaks French, facilitating parlay at various points.
    • Magua is proficient in English, French, and Mohawk, in addition to his native Huron. His English grammar is slightly off, but this often seems deliberate as he still speaks it in a very smooth, precise, enunciated manner, without any mispronunciations, malapropisms, or thick accent.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Magua defeats Uncas pretty handily, but it's still a dogfight. When Chingachgook rushes Magua for some fatherly vengeance, you'd expect a tightly contested clash. Instead, Chingachgook utterly dismantles Magua in a few seconds.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Munro had Magua's family killed, so Magua kills Munro and kidnaps his daughter in revenge. Uncas pursues Magua to get back Munro's daughter, but Magua kills him, so Chingachgook kills Magua in revenge.
  • Damsel in Distress: Alice during the climax, since Cora is out of danger thanks to Heyward.
  • Dark Reprise: The cheerful dance music they play during the night at the fort is somberly reprised for the tragic climax of the film.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When Cora and Heyward ask the Mohicans how they plan to get to Kan-tuck-ee Territory, Hawkeye's reaction is priceless.
    Heyward: There's a war on! How is it you are going west?
    Hawkeye: Well, first we face north, then, real subtle-like, turn left.
    • Hawkeye's response to someone joshing him:
      Jack: That reason wear a striped skirt and work in the surgery?
      Hawkeye: It does. And no offense, but it's a better lookin' reason than you, Jack Winthrop!
  • Death by Adaptation / Spared By Adaptation: Alice and Heyward live (and get together) and Cora dies in the book. This is only "spared by" because the sisters' roles have been switched. Heyward and Colonel Munro are clear Death by Adaptation.
  • Death Glare: Chingachgook gives one to Magua before delivering the Coup de Grâce.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Major Heyward dies as Cora and Nathaniel (and Chingachgook) go free, though technically it is at the hands of his rival Nathaniel (actually a Mercy Killing as the Hurons are burning him alive after Heyward's Heroic Sacrifice).
  • Decoy Protagonist: Hawkeye, to a certain extent, since he is not in fact the title character.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Heyward urges Cora to trust his and her father's judgment over her own reservations about his marriage proposal.
    • Hawkeye talks about how English colonists are strange and incomprehensible to Native Americans. After Cora watches a war party turn tail because of superstitions over a burial ground, she gives Hawkeye's words an Ironic Echo.
  • Demoted to Extra: Colm Meaney as Sergeant-Major Ambrose, the NCO in charge of the company that accompanies Heyward, Cora and Alice. All his words are said offscreen and we only briefly see his face. He gets gunned down by Magua in the first ambush.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation:
    • In the book the Munro sister who dies is stabbed to death, then Uncas kills her killer before being killed himself by Magua. In the movie she (the other sister, to boot) defiantly jumps off a cliff to join Uncas in death.
    • In the book Hawkeye shoots Magua after the latter nearly falls trying to jump a cliff and is dangling from a shrub, in the movie Chingachgook kills Magua in hand to hand combat by the cliff's edge.
  • Dies Wide Open: Magua.
  • Dirty Business:
    Heyward: Things were done. Nobody was spared.
    Munro: (sighs) Those considerations are subordinate to the interests of the Crown.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Sachem's (non-) response to Magua's parting words. He nods to the heroes and says something untranslated.
  • Doomed Hometown: Cameron's frontier settlement.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Magua plays this to the French General Montcalm. He technically works for Montcalm, but his actions and vendetta against the Munro family are central to the film's plot, particularly after the fall of Fort William Henry.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Chingachgook just before the Huron ambush of the former Fort William Henry garrison.
  • Driven to Suicide: Alice throws herself off a cliff shortly after Uncas dies, so she will be with him.
  • Dual Wielding: Fairly realistically, several characters are shown wielding a tomahawk in one hand and a knife in the other. In the climax, the fact that Uncas doesn't dual wield sets him at a significant disadvantage. He's able to block Magua's tomahawk, but has nothing to stop the knife.
  • The Empire: The British and French Empires, of course. Back when France was still a monarchy, no less.
    Herald: Are you not a patriot!? A loyal subject to the Crown!?
    Heyward: (later) British policy is "Make the world England," sir.
  • End of an Era: Sachem notes that the sunset of the Huron has come with the arrival of the white settlers. Chingachgook's has a final speech about it in the Director's Cut:
    Chingachgook: The frontier moves with the sun, pushes the red man of these wilderness forts in front of it. Until one day there will be nowhere left. And then our race will be no more, or be not us.... The frontier place is for people like my white son and his woman, and their children. And one day there will be no more frontier... then men like you will go too, like the Mohicans. A new people will come. Work. Struggle. Some will make their life... But once, we were here.
  • Enemy Mine: The settlers and Iroquois' reason for signing up to fight together against the French.
  • Epic Movie: Large-scale battle sequences, vast shots of wilderness, and sweeping music.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Hawkeye and his family chase down a deer, hit the running target dead-center, and then honor the slain deer. In the next scene, they show up at a colonial homesteader's farm and get welcomed as old friends. These are honorable badasses with feet in both the native and colonial worlds.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Magua seems genuinely perplexed and disturbed by Alice's suicide, though only for a moment.
    • Also, the Ottawa raiders that murdered the Cameron family (and probably others along the frontier), absolutely refuse to trespass into the burial ground where Hawkeye's party take refuge (this is due to a spiritual taboo about disturbing the dead).
  • Evil Brit: The film's sympathies are with the colonists and natives, in contrast to the book where the "good" Indians are allied to the crown. That being said, the British aren't actually villains, just jerks.
  • Evil Counterpart: Magua to Hawkeye. Both are deadly combatants who lost their families when they were young and were adopted into a new group (the Mohawks for Magua, the Mohicans for Hawkeye), but while Hawkeye accepted his new people and seeks to protect others, Magua intends to consume everything he hates, from the family whose patriarch hurt him to making his home tribe like those who twisted him.
  • Evil Gloating:
    Magua: Grey-hair! Before you die, know that I will put under the knife your children, so your seed is wiped from the earth forever.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Twice.
    • Hawkeye kills an enemy warrior menacing Cora by slashing him repeatedly with his tomahawk.
    • Chingachgook kills Magua with multiple strikes to his torso and breaking both his arms, then delivering a final blow that spears Magua through the abdomen.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Magua, the only one in the entire film. He simply exchanges long glances with Chingachgook. In fact, he's leaning forward, ready for the final blow.
    • Played with for Heyward. He willingly sacrifices himself, and goes to meet his end fairly dignified. Once he's being burned alive however, he quite understandably starts to scream in agony.
    "My compliments sir, take her and get out!"
  • Failed a Spot Check: No one in Munro's company notices when a Huron warrior rushes out from the tree line and crosses the clearing until he hacks into an oblivious soldier. Then it happens again!
  • Family Extermination: What Magua intends to do with Munro's line.
  • Finale Title Drop: "Bid them patience and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one — I, Chingachgook — last of the Mohicans."
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The only indication of the first ambush is Magua drawing his tomahawk before he slashes the throat of a British soldier.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge:
    • Chingachgook at the end of the film.
    • While running toward a Huron about to slit Cora's throat, Hawkeye gets bumped into by another random Huron and just pushes the guy aside. This seems to be a Throw It In! moment.
    • Uncas tears through Huron to get to Alice in the climax, only to be stopped by Magua.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The title, Last of the Mohicans, says it all.
  • Foreshadowing: The tensions between the colonists and the British in the film will certainly lead to a major conflict that will change the course of history.
  • Friendly Target:
    • Cameron and his whole family.
    • Jack Winthrop is killed during the ambush of the Fort William Henry garrison.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Col. Munro. "British promises are honored... and I will not release the militia unless I have more than this man's word that the settlements are being attacked."
  • General Failure: The obese General Webb.
  • The General's Daughter: Or rather, the Colonel's daughters. Two, Cora and Alice.
  • Ghibli Hills: Colonial America. An undeveloped, unbroken forest teeming with wildlife and adventure. Specifically, Upstate New York / The Great Smoky Mountains.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Colorful dresses, fancy uniforms, and detailed Native American garb.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The British and the French are both just as bad as one another in this film. The French are nicer to the natives, (whom they try to coexist peacefully with instead of the wholesale exploitation favored by the British) but even then, Montcalm tacitly allows Magua to massacre the retreating British forces down to the last man after they surrender the fort to him. Ultimately, the war itself is merely a backdrop to the more personal conflict between Magua and the protagonists.
  • Guns Akimbo: Hawkeye manages to shoot two Pennsylvania rifles from the hip with deadly accuracy.
  • The Gunslinger: Hawkeye is an unbuilt version of the Western Anti-Hero.
  • Happily Adopted: Hawkeye is aware of his origins, but he was adopted as a toddler, so his adoptive family are the only ones he's ever known. As far as he's concerned, he is Nathaniel Hawkeye of the Mohican tribe, son of Chingachgook and brother of Uncas. Chingachgook does differentiate him as "my white son," but not in any kind of negative manner; if anything it seems more like a culturally-based recognition of his adoption, and he's shown to be a good father to both of his sons equally.
  • Herald: Messages are delivered by courier, which leads to a sharpshooting sequence as the courier attempts to break through the lines.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When Magua demands revenge on Munro by burning his daughter Cora alive, Hawkeye offers himself instead. But Heyward deliberately mistranslates, offering himself. The others are released, and Heyward is burned alive. Well, initially, but Hawkeye doesn't leave him to suffer.
    • This is a radical switcheroo from the 1936 film, where Hawkeye (Randolph Scott) actually does get tortured by fire, and Heyward (Henry Wilcoxon) rescues him before it goes too far.
  • Hero Killer: Magua. He's both sides of the trope, with a status as The Dreaded, and personally responsible for the deaths of Colonel Munro and Uncas, which leads to Alice's suicide.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In Hawkeye's Kirk Summation, he asks Magua if he would use the ways of the Yengees and Le Francais against other Indians. Magua says yes (and makes a point of saying it in English). The Sachem notes that he has never followed the Huron path.
  • Historical Domain Character: Gen. Webb, Col. Monro and Gen. De Montcalm.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In real life, General Montcalm not only ordered his native allies not to attack the British leaving Fort William Henry, his troops actively tried to stop them. In the film he agrees to turn a blind eye to Magua's actions after the British leave the Fort.
  • Hollywood History: The "Company" of the 60th regiment (really an understrength platoon) that accompany Major Heyward and the Monroe daughters who are massacred in order to show that standard 18th-century military tactics will not work in North America. Fair enough this early in the war for a standard British unit who are ambushed. But the 60th (The Royal Americans) were a unit raised in America and trained to specifically fight under these conditions and use them to their advantage.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Nicely averted. European tactics focusing on tight infantry formations using volley fire and bayonets are very effective on open ground, as seen at Fort William Henry. The French use proper siege engineering, with sappers digging zigzag trenches towards the fort to emplace heavy mortars to fire over the ramparts, while the British bombard them with artillery and send skirmishers outside the perimeter to delay them as much as possible. Magua sets up both of his ambushes in heavily wooded areas (or a narrow meadow very close to the treeline in the second one) to engage the redcoats in close combat without giving them a chance to form up for battle and fix bayonets, and give his warriors cover from volley fire in case they react faster than he anticipated (as happens in the first ambush, thanks to Major Heyward). Out of formation and without their bayonets (which are much more effective in formation), the Brits are quickly cut down by Huron tomahawks, with the best brawlers among them lasting only slightly longer before being overwhelmed. In each case, whoever chooses the battlefield does so with an eye towards negating his foe's advantages.
  • Honor Before Reason: Ongewasgone, the Iroquois leader, commits to stay behind and fight on instead of break out of the beleaguered fort with the colonists.
    Hawkeye: There are too many French.
    Ongewasgone: And so few of us to fight. But we have given our word to the English fathers.
  • Howl of Sorrow: Cora when Alice commits suicide.
  • Hunter Trapper: The Mohicans.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: A warrior goes to you now, swift and straight as an arrow shot into the Sun.
  • I Call It "Vera": Hawkeye's beloved Long Rifle, Killdeer. Not only that, an inversion: he's nicknamed after his rifle.
  • I Choose to Stay: Hawkeye chooses to not accompany the militia from his settlement instead of fleeing with them.
  • I Have Many Names: As in the book: "I am Natty Bumppo Nathaniel, Hawkeye adopted son of Chingachgook... I am La Longue Carabine!"
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Heyward, ultimately.
  • It Will Never Catch On: General Webb's disparaging comments of the French's inability for war, though obviously influenced by Patriotic Fervor. The French win every battle in the movie.
  • I Will Find You: "You submit, do you hear? You be strong, you survive! If they don't kill you they'll take you north... up to Huron land. You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you."
  • I'm a Humanitarian: "When the Grey Hair is dead, Magua will eat his heart." Hey, he had his reasons...
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends:
    Heyward: I thought all our colonial scouts were in the militia. The militia is fighting the French in the north.
    Hawkeye: I ain't your scout. And we sure ain't no damn militia.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The final swing by Chingachgook goes right through Magua's belly and out of his back.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: During the climax, Magua's warriors can't hit a charging Uncas when he's five paces in front of them.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Straight from the book, in which Hawkeye is a frontier William Tell. Notably, Hawkeye and the Mohicans use 18th-century rifles to snipe moving targets 200 yards away — which, though possible, is bloody difficult.
  • Indian Burial Ground: Hawkeye and company hides in one, when being hunted early in the movie.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Two of them.
  • Ironic Echo: Hawkeye says that Native Americans find British colonial culture to be bizarre. After Cora watches a Native American war band flee from a burial ground due to their superstitious beliefs, she sarcastically repeats Hawkeye's words about bizarre cultures.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Magua is The Dragon to Montcalm but is undoubtedly the heroes primary nemesis throughout the movie.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Hawkeye says he and Uncas attended Reverend Wheelock's school. This is presumably Dartmouth College, originally founded as a school to train Native Americans as missionaries (however, it did not open until 1769, after the war ended.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Duncan is portrayed as a quasi villain but he actually does many heroic things and is correct that it is not up to the militia to decide to leave the fort but a decision for the garrison commander.
  • Judgment of Solomon: The Great Sachem Tamenund's ruling at the end of the film is a bit of Deliberate Values Dissonance. From his point of view, it was a just ruling; the Huron did not mistreat captive women, but people might be punished for the crimes of their fathers. Women who ran the gauntlet, however, would be respected unharmed; they would be ransomed or allowed to marry into the tribe.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The film has a very complex Translation Convention. In the case of General Montcalm, however, since he is a diplomat and speaks English anyhow, this boils down to him keeping a villainous French accent throughout.
  • Karma Houdini: Montcalm never gets a comeuppance for allowing Magua to go on his rampage, and in fact gets absolutely everything he wanted otherwise.
  • Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand: Magua's reaction to Alice at the end of the film. He puts down his knife and reaches out with his other hand. Too bad it had her lover's blood on it.
  • Kirk Summation: "Magua's heart is twisted. He would make himself into what twisted him."
  • Last of His Kind: The title didn't clue you in that this trope would get invoked somehow?
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The quest to assure the two women safe passage to Fort William Henry.
  • Ledge Gravity: Experienced by several Huron warriors in the climax.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Uncas, intent on rescuing Alice, runs ahead of Chingachgook and Hawkeye when they attack Magua's band. This proves to be a fatal mistake when he reaches Magua.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Chingachgook deftly dodges two of Magua's swings and quickly strikes Magua to disable him before landing the coup de grâce.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Uncas and Magua's fight on the edge of a precipice.
  • Living Prop: The British soldiers barely interact with the main characters on-screen. All of Heywards minor moments engaging and leading them are deleted from the script. The wounded survivors of the ambush slink away without orders.
  • Love Triangle: Hawkeye - Cora - Heyward. (Also Uncas - Alice - Magua, but more understated.)
  • Majorly Awesome: Major Duncan Heyward is a dick and a Green-Eyed Monster, but he's also a very brave and skilled infantry officer. He even makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Cora, and technically Hawkeye, at the end.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Partially averted vis-a-vis the book, wherein Cora was mixed-race, but Uncas and Alice turn out to be Star-Crossed Lovers. This is a role reversal from the book where Uncas was in love with Cora.
  • Melodrama: Heroic Sacrifice! Heaving bosoms! Long, flowing hair!
  • Mercy Kill: Hawkeye shoots Heyward when the latter is being burned alive and screaming in agony.
  • Mighty Whitey: Definitely present, but mostly subverted. Unlike most versions of this trope where a white male goes native and quickly learns all their ways, Hawkeye was orphaned as a toddler and adopted by the Mohican tribe and grew up with them. While Hawkeye is established to be the best shot of his band of three, and he seems to be the one always taking the lead, it's Chingachgook who defeats the Big Bad.
  • Mobile Menace: Magua.
  • The Mole: Magua again.
  • Motive Rant: Magua delivers one in the final debate.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Hawkeye, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. Uncas too.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Heyward contemplates it a time or two, but never succumbs.
  • The Mutiny: Semi-justified, if only because these are the forefathers of The American Revolution, so...
    • In Real Life tensions between the British crown and the American colonists were building for decades before the Revolution, and this war was the precursor to it.
  • The Native Rival: Completely inverted in the case of Heyward and Cora.
  • Nice Guy: Uncas. Polite, loyal to his family and charming to everyone. He lacks Hawkeye's loathing of the British Army and can be seen in the background assisting wounded soldiers and settlers alike.
  • Noble Savage: Averted. Native characters are portrayed as ranging from noble to brutal and bent on revenge—in other words, just like everyone else.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Chingachgook's duel with Magua isn't so much a duel as Chingachgook hitting Magua repeatedly in the torso and breaking both his arms, before giving him a Coup de Grâce through the abdomen.
  • No-Sell: Cora attempts to pistol whip a Huron, but he shrugs it off and puts her at knifepoint.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: The final showdown between Magua and Chingachgook.
  • Old Master: Chingachgook.
  • One-Man Army: Hawkeye, Chingachgook and Uncas are a Badass Family of these, cutting through enemy warriors left and right with little trouble.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Subverted. The audience knows him as Hawkeye, but most of the characters call him "Nathaniel" (and not "Natty", as he was in the book.)
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Major Duncan Heyward is a capable and effective combatant, but is often upstaged by Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas. Their first encounter has Heyward taking out a couple Mooks and drawing his sword to defend Cora and Alice, before the three Mohicans appear and deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to Magua's remaining warriors.
  • Parent-Child Team: Old Master Chingachgook fights alongside his son Uncas and foster son Hawkeye in several engagements throughout the film. Unfortunately Uncas runs ahead of his family in the finale, which leaves him without backup against Magua.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: The ten-minute finale plays this trope for all it is worth. Bring a box of tissues.
  • Plot Armor: And how. In the film, Alice, Cora and Duncan are the only survivors of two massacres. Until the end anyway, when there's only Cora left.
  • Properly Paranoid: The settlers express the fear that while they are away from their homes as a militia, the French and their Indian allies will attack their homes. Indeed, when Hawkeye, Chingachgook, Uncas, Cora, Alice and Heyward stop by John Cameron's village after the first ambush, the home has been razed and all the occupants murdered.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Magua is very warlike and talks about how he was raised by Mohawk but feels more connected to Huron.
  • Prone to Tears: Alice is younger and more emotionally frail than Cora, though in one scene when Cora tries to spare her feelings, she refuses to be treated like an "invalid."
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Magua's Huron warriors.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery
    Magua: Magua's village and lodges were burnt. Magua's children were killed by the English. I was taken a slave by the Mohawk who fought for the Grey Hair. Magua's wife... believed he was dead, and became the wife of another. The Grey Hair was the father of all that. In time, Magua became blood brother to the Mohawk... to become free. But always in his heart, he is Huron. And his heart will be whole again on the day the Grey Hair and all his seed are dead.
  • Race Lift: In the book, Cora has at least some African ancestry, while this is nowhere to be seen in the film and Madeleine Stowe is as pale as they come. Sachem still refers to Cora as the "dark child of Munro," though this is now apparently a reference to her hair color.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: The colonists and frontiersmen.
    Heyward: And who empowered these colonists to come and go without so much as a "by your leave"?
    Cora: They do not live their lives by your leave! They scratch it out of the wilderness with their own two hands, burying their children along the way!
  • Rasputinian Death: Uncas. Magua stabs him twice, slits his throat and pushes him off a cliff.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Colonel Munro, compared to the other Brits. He refuses to honor the colonists' agreement, but he does so for legitimate military worries of losing his fort. Had his superior officers honored their commitment, he wouldn't have needed the militia. Needless to say, the colonists blame Munro for British duplicity.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Both Hawkeye and Magua mock Mighty Whitey with this.
    • Cora gives Duncan one, which leads to the latter's Heel Realization.
      Duncan: You are defending him because you've become infatuated with him!
      Cora: (firmly) Duncan, you are a man with a few admirable qualities, but taken as a whole, I was wrong to have thought so highly of you.
  • Re-Cut: There are three versions with three different running times: the original 1992 release 112 minute version, the 2001 117 minute director's expanded version, and a 2010 director's definitive cut at 114 minutes.
  • Red Herring: At one point, Heyward pisses off Hawkeye to the point the latter darkly promises, "Someday, I think you and I are going to have a serious disagreement," hinting one of them will come to blows in anger. Instead, Fire-Forged Friends (or, at least, Teeth-Clenched Teamwork) result, with Hawkeye giving Heyward a Mercy Kill.
  • Red Shirt Army: The British Redcoats, by definition. Possibly an Unbuilt Trope.
  • Redemption Equals Death: There is a case to be made for this being the ultimate fate of Duncan Heyward through his self-sacrifice.
  • Rescue Romance: This is basically the whole film. Hawkeye and Uncas barely know Cora and Alice, but they suddenly dedicate themselves to rescuing them from two predicaments because they're obviously sweet on the pretty girls.
  • The Resenter: Heyward after leaving the fort.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Uncas goes on one during the climax to save Alice. Thanks to Magua, it fails miserably.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Chingachgook goes on one of these after Uncas is killed. Subverted because he does it silently; even his howl of grief is inaudible, with only the music playing.
    • Magua's motivation is revenge as well.
  • Say My Name: Hawkeye shouts "Uncas!" as his foster brother's body falls from the cliff. It's the only word during the climax.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: It's the Mohicans' hat! Well, that and Super Running Skills...
    • At one point they track a band of Huron down the middle of a streambed. They know it's a band of Huron because there's only one set of prints (underwater) and Huron always walk single file to hide their numbers.
    • During the "I Will Find You" segment, the Mohicans track Cora and Alice's trail (while running) up a granite rock face.
      • They know where the war party is headed to, and Cora leaves tracks at the edge of the rock face...
  • Scenery Porn: The gorgeous Adirondacks play a big role in the film, and many scenes are set beside gorgeous mountains, rivers, and waterfalls. The film was actually shot in the equally gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Or Daniel Day-Lewis is about to dismember you in the film's cover.
  • Secondary Character Title: Although Hawkeye is the main protagonist, Chingachgook is the titular "Last of the Mohicans".
  • Settling the Frontier: The background setting for the story is the American Frontier and its settlers, and their interactions with the native population.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Montcalm gives a version of this trope when he laments what a shame it is that he can't break his word on the terms of surrender he gave to Munro. He then gives Magua a meaningful look before departing. Sure enough, Magua understands implications as well as he understands English.
  • Shirtless Scene: Hawkeye's shirt magically disappears while hunting.
  • Shown Their Work: One of the first installments in the trend towards super-detailed historical reenactment. The director built a full-scale model of Fort William Henry and blasted it to smithereens, authentic reproduction muskets were made, leather items were all tanned on-set; a linguist was hired to reconstruct a dead Huron dialect for subtitled scenes.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": The sound when Chingachgook hits Magua in the arm with his gun stock club.
  • So Much for Stealth: These guys will pick up on any sound, even the birds not singing.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Uncas and Alice, practically with no dialogue. In the book, he loves General Munro's daughter Cora, who suffered from Half-Breed Discrimination — one of the first interracial romances in American fiction.
  • Start of Darkness: Magua's thirst for revenge against Colonel Munro stems from his children being killed in a British/Mohawk raid on his village that Munro led, then his wife marrying someone else while he was a Mohawk slave, thinking he'd died.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Madeleine Stowe (Cora) and Jodhi May (Alice) are both tall (5'8'), attractive women.
  • Stern Chase: The climax, as Chingachgook, Hawkeye, and Uncas attack Magua's war party to free Alice. It fails.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Whenever there is any disagreement, presumably on the theory that True Drama Requires Shouting.
  • Supporting Leader: Hawkeye.
  • Take Me Instead: When the Sachem's judgment decrees that Cora is to be burned alive to atone for Colonel Munro's sins, Hawkeye tells Heyward to tell the council to have him (Hawkeye) burned instead, as his death would be a victory for the Huron. However, Heyward deliberately mistranslates, so that he, not Hawkeye, is burned to death.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Almost too many examples to count. Pretty much any time the main characters do something awesome in combat (which happens a lot), there will be some epic badass music accompanying the action. This goes for the villains as well. The battle during the last few minutes of the film provides some of the best examples. Another good example is the nighttime sniper scene. Apparently putting silk in your rifle isn't the only thing that improves range and accuracy. Having a great soundtrack in the background helps as well.
  • Third-Person Person: Magua speaks of himself in the third person. Just like that, in fact.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: Downplayed and Zig-Zagged. Cora speaks of the French throwing the British out of North America, but only sarcastically and in the sense that it would be better for the colonists seeing how the British treat them. However the colonists later suffer far worse at the hands of the French and their Indian allies than because of any dispute they had with the British. The French also win every battle in the film, but later in history they will lose the war. It also never occurs to her or any other character that the colonists will break with the British and form their own country after the French are gone, though this should be obvious to the audience.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Chingachgook kills the last Huron in the first ambush by throwing his gunstock club into the man's back.
  • Title Drop:
    Chingachgook: Great Spirit, Maker of All Life. A warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. He is Uncas, my son. Tell them to be patient and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one — I, Chingachgook — last of the Mohicans.
  • Together in Death: A case can be made for this at least being symbolically done with Uncas and Alice. The two had been developing feelings for each other throughout and after he is killed and his body falls from a cliff she quickly jumps off following him. Their bodies lie next to each other at the bottom of the cliff.
  • Tranquil Fury: Chingachgook shows little emotion when dispatching Magua for killing his son, and doesn't crack a tear till after his final speech.
  • Translation Convention: Used and subverted. When characters who speak French are alone, it's spoken in English (oddly, General Montcalm speaks English anyhow with Just An Accent), but Native characters slide in and out of four different languages, which are subtitled for the viewer as Bilingual Dialogue, so all three tropes are used.
  • Translation with an Agenda: Of a heroic sort. Duncan deliberately ignores Hawkeye's demand to be sacrificed instead of Cora, instead telling Sachem to trade Cora with a British officer. Sachem agrees to Duncan's offer.
  • Trouble Entendre: Magua's and Montcalm's Unspoken Plan Guarantee.
    Magua: Does the chief of the Canadas expect the English to honor the terms?
    Montcalm: Col. Munro would. But General Webb will not honor the agreement and send the troops away. I fear that having let them go — which I must — I shall only fight the same men again when I drive towards Albany. (the two exchange a knowing glance)
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Averted by Chingachgook in his opening move against Magua, the roll is very necessary to duck under Magua's swing and hit the Huron In the Back.
  • Unrequited Love: Heyward loves Cora, but she just sees him as a family friend.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: As Magua slits Uncas's throat, he jerks his head away in a brief moment of disgust, presumably from spaying blood.
  • War Is Hell: Getting involved in a war just because you gave your word and fighting alongside allies who don't like you. Worse is when the war comes to your home and you can't defend it. Then you have the native war parties who come out of nowhere and slaughter everyone, including women and children.
  • War Was Beginning: America 1757.
    It is the third year of war between France and England for possession of the continent.
    Three men, the last of a vanishing people, are on the frontier west of the Hudson river.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Tensions between the redcoats and the colonists over things like expanding into the frontier and going home to protect their homes and families from raids stretch their alliance to the breaking point.
  • Weapon Specialization:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While Chingachgook duels Magua, Hawkeye holds the rest of the Huron warriors at rifle-point. In the next scene, Hawkeye speaks to Cora with no indication of what he and Chingachgook did with the remaining Huron. Did they kill them? Did they simply let them go?
  • What You Are in the Dark: When Hawkeye volunteers himself to die in Cora's place, Heyward has the perfect chance to let his romantic rival die, and Cora probably wouldn't even blame him for it. Instead he sacrifices himself.
  • Wicked Cultured: Subverted in an interesting way. Montcalm is shown receiving Indian chiefs as equals and receiving gifts of fealty from them, including a Jesuit choir of Huron women. This is treated as a Pet the Dog moment showing the different French attitudes toward coexisting with natives, instead of implying that he is backstabbing his Indian underlings.
  • Wild Wilderness
  • World Gone Mad: "The whole world's on fire, isn't it?" (cue sweeping music and mortar explosions)
  • Worthy Opponent: Montcalm specifically describes Munro as such.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Magua tries to shoot Cora during the first ambush. Later, he argues for Cora and Alice to be burned alive.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: A leftover from the original script. Duncan says the Huron ambush of his men killed 18 of his men. His escort was 26. (One NCO, one drummer, and 24 privates of which 3 survive).
  • You Are Worth Hell: Hawkeye sticks around the Fort, knowing he could be executed for treason, just to be around Cora.
  • You Make Me Sick: Chingachgook's expression at Magua after killing him, releasing him as if scraping something off his shoe.
  • You Rebel Scum!: Heyward's attitude towards the deserters.

Alternative Title(s): Last Of The Mohicans