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Dances with Wolves (1990)

PG-13  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Western  |  21 November 1990 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 168,355 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 368 user | 88 critic | 20 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Dances with Wolves (1990)

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Won 7 Oscars. Another 41 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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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:

$19,000,000 (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

The film ran over budget, forcing Kevin Costner to make up the overages personally. That caused rumors that the film would be another out-of-control, disappointing western like Heaven's Gate (1980). In fact, some studio people were referring to it as "Kevin's Gate". It went on to win the first Best Picture Oscar for a western since Cimarron (1931), over 50 years before it. See more »

Goofs

The apple beside Dunbar at the battlefield, after his return from the surgery, is a variety that had not been developed at that time. See more »

Quotes

Kicking Bird: [in Lakota; addressing the village council] He may be a special man or even a god. I ask that Chief Ten Bears give us permission to talk with him.
[murmurs around the council as Wind in his Hair rises to speak]
Wind In His Hair: [in Lakota; subtitled] I do not care for this talk about a white man at the soldier fort. Whoever he is he is not a Sioux and that makes him less. We took more then a hundred horses from these people and there was no honor in it. They don't ride well. They don't shoot well. They're dirty. ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Sigourney Weaver/The Ting Tings (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Fire Dance
By Peter Buffett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the great ones
27 August 2003 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

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 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.


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