Comparison Films

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998)

Pocahontas II is Disney’s answer to the negative criticism that they received for the first Pocahontas.  As a sequel, Pocahontas II picks up right where the first one left off, and it includes the latter part of her life.  Pocahontas is mourning over the rumor that John Smith is dead, just as she did historically.  John Rolfe, Pocahontas’ real husband, has made it into this version, and he offers to take Pocahontas to meet King James I.  Disney manages to leave Pocahontas’ conversion out of this tale, and, instead, she freely goes to England.  She discovers that John Smith is alive, but she has already fallen in love with the English gentleman, John Rolfe.  She manages to convert to the English culture, and she sets the example that her people are not savages.  She successfully stops the armada from going to war with the Indians, and as she boards the ship, she sails back to her land in the arms of John Rolfe.  This film is filled with more historical accuracies than the first, and Disney has written John Rolfe back into the history of Pocahontas. (See commentary on this film in the issue essay by Lynn Dukette and Dani Frisbie.)

Captain John Smith and Pocahontas (1953)

Captain John Smith and Pocahontas deals with the legend of John Smith and Pocahontas, while also including John Rolfe.  John Smith does not get along with the other colonists and constantly fights with them over trying to keep peace with the Indians.  John Smith sets out to talk to Powhatan, when the Indians capture him.  This film also includes a rescue scene when Pocahontas saves the life of John Smith, right before he is about to be beheaded.  Pocahontas and John Smith are then married until he is wounded and has to return to England.  Pocahontas hears that he has died, and she falls in love with John Rolfe and they get married.  There are a lot of historical accuracies in the film, as well as a lot of make-believe.  The Indians are played by Caucasians, and their attire is typical Hollywood.  John Rolfe appears, even though the movie title is Captain John Smith and Pocahontas.

Other films:

Ikwe (1987),  Lakota Woman (1994),  The Light in the Forest (1958),  Squanto: A Warrior's Tale (1995)

Copyright (c) 1999 by Jennifer Lori Lackner, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.

This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of the U.S. copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access.  Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author.