Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The New World (2005)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The New World (2005)

In writer/director Terrence Malick's visually-stunning poetic historical epic and costume drama - his fourth feature film, with a score enhanced by Mozart's concerto and a recurring prelude from Wagner's Das Rheingold, and marked by the extensive use of narrated internal monologues:

  • the evocative opening sequence, beginning with a narrated invocation by a female voice (presumably Pocahontas): "Come, Spirit. Help us sing the story of our land. You are our mother, we your field of corn. We rise from out of the soul of you" - hands extended upward from an unidentified figure (shot from a low-angle), who was also swimming underwater with two other nude maidens; the narration continued: "Dear Mother. You fill the land with your beauty. You reach to the end of the world. How shall I seek you? Show me your face, you, the great river that never runs dry"
  • the arrival of three ships on the coast of the New World in Virginia, in the year 1607 - with the natives on land astonished, curious, and fearful of the foreign vessels; the expedition was led by Captain Christopher Newport (Christopher Plummer) with a landing party, with the objective of establishing a colony
(Narration) "We rise from out of the soul of you"
Unidentified Figure
Three Nude Maidens Swimming Underwater
  • the introduction of idealistic and stubborn prisoner Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell), who was removed from being held under the deck, brought to shore, and was pardoned from being hanged for mutiny, and admonished sternly by Captain Newport: "Now remember, Smith, you come to these shores in chains. You’re under a cloud, which will darken considerably if I hear any more of your mutinous remarks. Is that understood?"
  • the dialogue-free sequence of the first encounter between the Europeans and the so-called "naturals" - who timidly visited and approached the strange visitors "like a herd of curious deer"
  • the scene in which Captain Smith was chosen by Captain Newport ("You have an opportunity to repair your reputation") to lead an envoy inland; when the group became lost, it was confronted and attacked, and Smith was captured by the natives; as the legend told, he was brought before local Chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg), when the lovely and graceful "princess" Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher), the favored daughter of Powhatan, saved him from death out of curiosity and empathy ("At the moment I was to die, she threw herself upon me"); she spoke to her father: "Spare his life"; Powhatan responded: "He can teach her about his land across the waves"
  • the sublime, idyllic sequences of them falling deeply in love - as he taught her English words for various objects: ("Sky," "Sun," "Water," "Wind," "Eyes," "Lips," "Moon," "Smoke," "Fire," "Heat" .); in narration (off-screen), Smith described her: "Her father had a dozen wives, but she was his favorite. She exceeded the rest not only in feature and proportion, but in wit and spirit too. All loved her"; he also described the native people: "They are gentle, loving, faithful, lacking in all guile and trickery. The words denoting lying, deceit, greed, envy, slander and forgiveness have never been heard. They have no jealousy, no sense of possession. Real, what I thought a dream"
  • with the love of Pocahontas, Captain Smith realized his life's transformation: "I was a dead man, now I live...There is only this. All else is unreal"; as they made love, Pocahontas spoke (in voice-over): "Oh, to be given to you, you to me. I will be faithful to you. True. Two no more. One. One. I am. I am"
  • eventually forced to leave the tribal group, Capt. Smith was returned to the English settlement, where he was confronted by lack of leadership, in-fighting, starvation, crime, disease and other evils (cannibalism) in contrast to the natives; Smith felt like he had been awakened from his "dream"; during the winter, the "Princess" brought a rescue party with food, clothing, and supplies to the beleaguered and starving Jamestown fort inhabitants - where Smith had been appointed governor; they were briefly reacquainted, but Smith feared if they showed too much recognition, her life was in danger; she asked: "Why have you not come to me?...Who are you whom I love?"; although there was a time of falling back in love, the two realized the difficulties inherent in their relationship (Smith: "Where would we live? In the woods? On a treetop? A hole in the ground?")
Smith Returned to Jamestown
The Drab Rundown Settlement
Pocahontas Saving the Jamestown Settlement
  • the scene of Pocahontas' despair and mourning for the death of Captain Smith when he abandoned her to search for the Northwest Passage, and she was told that he had died during his ambitious journeys (a false claim)
  • Pocahontas, now married to loyal farmer-husband John Rolfe (Christian Bale), was summoned to England to meet King James (Jonathan Pryce); she experienced an uncomfortable reunion scene in the garden of a country estate with her first love: regretful Jamestown explorer Captain John Smith, as they remembered their past together, and he admitted that he had made a mistake in leaving her: Smith: "Did I make a mistake in coming here?...Perhaps I'm out of order speaking with you this way, but I've thought of you often....You knew I had promise, didn't you?" Pocahontas answered: "Yes. Did you find your Indies, John? (pause) You shall" - he replied: "I may have sailed past them" - Smith responded that what they had in Virginia (the New World) in their past was not a dream but the real 'truth': "I thought it was a dream - what we knew in the forest. It's the only truth. It seems as if I was speaking to you for the first time"; she slightly bowed to him, turned, and sadly walked away
  • their reunion was followed by her expression of fully devoted love (and kiss) to her husband John Rolfe at the estate; she walked up to him and gave him an arm embrace; and then she asked: "Could we not go home?" and he responded: "As soon as possible"; she devotedly called him: "My husband" as she gave him a kiss
Reunion of Captain John Smith with Pocahontas in England
and Love For Husband John Rolfe
  • in the film's conclusion, she was running and playing hide-and-seek with her only child Thomas (Jonathan Gonitel) in a manicured English garden of the estate; but before returning to the New World with Rolfe, Pocahontas acquired pneumonia and died in bed (with her weeping husband next to her), on the 13th of April, 1616; in voice-over, and in death, Pocahontas closed her eyes and spoke to her mother: "Mother, now I know where you live"
  • Rolfe's words (in voice-over) described her death, as he read his letter addressed to their son Thomas about his deceased Native-American mother (aka Rebecca): "Dear Son, I write this so that someday in the future you might understand a circumstance which shall be but a far memory to you. Your dear mother, Rebecca, fell ill in our outward passage at Gravesend. She gently reminded me that all must die. 'Tis enough,' she said, that you, our child, should live"
  • in the last sequence, Rolfe and the boy set sail for America, and the film closed with shots of the clear streams and towering forests of the New World

Rolfe and Son Thomas Onboard
Sailing for America
The New World

The Landing Witnessed by Natives

Captain John Smith
(Colin Farrell) Pardoned from Hanging

Initial Contact Between 'Naturals' and British Expedition in New World

Captain Smith's First Sighting of Pocahontas

Pocahontas Pleading for Captain Smith's Life

Falling in Love - Teaching Pocahontas English Words for Objects

Making Love

Winter Scene: Smith's Brief Reacquaintance with Pocahontas

Running and Playing in English Gardens with Son Thomas

(voice-over) "Mother, now I know where you live"

Rolfe Grieving at Pocahontas' (Rebecca's) Deathbed


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