What is the Significance Behind the Title ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’?

Killers of the Flower Moon, a phrase that poetically captures the essence of a tragic chapter in American history, serves as the title for Martin Scorsese’s latest film. This gripping crime drama, adapted from David Grann’s 2017 novel, stars renowned actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Lily Gladstone. The film is already released on October 20, 2023, delves into the heart-wrenching events known as the Reign of Terror against the Osage Nation in the 1920s.

The Historical Context of Killers of the Flower Moon

The title Killers of the Flower Moon symbolizes a dark period marked by the brutal murders of Osage people following the discovery of oil in Oklahoma during the 1920s. This period referred to as the Reign of Terror, saw the Osage Nation fall victim to avaricious white settlers eager to seize the newfound wealth. The film promises to unravel this mystery, shedding light on a significant yet often overlooked episode of American history.

The Significance of the Flower Moon

The term Flower Moon, derived from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, signifies the full moon in May, coinciding with the blooming of flowers in North America. This natural phenomenon metaphorically represents the events in the Osage territory, where the burgeoning wealth from oil discoveries led to the tragic demise of the Osage people, akin to smaller flowers being overshadowed and destroyed by larger plants. The analogy, intricately explained in Grann’s book, underscores the theme of exploitation and cultural obliteration depicted in Killers of the Flower Moon.

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Exploring the Film’s Adaptation

Scorsese’s adaptation of Killers of the Flower Moon has garnered attention for its compelling storytelling and exceptional performances. The narrative, anchored in historical truth, portrays the systematic annihilation of the Osage Nation, mirroring the ruthless elimination of smaller flowers in nature. This poignant portrayal is expected to bring a new level of awareness and understanding of this somber event in American history.

Broader Cultural References in Killers of the Flower Moon

The concept of the Flower Moon and the Reign of Terror has transcended the specific events of the 1920s, influencing other works of art and literature. For instance, Osage writer John Joseph Matthews, in his novel and other writings, echoes the environmental and cultural themes present in the Osage territory during this time. Elise Paschen, another Osage writer, poignantly captures the essence of these events in her poetry, offering a deeply personal perspective on the tragedy.

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The Relevance of Killers of the Flower Moon Today

As Killers of the Flower Moon becomes available for streaming on Apple TV+ in the U.S., its relevance extends beyond mere entertainment. The film invites viewers to reflect on a significant yet painful part of American history, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging and learning from past injustices. Through its poignant title and narrative, Killers of the Flower Moon not only tells a story of a specific community’s struggle but also holds a mirror to broader themes of exploitation, cultural erasure, and the fight for justice.


Killers of the Flower Moon, with its evocative title and powerful storytelling, is more than just a film. It’s a historical reflection, a cultural commentary, and a reminder of a past that should not be forgotten. As audiences prepare to witness this adaptation of a tragic chapter in American history, the film stands as a testament to the enduring power of storytelling in shedding light on the darker aspects of our shared past.


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