Rewarded for his heroism in the Civil War, Lt. John Dunbar wants to see the American frontier before it is gone. He is assigned to an abandoned fort, where a Sioux tribe is his only neighbor. Overcoming the language barrie... more »r and their mutual fear and distrust, Dunbar and the proud Indians gradually become friends. Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, Kevin Costner.« less
"Kevin Costner directed, produced and starred in the 1990 western epic "Dances with Wolves", which was based upon the novel of the same name by author Michael Blake, who also wrote the film's screenplay. Costner plays U.S. Army Lieutenant John G. Dunbar during and shortly after the U.S. Civil War. Following a victory with Union troops under his command, he requests an assignment to the western frontier and is assigned to an isolated military outpost in the Dakota Territory. John waits patiently for other troops to arrive at the outpost, but they never do. With no means to communicate with his superiors, John bides his time by taking care of the outpost and himself, as well as writing in his journal. A nearby wolf begins to take an interest in John. At first, he tries to chase the wolf away, but eventually, the wolf becomes John's unwitting companion. Later, John realizes that there is a nearby Native American Sioux tribe. Members of the tribe meet John, but since they do not have a common language to speak with one another, they are somewhat suspicious of him. Later, they invite John to visit their encampment where he sees a Caucasian woman (Mary McDonnell) living with them. She remembers a little English is able to talk with him and tells him that her name is Stands With A Fist. Eventually, John learns how to speak Sioux and is adopted by the tribe after he helps them.Originally released at 183 minutes (three hours), the film may seem long; but the characters, story and cinematography keep most viewers fully engaged. The extended director's version is even longer at 236 minutes (four hours). The primary Sioux characters are Kicking Bird (Graham Greene, whose career in film was boosted greatly by this film), Wind in His Hair (Rodney A. Grant), the elder Ten Bears (Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman) and Black Shawl (Tantoo Cardinal). The film won seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director (Kevin Costner), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Music, Best Sound and Best Writing--Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Michael Blake). Kevin Costner received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, Graham Greene was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Mary McDonnell was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.Overall, I rate "Dances with Wolves" with 5 out of 5 stars not only for being a very engaging film, but also for its very positive portrayal of Native American life in the former western frontier. Some people may find the film too long, some may be offended by the negative portrayal of U.S. Army soldiers and some may be offended by the negative portrayal of Pawnee tribespeople. Unfortuneately, none of Costner's works following "Dances with Wolves" have been as good. Films that Costner only starred in such as "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (1991), "A Perfect World" (1993) and "Wyatt Earp" (1994) were entertaining; but films that he both starred in and directed were box office disasters: "Waterworld" (1995) and "The Postman" (1997). Perhaps his next directorial work (that he also stars in) will be better: "Open Range", slated for release in May, 2003."
Great Movie - 237 Minute Version is FAR Superior.
Jason W. Smith | McAllen, Texas - United States | 01/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No movie before or since has gotten to me the way "Dances With Wolves" has (it would have been even better if some guy in the theater hadn't blurted out the climax: "Hey, this is the part where..." UGH!). Though not without its flaws (the idea of a white cavalry officer deserting to join a Sioux Indian tribe--and then actually succeeding--is a bit of a stretch in the historical context) the movie is so good that you don't care! This is what movie magic is all about, the suspension of disbelief, and Costner is a master here. The photography is breathtaking, the acting outstanding, and the musical score...well, I think it speaks for itself (BRILLIANT!). A truly remarkable picture, and when one considers this as Costner's directorial debut...WOW! Is it any wonder everything he has made since, regardless of its quality, has seemed anti-climactic? If you love epic tales that don't put you to sleep, this is the one. Also, if you haven't seen the Expanded Edition at 237 minutes you are truly missing out. I hope it is released on DVD soon. If this movie doesn't bring a tear to your eye then you need your heart examined! Five stars."
Special Edition coming soon
M. Hart | 07/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The studio is currently working on a 2 disc special edition for this movie,the dvd should br released sometime in early 2003.The rumour is that it will contain the 181 minute verion and the 237 minute version.It will also have documentaries on the making of the film,production notes,trailers,commentary and many more special features."
A Rare View of My Tribe
J. Redbird | Tucson, AZ United States | 09/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Dances With Wolves first came out, I had some doubts about seeing it. All of my life I had seen movies that either presented my tribe (the "Sioux" or more accurately the "Lakota") as a bunch of savages, or used non-Native American actors to portray "Indian" roles. The book, Dances with Wolves was dumb (they were Comanches???). The movie surprised me. If it hadn't been for Kevin Costner's acting, I would give this five stars. He did a great job of directing the movie, but he came across as a total idiot in the movie ( in my opinion). What I liked most about the film was the accuracy, and use of the language (which was my first tongue), as well as the Native American cast. The extended version is even better, filling in a few gaps, and expanding on a few scenes that needed it. Overall, a very good movie; I can't count how many times I have seen it."
AMERICAN MASTERPIECE - FULLY RESTORED ON DVD
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 05/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Dances With Wolves" is the epic, revisionist western directed by and starring Kevin Costner. In scope and size, this is one galliant, masterfully directed motion picture and the well-deserving recipient of 9 Academy Awards. PLOT: After surviving a suicide charge on the field of honor, Major John Dunbar travels to the west, establishing a life-long friendship with the Sioux Indians.
Originally running nearly three hours in theaters, a full hour of footage was excised to keep the already elephantine running time manageable. For years, on VHS and DVD, only the theatrical cut of this film has been made available, though Image laserdisc did release the full 3 hr. 58 min. version in a deluxe box set back in the mid-1990's. That fully restored running time is finally given the full digital treatment via this DVD release. Too lengthy to fit on one side of a DVD, MGM has spread the feature film over two sides on the first disc. Since no intermission was ever intended, the cut comes about midway through and is obtrusive to your viewing experience. However, as there is no other way to ensure the intregity of compression artifacts, this cut is, if not forgiveable, at least palpable.
MGM DVD has done a very nice job on remastering "Dances With Wolves". The original DVD from Image Entertainment had deeper contrast and black levels, but adjusting the contrast on one's television corrects the softer levels on this disc. Shadow delineation is beautifully rendered. Colors are vibrant, bold and accurate. Some minor edge enhancement occurs but shimmering and pixelization are at a bare minimum. The audio is 5.1 and pretty much the same mix as the original Image DVD.
EXTRAS: Audio commentaries that are, for the most part, interesting, an all-new production featurette, the original featurette and a host of other well-meaning, though rather lack luster extras that have merely been designed to fill up space on disc #2. I must also give MGM less than top marks for their packaging. After the handsomely bound "West Side Story" special edition I was perhaps expecting too much to think that, even though a leather bound case would be out of the question for "Dances With Wolves", at the very least we'd get something stronger in faux leather (like the "Pearl Harbor" disc packaging) than the flimsy, barely cardboard, shell we do get with its Velcro snapper. Taaa-cky!
BOTTOM LINE: This is the definitive version of "Dances With Wolves". It is the way Costner and his production team intended you to experience the movie and it is most definitely worth every penny to buy. Enjoy!"