The White Dawn

The White Dawn is a 1974 Canadian/American film directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Warren Oates, Timothy Bottoms, and Louis Gossett, Jr. It portrays the conflict between aboriginal peoples' traditional way of life and Europeans' eagerness to take advantage of them. The film employs authentic Inuit language dialogue. It is based on the 1971 novel The White Dawn: An Eskimo Saga by James Archibald Houston, who co-wrote the screenplay.

The White Dawn
Directed byPhilip Kaufman
Produced byMartin Ransohoff
Written bynovel James Houston
Martin Ransohoff
James Houston
Thomas Rickman
StarringWarren Oates
Timothy Bottoms
Louis Gossett Jr.
Music byHenry Mancini
CinematographyMichael Chapman
Edited byDouglas Stewart
American Film Properties
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
21 July 1974 (New York City, New York)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States


When three whalers become stranded in Northern Canada’s Arctic in 1896, they are rescued by Inuit. In the beginning, the Inuit accept the strangers' European ways, but as this increasingly influences and affects their customs, things slowly fall apart and cultural tension grows until the climax.


  • Warren Oates – Billy
  • Timothy Bottoms – Daggett
  • Louis Gossett, Jr. – Portagee
  • Joanasie Salomonie – Kangiak
  • Pilitak – Neevee
  • Simonie Kopapik – Sarkak
  • Namonai Ashoona – Nowya
  • Tchomalai – Ratchepa
  • Higa Ipeelie – Evaloo
  • Oolipika Joamie – Mia
  • Meetook Mallee – Ikuma
  • Neelak – Panee
  • Seemee Nookiguak – Avinga
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