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Dances with Wolves (1990)

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Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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901 ( 384)
Won 7 Oscars. Another 43 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ten Bears (as Floyd Red Crow Westerman)
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Jimmy Herman ...
Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse ...
...
Otter
Jason R. Lone Hill ...
Worm
Tony Pierce ...
Spivey
Doris Leader Charge ...
Pretty Shield
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Storyline

Lt. John Dunbar is dubbed a hero after he accidentally leads Union troops to a victory during the Civil War. He requests a position on the western frontier, but finds it deserted. He soon finds out he is not alone, but meets a wolf he dubs "Two-socks" and a curious Indian tribe. Dunbar quickly makes friends with the tribe, and discovers a white woman who was raised by the Indians. He gradually earns the respect of these native people, and sheds his white-man's ways. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Lt. John Dunbar is about to discover the frontier...within himself. See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Danza con lobos  »

Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$184,208,848 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended) | (director's cut) | (DVD special edition)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As a joke, most of the cast and crew assigned each other Indian names. Editor Neil Travis was "Over the Hill" and the script supervisor was "Sand In Her Teeth" because she used to smile a lot. See more »

Goofs

When Dunbar first arrives in the Sioux Camp "Wind In His Hair" is already wearing the army jacket that Dunbar gives him much later. See more »

Quotes

John Dunbar: [at the celebration of the buffalo feast, noticing a big Sioux man has his Lieutenant's hat] That's my hat... that's my hat!
Big Warrior: [in Lakota, as all becomes quiet in the tent] I found it on the prarie. It's mine.
Wind In His Hair: [stands up, in Lakota] The hat belongs to Lieutenant.
Big Warrior: He left it on the prarie. He didn't want it.
Wind In His Hair: Well, you can see he wants it now. We all know it's a soldier hat. We all know who wears it. If you want to keep it, that's fine. But give something for it.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in L.A. Law: Dances with Sharks (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Fire Dance
By Peter Buffett
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Lt. Dunbar's worst fears have come true.
8 July 2003 | by (Omaha, NE USA) – See all my reviews

This film is a sweeping epic that you'll never forget whether you liked it or not. It tells the tale of love, loyalty, friendship, and self-realization in a magnificent setting among a great people, and during a time of strife. This film put Kevin Costner on the map as a Hollywood star. He could use a hit like this one right about now.

The first thing a viewer is struck by is the amazing landscape of western South Dakota. If any of you have never been out that way, do your self a favor and check it out. It will blow you away. The musical score is also very beautiful. The Indians look so authentic that they almost blend into the scenery even as we get to know them as individuals. It's hard to imagine that Plains Indian culture could have been depicted more realistically.

The story deals with Lt. John Dunbar (Costner), a disillusioned Civil War vet who asks to be transferred to a western post so he can see the west "before it's gone". He is then sent to a deserted fort where he finds himself in the precarious position of being the only white man in a land of Indians who seem intent on stealing his horse. He decides to try to get to know the local Sioux tribe and eventually becomes one of them. In finding a place in their society, he finds himself, so to speak.

Dances With Wolves is a very good film. I think it belongs in the top 250 to be sure. It is a little slow at times, but so what? A lot of great films are. Other than Dunbar, there are really no positive white characters. This is understandable considering the subject matter, but the barbarism of some of the soldiers seemed a little over the top. Other than that, no real gripes.

For me, the most memorable scene was when Dunbar and Kicking Bird were discussing the number of whites who would be coming into the territory.

Dunbar: You've often wondered about how many white people will be coming. There will be a

lot, my friend.

Kicking Bird: (in English) How many?

Dunbar: Like the stars. It makes me afraid for all of the Sioux.

Unfortunately, this fear has come true. All one has to do is drive out to White Clay, Neb. and see them sitting there. Along the street. Drunk by mid morning. The descendants of people like Kicking Bird and Wind in His Hair. These men would have been out hunting buffalo or battling with their enemies 150 years ago. Now, there is nothing for them to do. They have two choices: Stay on the reservation and live out a life in poverty while keeping their traditions alive, or try to make it in the cities and cast off their traditional ways. A tough choice to be sure. Watch the movie Thunderheart to get an idea of what these reservations are like. It's not a pretty picture.

The destruction of Indian Culture was not the goal of the United States. It is merely a CONSEQUENCE of the idea of Manifest Destiny. The Sioux are a magnificent people. What has happened to them could be summed up in one word: tragic.

10 of 10 stars

So sayeth the Hound.


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