It's hard for me to believe this movie is not in the top 250 on IMBD all time list. Without question my favorite movie. We live in a strange world when Pulp Fiction ranks #18, and Dances with Wolves just misses the top 250. Maybe people thought the movie was too long. I thought it was too short if anything. I wish they would have gone on forever. What an incredible story. The way Costner continued to get closer and closer to the Indians way masterfuly done.
One of the great ones (by reporterman2000)
People who say this movie is long and boring have obviously never sat through, oh, "Lawrence of Arabia," "Patton," "Doctor Zhivago," "The Godfather," "Ran," "Seven Samurai," or probably even "Braveheart." Thank God that not every filmmaker believes that a car must explode every 10 seconds in order for his movie to be a success. Kevin Costner is one of those directors who prefers the long format. David Lean, Francis Coppola and Mel Gibson, to name a very few, also worked in that format, and produced lasting works of art that <more>
also packed theaters. There are plenty of options for people who don't like movies that take the time to build character, drama and suspense, movies like "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," "Freddy Vs. Jason," and "Weekend at Bernie's." I don't think any of those movies has ever been called "boring," but they sure are crap cinema.Onward. "Dances With Wolves" thrilled audiences way back in 1990 and made so darn much money precisely because people had forgotten the pleasures of the long narrative, the Western genre, and movies that weren't special effects schlock-fests. It remains an inspiring and moving experience, especially on DVD, which preserves the movie's theatrical sound and picture quality.Costner's direction is first-rate. He's able to blend intimate drama with big, sprawling action that covers a huge canvas. I'm amazed at how smoothly the film segues from movement to movement -- action, alienation, suspense, social commentary, romance. Heck, Spielberg could take a lesson or two from this movie.He also gets great performances out of his cast. I don't think of these people as actors, but as the characters they play. That's a compliment not just to the actors themselves, but their director. And, yes, Costner is terrific as John Dunbar.Sure, it's easy to call "Dances" politically correct w/ reference to the Indians. But it also treats them as people and, better yet, as fictional characters whose lives are made part of a fascinating narrative. I just consider all the complaints about the politics of this movie as total hogwash.Finally, the movie is beautifully shot, has an unforgettable score, and is very well-written. I've never thought of "Dances" as a Western, but a modern action picture/character study that avoids all the boring cliches of the Western genre. Here is a movie that stands for something, means something, and deserves at least as much respect as some of the overrated dreck we've gotten saddled with lately.
It's hard for me to believe that fourteen years have passed since I first saw this movie. I was only ten at the time, and this was the first movie I ever saw that was both an eye-filling and a mind-filling spectacle. It was also one of only two theater-going experiences that I ever had with my late grandmother, and I always think of her when I watch this movie. It always takes me back to an earlier time in my life no matter how many times I see it.This is one movie that could only have been made in the post-Vietnam era, when Americans began to question the moral integrity of their <more>
country. How else to explain, in the opening sequence depicting the Civil War, the utter cynicism of the soldier who speaks with Costner's Dunbar character? Or Dunbar's later observation that "there was no dark political objective" to the Sioux battling the Pawnee? The scene in which Dunbar receives his orders from the mentally ill major also seems to speak of Vietnam, the point being I think that while an entire generation of young men was being cut down in the Civil War the West was being managed by those who were not fit for duty in the larger conflict. Maury Chaykin, in that one scene, gives one of the most memorable and haunting performances I've seen in any film.This movie's depiction of Native Americans is not nearly as politically correct as it may seem to those who watch it only once or only at a superficial level. In the very first scene depicting Indians, in fact, a Pawnee brave shoots one of the white characters full of arrows and then scalps him. The unrepentant villainy of Wes Studi's character, in particular, recalls the moral simplicity of countless earlier Westerns.Even the most sympathetic Indian character in the movie, Kicking Bird, is not kind to Dunbar merely to be friendly but because he believes he can get useful information out of the white soldier about the other whites who are encroaching on Sioux territory. The interaction between Dunbar and the Sioux is powerfully effective precisely because the Sioux remain true to themselves. They are not cartoonishly hostile like the Indians depicted in old Westerns, but they are not soft or naïve either. While this movie draws its inspiration from American epics as diverse as The Birth of a Nation 1915 and The Searchers 1956 , its originality lies not only in its respect for Native Americans but also in its intensely personal treatment of the main character. Few other three-hour epics Lawrence of Arabia and Braveheart come to mind have developed their protagonists as fully and dynamically as this movie develops Costner's Dunbar character.Even after fourteen years, the Dunbar character's arc, going from a suicidal soldier in the opening sequence to an adopted Sioux who in the final scenes puts the needs of his people ahead of his own, is still one of the most remarkable I've seen in any movie. Costner's performance won no awards that I know of, but it provides the movie's indispensably tight focus. He's completely convincing every step of the way, if a bit too clumsy and self-effacing at times, hitting his head in the dark and fainting after a confrontation in a heavy-handed attempt to demystify the West.Another quality this movie shares with The Searchers is that it associates the physical challenges of the frontier with the testing of the soul. The Dunbar character cleans out the watering hole at the fort because he refuses to lose his humanity like the men before him who abandoned the fort. Later he cannot decide whether he feel more or less at home in the presence of the Sioux, because he is struggling to remain true to himself even as he remains unsure of who he is.This movie probably disappoints viewers who are looking for sheer entertainment. It's a quiet, thoughtful story, and although there is action in it the focus is on how the action transforms the characters particularly Dunbar rather than on the action itself. You won't see any computer-generated comic-book characters in this movie, but you will see real people having real conversations, and you'll see Costner and costar Mary McDonnell engaging in such intimate and convincing love scenes that you'll forget they're acting!If I could rate the musical score for this movie by itself I'd give it a perfect 10, because it's one of the best I've ever heard, able to stand on its own but fitting the movie like a glove. It is sentimental without being schmaltzy, noble without being pretentious. Best of all, it captures the hesitant emotions of the story, the sense of curiosity overcoming fear and becoming trust.Only this movie's extreme length works against its total success, particularly in the special edition that runs nearly four hours. The three-hour theatrical version is still long, but it's difficult to say what should have been left out of it.Some people still resent the fact that Costner won the Best Director Oscar over Scorcese's Goodfellas. There's no question that Scorcese is the better director, but I believe the direction of Dances With Wolves is better than that of Goodfellas. If you disagree with me try this test: imagine that Scorcese did this movie, and Costner directed Goodfellas. It's a question of which directing job is better, not which director is better.Unlike most epics, this movie ends exactly as it should. The final images, such as the journal floating down the river, the white man and the Native American speaking English to each other, and the brave shouting his farewell from the top of a cliff, are so beautiful and dreamlike that they manage to be both joyful and sad. This is a movie that looks into the very fabric of this country's past, and asks us to do the same.Rating: 10 Good job, everybody.
What the heck are people thinking! There are way too many Costner bashers on the internet. This was a revolutionary motion picture at its time, never has a story about the American indians ever been told with such emotion and grace. What a sham. For the record Costner is not that bad of an actor.9/10
One of the 15 best Movies of all Time (by mrbluto)
Dances with Wolves is a great movie, make no mistake about that, Kevin Costner had lighting in a bottle. Costner has not come close to movie success since wolves. The cast is excellent, Kicking Bird, Stands with Fist, Wind in his Hair and my quiet favorite smiles a lot, smiles a Lot had trouble with growing up and becoming a brave, until it is forced on him, his mood after he has killed the first time is priceless. Some people say Dances with Wolves was an anti white movie, that is total bull, it tells the true story the way few movies have of the cruelty of the white people. People don't <more>
want to admit this movie is a true telling of the way white people treat other races and nature. It is a hard movie to digest.It is a hard movie to admit the truth. The other thought is a lot of movie fans want car chases and explosions. If a movie is thoughtful, it is labeled boring. Dances is one of the top 15 movies of all time. 9 out of 10 stars. Dances with wolves I am wind in his hair Do you see that I am your friend? Can you see that you will always be my friend?
A magnificent tribute for a culture lost over time (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
"Dances With Wolves" is another great period piece that I can watch at least once a year, never tiring of the western frontier against mesmerizing setting and John Barry's Oscar-winning stirring music The motion picture is told through the words and experiences of a civil war soldier, Lieutenant John Dunbar, and Costner makes it an intensely spiritual journey which challenges the individual in so many ways After his suicidal and successful ride on the battlefield, Lt. Dunbar accidentally leads Union troops to victory against the Confederates He is allowed to select his own <more>
reassignment John opts to retreat into the wilderness, to the furthest frontier, where both the Sioux and Pawnee Indians still rule The film perfectly captures the finest kind of American audacity when Costner rides out alone in the Lakota plains, wearing full dress uniform and holding the large American flag to formally introduce himself to his Sioux neighbors and the worst of America, the cruelty exercised by the army when it's found he's a Yankee soldier turned Indian and arrested as a traitor But it's the gentle humor and intimate moments of the movie which give Costner's ambitious epic Western its special flavor: scenes with Dunbar and his wild wolf Two Socks not daring, at first, to eat from his hand; his funny first encounter with a peaceful man Kicking Bird Graham Greene ; his love story with a stolen white woman living with the tribe called Stands With a Fist Mary McDonnell ; his relationship with a fierce impulsive warrior Wind in His Hair Rodney A. Grant ; and many others as Black Shawl Tantoo Cardinal advising her husband on affairs of the heart With its share of bow-and-arrow fights, joyous buffalo hunts, and unprecedented tender feelings for the American Indians, "Dances With Wolves" remains an amazing accomplishment and a magnificent tribute for a culture lost over time
A not-so-average Western that still does the trick after so many years (by philip_vanderveken)
"Dances with Wolves" is hated by quite a lot of people. Is it perhaps because the Indians aren't depicted as the bad guys for once or is it because this isn't the usual Western in which you'll not find a justification for the slaughtering of the Indians? Is it because it is very long or is it because Kevin Costner is in it? I don't know, but I do know it is very cool to dislike everything he has done, but I'm not following the masses. I can still think for myself and I must say that, even though the man has done some bad projects for instance <more>
"Waterworld" , this movie is absolutely one of his best.The movie starts with showing us a wounded Lieutenant John Dunbarr Kevin Costner who is about to have his leg amputated. Because he wants to keep it, he decides to flee and go back to his troops. Than he does something stupid. He takes a horse and starts running in front of the rebel front line, but doesn't get hit once. His troops, overwhelmed by so much 'bravery' all jump up and start fighting again and eventually win the battle. Because a general has seen what happened, Dunbarr gets the honor of having his wounds being treated by the general's surgeon, who saves his leg. Now that he feels better again, he asks to be send to a remote outpost in the West. Arriving there, he finds himself in the middle of the wilderness, all alone and surrounded by hostile Sioux. His only companion is his horse and an old wolf that he calls Two-socks. Gradually he gets accepted by the tribe, where he is known as "Dances with Wolves" and falls in love with "Stands With a Fist", a white woman who had been adopted as a young girl and was raised by the tribe. But while he is living with the Indians, the West is very fast being conquered and one day he finds new troops in his camp and even though he is an American soldier, he is seen as a traitor.I've always had a weak spot for the not-so-average Western, so when this movie first came out I was already a fan. Now, so many years after it was first shown, this is still one of the best Westerns ever. I like the fact that it shows the Indians not as savages, but as normal, loving people who only defended what was rightfully theirs. I like the fact that the movie isn't sugar sweet, but shows every detail very realistically. I even like the fact that the soldiers are seen as the bad guys for once. Add to this some very good acting and directing and an interesting story and you know you've got something special. This is a very good movie that should be seen by everybody. I give it an 8/10.
Some movies are meant to just stay in their own place, however, "Dances with Wolves" is meant to be in more than one place.Kevin Costner shines in this movie as the witty and wonderful John Dunbar, who gets transported to the West to be inhabited by Indians in this Oscar Winning film. Costner plays a Civil War veteran that is sent out West after getting a great honor, and hope that troops would come with him. When he realizes that the people he lives with are Lakota Native Americans , he starts to adapt to their lifestyle, learning their language, and learning some of their values, <more>
such as following the buffalo, and even falls in love with a white women Mary McDonnell , who became a Lakota following her family being massacred by Pawnee Indians.The movie is both touching, and tragic, as we all know what happens as a result of what happens to them, but the movie tries to show the happiness in how they each try and make the best of hard situations killing off Buffalo, taking away land , as the movie progresses, it gets a bit slower, but its worth some of the wait.Excellent film making.
"Avatar": making "Dances With Wolves" look good since 2009 (by tieman64)
"Avatar" vs "Dances With Wolves". Round One. Fight! 1. Sam Worthington and Kevin Costner both play soldiers. Worthington comes across as a brain dead jar-head, whilst Costner's character is a bit more complex, at once naive, disillusioned, smart and funny. One point to Costner.2. Both films utilise extensive voice over narration. Costner's is better written. One more point to Costner.3. Cameron was an experienced director when he made "Avatar" and should have known better. Costner, in contrast, was young, inexperienced and on debut. One point to Costner <more>
for being a directorial virgin.4. "Avatar" was a zillion dollar enterprise. Costner partially financed this movie himself and based it on a script by a broke guy who slept in his house. One point to Costner's film for having a low carbon footprint.5. Both films have heroes who abandon a technologically superior race and "go native" by joining an alien tribe. In "Wolves", the tribe is slow to embrace the white hero. In "Avatar", Cameron cheats by making his hero "prophecised by the planet"; they have to embrace him. One point to Costner for not trying to rip off George Lucas' "Force".6. "Avatar" looks like a video game. One point to "Wolves" for not looking like "Avatar"7. "Wolves", though stupid, is filled with nuance, subtle details and quiet moments. "Avatar" bashes our heads with everything. One point to Costner for not damaging our heads.8. "Avatar" has horses with six legs whilst "Wolves" has horses with 4 legs. One point to Costner for not making stupid crap up.9. Costner's film emphasises the communication barriers between the natives and the hero, albeit clunkily. In "Avatar", communication issues are quickly brushed aside. One point to "Wolves".10. Cameron's film doesn't show much of the customs or daily activities of the natives. One point to Costner.11. Costner is embraced by the tribe after taming a wolf, rescuing a woman and hunting buffalo. Worthington is embraced by the tribe after riding a dragon. Dragon's are stupid. One more point to Costner.12. Colonialists are portrayed as one-dimensional villains in both films. In Costner's film, however, these villains only appear during a brief climax. One point to Costner for serving less crap.13. Both films portray the natives in a romantic, "noble savage" fashion. In "Wolves", however, the tribe is shown at war with rival tribes and massacres a white homestead. This does not quite counteract the sentimental portrayal of the natives throughout the rest of Costner's picture, but on the flip side, "Wolves" has the arduous task of revising 80 years of racist cinematic portrayals of Native Americans. "Avatar", in comparison is...well it's just stupid. One more point to Costner.14. The natives in "Wolves" belong to the Sioux tribe. The natives in "Avatar" are at once Native Indians, Rastafarians, Africans, hippies, Smurfs, cats, aliens, Disney creatures and Egyptians. One point to Costner for offending less races.15. The characters in Costner's film have cool symbolic names like "Stands with Fist". In "Avatar", we have symbolic names like Navi naive , Selfridge selfish , Grace Augustine possesses grace like St Augustine? , Pandora trouble when opened and Sully he's tainted . One point to Costner for not being Cameron.16. Cameron's film has unimaginative action scenes. "Wolves" has no real action scenes. It's more of a tone poem, and aesthetically thwarts genre expectations. One more point to Costner.17. The first five decades of cinema portrayed native American Indians in an incredibly racist fashion. "Broken Arrow" was the first film to rectify this, before revisionist westerns began to appear in the 1970s, with masterpieces like Altman's "Buffalo Bill", "Ulzana's Raid", "Hombre" and marginally interesting films like "A Man Called Horse", "Soldier Blue" and "Cheyenne Autumn". When "Wolves" was released, films about Native Americans became increasingly melancholic, mourning the loss of a race which history had now accepted as being "ethnically cleansed". Is Costner's film more melancholic than "Avatar"? Yes. One point to Costner.18. Both films have been praised for their cinematography. Costner's compositions are simple and lack any significant depth, purpose or weight, but he should be commended for the poetic and ethereal style of the film. It's Malick-lite, but it's brave. "Avatar" looks like fluorescent vomit. One point to Costner.19. Bizarrely, both films have the white hero having sex with a native girl, as though this transfer of bodily fluids unifies races and symbolically brings rival cultures together. Insultingly, the native is deemed inhuman unless accepted as a white man's object of desire. Half a point to Costner.20. When "Wolves" was released it was fresh and relatively original. "Avatar" is one cliché after the next. One point to Costner for not being an unimaginative plagiarist.21. "Avatar" was bashed for the "white saviour" cliché. This cliché, or fantasy, involves white heroes "saving" a "victimized tribe" by becoming a top dog within the tribe, the white man always retaining his dominant position. In "Wolves", Costner remains inept throughout, is rescued by the natives and ABANDONS the natives when the white man attacks. In the "director's cut" we even become aware that he never understands Sioux traditions and will never be able to assimilate. One point to "Wolves" for being intellectually defensible.22. "Avatar" ends with the white man attacking the natives. "Wolves" has no crowd pleasing action scenes and instead hints at the slaughter of the natives with a simple shot of a Spanish helmet. One point to Costner for poetry.8/10 – "Wolves" wins. The 4 hour cut in particular is a great film which avoids the sentimental pro-Sioux feel of the 3 hour cut. See too "Ulzana's Raid", "Hombre" and Altman's "Sitting Bull".