Dances with Wolves
Drama | English, Lakota, Pawnee with English subtitles | 181 minutes
Union officer John Dunbar is given the command of Fort Sedgwick, the Army’s remote outpost in the Dakota territory. When Dunbar arrives at Fort Sedgwick, he finds it deserted and in total disarray. Rather than go back, Dunbar is determined to rebuild and restock the fort. When a Sioux neighbor attempts to steal Dunbar’s horse, Dunbar is determined to go to the Sioux camp and start a dialogue. Along the way, Dunbar meets Stands With a Fist, the White adopted daughter of the tribe’s medicine man, Kicking Bird. Dunbar begins to develop a growing respect and appreciation for the Sioux lifestyle and culture. He also falls in love with Stands With a Fist. Learning the language, Dunbar is accepted as a full-fledged member of the Sioux. Dunbar is anxious to return to Fort Sedgwick to retrieve his diary. When he arrives at the fort, dressed as a Sioux, he finds the fort occupied by U.S. troops. They arrest Dunbar, claiming he is a traitor. A Sioux convoy, heading to the mountains, rescues Dunbar. The U.S. troops pursue the convoy but they are unable to locate them. Sadly, Dunbar and the Sioux come to the realization that it’s only a question of time when the Sioux will be vanquished by the better-equipped U.S. Army. Its inevitable: the life of the Sioux on the American plains will tragically come to an end.
Why Stream This Film?
The film was named one of the top-ten in 1990 by over 115 critics and the best film of the year by 19 critics. Michael Smith ( a Sioux), the director of the American Indian Film Festival said, “There’s a lot of good feeling about this film in the Native community, especially among the tribes. I think it’s going to be very hard to top this one.”
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 83%
- Metacritic Score: 72
- Academy Awards: Winner, Best Picture; Best Director (Kevin Costner); Best Actor in a Leading Role (Kevin Costner); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Graham Greene); Best Screenplay (Michael Blake); Best Cinematography ( Dean Semler)
- Golden Globes: Winner, Best Motion Picture; Best Actor (Kevin Costner); Best Screenplay (Michael Blake)
- Directors Guuld of America: Winner, Outstanding Directorial Achievement (Kevin Costner)
- National Board of Review: Winner, Best Film; Best Director (Kevin Costner)
- The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”
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No other movie this year matches the range and diversity of what Costner and screenwriter Michael Blake have provided here. DANCES WITH WOLVES is a gigantic achievement, an endowment of riches.
It’s an engrossing tale, and Costner directs with the confidence of a Hollywood veteran. He has a showman’s eye for epic landscapes and an almost anthropological appreciation of the Sioux people
DANCES WITH WOLVES generates much of its power by being so life-affirming at a time when people feel nervous about the future.
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