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

Director:

Kevin Costner

Writers:

Michael Blake (screenplay), Michael Blake (novel)
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Popularity
941 ( 4)
Won 7 Oscars. Another 44 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Costner ... Lieutenant Dunbar
Mary McDonnell ... Stands With A Fist
Graham Greene ... Kicking Bird
Rodney A. Grant ... Wind In His Hair
Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman ... Ten Bears (as Floyd Red Crow Westerman)
Tantoo Cardinal ... Black Shawl
Robert Pastorelli ... Timmons
Charles Rocket ... Lieutenant Elgin
Maury Chaykin ... Major Fambrough
Jimmy Herman ... Stone Calf
Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse ... Smiles A Lot
Michael Spears ... Otter
Jason R. Lone Hill Jason R. Lone Hill ... Worm
Tony Pierce Tony Pierce ... Spivey
Doris Leader Charge 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The only Best Picture nominee that year to be also nominated for Best Sound, and Best Costume Design. See more »

Goofs

When Dunbar is riding off to the Indian camp he carries a flag on a pole. The bottom of the flag is about at the same level as the top of his hat. When Two Socks sees the flag go by over the crest of a hill, the flag is being held much higher so that Dunbar's hat isn't even seen. See more »

Quotes

Wind In His Hair: [in Lakota; subtitled] 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?
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Alternate Versions

The 236-minute "extended version" or "Director's Cut" has been released on home video, altering the movie as such:
  • 38 x new scene
  • 15 x extended scene
  • 12 x alternative footage
  • 5 x alternative text
  • 1 x new text
  • 3 x postponed scene
  • 3 x altered arrangement of scenes
  • 3 x shortened scene.
There is also a 233-minute version which cuts out the 3 minute Intermission at around 133 min featuring John Barry music. See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Best Films of 1990 (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Fire Dance
By Peter Buffett
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User Reviews

 
The best film of all time
28 May 2006 | by mattrochmanSee all my reviews

Many people regard a lot of films as "top class" but I always keep a little shelf in my mind for the films that I regard as the best films of all time - films that are simply timeless masterpieces. Welcome to the top of that shelf! There are certain criteria by which films are judged and greatness is only obtained when all the criteria are satisfied in full. Dances with Wolves is the greatest timeless masterpiece of cinema to date because it satisfies all these criteria: 1) Cinematography: the sweeping landscape photography of the Frontier combined with the subtle night-time photography earns top marks. Aside from Oscars for Cinematography and editing, it also won the ASC award for Outstanding achievement in Cinematography - as well as a host of other industry recognition awards. In short - the cinematography is breathtaking.

2) Sound/Score: the score is one of the best ever written. Again, awards rained from the sky for magical and moving score that combined seamlessly with the film/story.

3) Screenplay: The dialogue and plot is magnificent. The film does not fall into the common plot formulas found in other films that attempt to pass themselves off as epics. The story combines as both of celebration of life and a somber rumination of the history of mankind.

There are comical moments, dramatic moments and tear-jerking moments - that all make their entry (and exit) into the story with flawless timing.

4) The Acting: for all that has been said about Kevin Costner, this was the peak of his career and he played the role of John Dunbar to perfection. A relatively unknown band of actors gave magnificent, heart-felt and down-to-earth performances in support. It was actually refreshing to see an "EPIC" where the producers didn't feel the need to throw famous actors in with cameo roles to improve it marketability. As far as I was concerned, there were no weak links in the chain on the acting side of things. Kevin Costner certainly proved his worthiness as a director by getting the best out of the cast.

5) The ONLY film in history to.... Have an extended (director's cut) version that was better than the original. Due to concerns about the length of the film, Dances with Wolves was stripped back to three hours. Some complained that it was still too long, but I thought that the film was patient - it included good relevant detail but managed to keep the story moving at a good pace. The director's cut added an hour to the cinematic release and was, without a doubt, better than the original. It somehow added more intrigue to the story and included many sobering insights into the destruction of the American Indian race.

Over all, I regard it as the greatest most masterful epic of all time.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Sioux | Pawnee

Release Date:

21 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dances with Wolves See more »

Filming Locations:

Kansas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$598,257, 11 November 1990

Gross USA:

$184,208,848

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$424,208,848
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby SR (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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