MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Up 350 this week

Dances with Wolves (1990)

8.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 151,495 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 358 user | 89 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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 06 Jun 2011
 
a list of 47 titles
created 04 Sep 2012
 
USA
a list of 35 titles
created 09 Sep 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 1 month ago
 
a list of 35 titles
created 3 weeks ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Dances with Wolves (1990)

Dances with Wolves (1990) on IMDb 8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Dances with Wolves.

User Polls

Won 7 Oscars. Another 44 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of the final Emperor of China.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Stars: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.

Director: Anthony Minghella
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Director: John Madden
Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When Robin and his Moorish companion come to England and the tyranny of the Sheriff of Nottingham, he decides to fight back as an outlaw.

Director: Kevin Reynolds
Stars: Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Out of Africa (1985)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer
Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro
Waterworld (1995)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.

Directors: Kevin Reynolds, Kevin Costner
Stars: Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Dennis Hopper
Unforgiven (1992)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
The Bodyguard (1992)
Action | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A former Secret Service agent takes on the job of bodyguard to a pop singer, whose lifestyle is most unlike a President's.

Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston, Gary Kemp
JFK (1991)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon
The Postman (1997)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A drifter with no name finds a Jeep with the skeleton of a postman and a bag of mail and dons the postman's uniform and bag of mail as he begins a quest to inspire hope to the survivors living in the post apocalyptic America.

Director: Kevin Costner
Stars: Kevin Costner, Will Patton, Larenz Tate
Edit

Cast

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

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

Plot Keywords:

frontier | outpost | hero | sioux tribe | army | See more »

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Danza con lobos  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The buffalo herd comprised 3,500 animals, the largest herd in America See more »

Goofs

Having unloaded the wagon at the fort, Dunbar pauses for a moment and glances down. There is a rag or cloth at his foot which disappears a moment later. See more »

Quotes

Kicking Bird: [after receiving the pipe from Dances with Wolves] How does it smoke?
John Dunbar: I don't know; I haven't smoked it yet.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Richard in Stars Hollow (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Fire Dance
By Peter Buffett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A story of a lost way of life.
8 August 2002 | by (Valdez, Alaska) – See all my reviews

`Dances With Wolves'

When I first saw the movie Dances With Wolves several years ago the story affected me in a heavy way, so much so that I decided that it would be a long time before I watched it again. The story is not entertainment. It is a lesson. Last week I watched the movie again with a new understanding. Many of the published reviews seem to dislike the movie for various reasons. They are the ones that missed the point of the story.

The story is, of course, fiction based on a novel by Michael Blake. Fortunately, Michael Blake also wrote the screenplay for the movie insuring fidelity with his vision. To the credit of Kevin Costner, who was one of the producers and the director, he allowed the story to be what Michael Blake had originally created. Costner showed great sensitivity in not only capturing the personalities of all the major characters, but making the land itself (in this case South Dakota) one of the major players.

The land was not just a backdrop or playing field. It was the main character and very much alive. The cinematography was some of the best I've ever seen and in the tradition of the great movie director, John Ford. Ford had an ability to present the land in all its beauty, which also just happened to have a story occurring on it.

In Dances With Wolves, the land of South Dakota might initially appear to be a bleak place, but as Lieutenant Dunbar (Costner) spends more time at his isolated fort, he somehow slowly merges his soul with the surrounding territory. The life on the land eventually stumbles onto his location, including a wolf and a tribe of Sioux. The Sioux and Dunbar mistrust each other initially but through curiosity learn how to communicate with each other, however painfully slow. The wolf too was curious about the soldier, but kept his distance for a while. Finally, the wolf trusts Dunbar enough to play with him on the prairie. The Sioux see them playing. Here was a white man not killing the animals. He had earned a new name: Dances-With-Wolves.

The main difference between this movie and a John Ford movie was the way Costner humanized the Sioux characters. In a John Ford movie, most Indians were the enemy. The only 'good' Indians were the cavalry scouts, but we never really met these scouts as people. John Ford hired Navaho people to play the parts of Indians in his cavalry trilogy, Fort Apache, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande, which were filmed in Monument Valley on the Navaho Reservation. Years later, Ford attempted to humanize the Native Americans in a movie called Cheyenne Autumn, but by then Ford was an old man and had lost most of his creative genius. It is a hard movie for me to watch.

Costner's movie takes great pains to allow us to know the Sioux characters. The story is about them as seen through the eyes of a perceptive white man, who had been given a new life by the gods when his attempt at suicide ended with his recognition as a war hero.

What I see when I watch the movie: I see ten thousand years of evolution and experience of a human tribe on the North American continent with the most recent characters at the leading edge of the current (1860) time. The character's lives are so well presented that I sense the history of their past In other words, I understand why they do what they do. What depresses me about the movie is that I know the ending but the characters don't. I know that their natural way of life is coming to an end. The characters don't know. To me, the movie is a story of the 4 billion, six hundred million years of natural evolution which is about to meet technology. Technology will be as devastating to this tribe and the land as if an asteroid had hit the earth.

The beauty of the Sioux life is so precisely shown in this movie. Their everyday routine of just living off the land is seen the same way as a buffalo eating the grass. The Sioux adapted to the land the way it was. You see the grass move in waves like the ocean does when the invisible winds touch the surfaces. You see the effects of the same winds that blow across the face and hair of Stands-With-a-Fist. You hear the same winds. The same winds take the smoke from the lodges away from the village. The land and air and life merge in a poetic movement.

The horses seem more natural and free in their herd next to the village. They are part of the tribe. You can see the magnificence of the Sioux riders as they become one with the horse as they hunt the buffalo. I suppose, in a way, the horse was a step in technology for the Sioux since they didn't have the horse until the Spanish Conquistadors brought them. But when they adapted their life to the horse, they became a great people. I look at it as a step in evolution, not a step in technology.

We find that the holy man, Kicking-Bird, played by Graham Green, was a hen-pecked husband, something we can all identify with no matter what race or ethnic group. His wife saw more than he did, especially the budding love between Lieutenant Dunbar and Stands-With-a-Fist, who was played by the heavy-duty stage actress Mary McDonnell. She is important to our story because we understand the Sioux from her translations. As an actress, she was so convincing in her struggle to remember long forgotten English words from her childhood, from the time before she came to live with the Sioux. Kicking-Bird on the other hand represented the soul of the Sioux People. He was patient and was the type of person you would want as a friend.

We have Rodney Grant playing the part of Wind-in-His-Hair, the warrior who was quick to anger but was smart enough to listen to his elders and not kill the white soldier. Rodney Grant represented the beauty and pride of the Sioux People. He speaks the last relevant words in the story by proclaiming that he is the friend of Dances-With-Wolves. Before Dunbar became Dances-With-Wolves, Wind-in-His-Hair would have been happy to kill him.

`Red Crow' Westerman played the part of the chief, Ten-Bears. We've seen him play the part of a shaman in other movies. He represented the wisdom and of the Sioux People and was also their prophet.

What movie about Native Americans could be told without Wes Studi? In this movie he plays the enemy Pawnee so convincingly that you really hate him. Not only is he the enemy to the white man but the Sioux also. Wes Studi can be very intense in his savagery, but in the eyes of the Pawnee, he was only protecting his tribal interests.

So we see the Sioux and, to a lessor degree, the Pawnee in their soon-to-end natural states. We immediately feel at home with the Sioux. The Pawnee aren't quite as lovable, especially when we see Wes Studi scalping the muleskinner. The first disturbing scene is when the Pawnee attack the Sioux village and we see that to save themselves, the Sioux need the technology (the rifles) of the white soldier. The Pawnee were so fierce looking (again convincingly by Wes Studi) that we fear for the Sioux tribe but see that the rifles are out of place in this natural world. It is another technological step in the same magnitude as the horse. But for all their beauty and greatness, we know they cannot win the final battles with the white civilization because they are so grossly outnumbered.

There is the core of the problem. The over-population of the modern civilization overruns their own land so they come to the land of the Sioux and destroy without asking. You could see it in the face of every tribal member as they walked past dead and skinned buffalo which were left to rot in the sun after the buffalo hunters had skinned them for their hides. They were absolutely stunned and sick at the sight. Whoever did this had no soul. I extend the message of this movie to today and see population running amuck, stripping the land of resources and changing the atmosphere. It is too painful to contemplate.

To emphasize the loss and waste of the beautiful prairie life, near the end of the movie we see the soldiers shooting at the wolf for fun. The wolf is confused and doesn't understand that bullets are hitting near him. Eventually a bullet strikes the wolf and we hear him cry out. For me that was the most painful scene of all because I know that's what people do. I see people kill a beast for the trophy. They take it home and hang it on the wall. The soul of that animal has been cast aside by a human, which has no soul.

The beauty is not in the trophy. The beauty is in the life. The ending for the wolf represents the ending for the Sioux and all the other tribes that lost the natural way of life. Therefore I am just as disturbed for the Sioux as I am about the wolf. I am disturbed for the future of the Earth.






129 of 163 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Goodfellas and DWW are equal to me jacobthecheeseburger
Why didn't he just.... sfgiantsboy
Which version is better, Theatrical or Directors cut? al-blaze67
How can this movie have a high rate(8) and... Anahitash
Wolves over Goodfellas jphawk2
Why did they attack John Dunbar? liquidchaoss
Discuss Dances with Wolves (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?