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Dances with Wolves (1990)

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Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned 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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1,583 ( 3)
Won 7 Oscars. Another 43 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Lieutenant Dunbar
... Stands With A Fist
... Kicking Bird
... Wind In His Hair
... Ten Bears (as Floyd Red Crow Westerman)
... Black Shawl
... Timmons
... Lieutenant Elgin
... Major Fambrough
... Stone Calf
Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse ... Smiles A Lot
... 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

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The journey begins this November. Discover it for yourself. See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

21 November 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Danza con lobos  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$598,257, 11 November 1990, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$184,208,848

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$424,200,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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

Dean Semler first had an inkling about how important his Oscar win was to his native Australia when he was on a night flight to Sydney and the flight attendant asked him if he had it with him and if he would mind showing it to the passengers. See more »

Goofs

When the Sioux and John Dunbar are going on the buffalo hunt and they come upon the slaughtered/skinned buffalo, a crew member can be seen lying down on the ground in the background behind the Sioux passing on horseback. See more »

Quotes

[Repeated line]
Timmons: [after they have reached an abandoned fort] There ain't nothing here, lieutenant.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Bart to the Future (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Fire Dance
By Peter Buffett
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One of the great ones
27 August 2003 | by 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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