Dances With Wolves (1990) – Encore Review

“[voice-over] Nothing I have been told about these people is correct. They are not thieves or beggars. They are not the bogeymen they are made out to be. On the contrary, they are polite guests and I enjoy their humor.” – John Dunbar

Number of Times Seen – Between 5-10 times (Theater, cable, video, DVD, 2 Jul 2013 and 16 Jun 2019)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – A army officer sent to a post on the Western Frontier, finds himself alone in the wilderness and chooses to befriend the Sioux Indian Tribe living close by.

My Take on it – This is a film that I recall seeing in the theater when it came out in 1990 and being enthralled by the way it looked and felt throughout.

The story is an amazing display of a “modern” Western that is able to give a unique perspective on the relationship between a tribe of Indians and a White Man that is very different from most other films or stories of that era.

Kevin Costner directed, produced and starred in this film and he does an amazing job presenting it to us.

He was quite deserving of his Oscar for Best Director along with the other 6 awards that this film garnered (including Best Picture).

It is quite easy to see how much of a labor of love this film must have been and it is apparent throughout.

The cinematography is exquisite to look at and they give us so many clear shots of what the land must have looked like back then.

The buffalo hunt scene is clearly the highlight of this film and I’m sure it wasn’t easy at all to film it, yet it is breathtaking to watch each and every time.

The film must rely heavily on subtitles due to the use of the Lakota language throughout and despite it being a bit annoying, it’s quite effective in getting the viewer into the mindset of the era and settings of this story.

The Director’s Cut of this film is nearly 4 hours long and adds so much more to the story in order for us to get a clearer idea of all that transpires here.

Despite it’s length, it doesn’t feel as if it drags at all and only enhances the viewing because it adds so much to this comprehensive story.

The narration by Costner also adds so much to this story since it lets us understand the inner thoughts of the character that are more easily accessible in a novel format.

The film is done in a way that it gives off a very epic feel throughout and despite the fact that the story itself isn’t based at all on truth, they give us the impression that we are watching actual events that transpired as the Western frontier was expanding.

They develop the characters really well and it’s quite easy to quickly care about what will happen to them as the story itself progresses in ways we might not have expected.

Bottom Line – Amazing “modern” Western that is able to look at the relationship between an Indian Tribe and a White Man from a very different perspective than is usually portrayed in films and books. Costner does an amazing job directing this film and was quite deserving of his Oscar for Best Director along with the movie’s win for Best Picture and 5 other awards. It is easy to see how much this film was a labor of love for him. The cinematography is superb and most notably the scenes of the buffalo hunt are breathtaking to watch unfold. The subtitles are slightly annoying, but it is truly essential for us to get into the mindset of the era and setting of this movie.  The Director’s Cut of this film is 4 hours long and it doesn’t feel as if it drags at all since it tells such a comprehensive story so perfectly. The narration by Costner helps to keep the viewer informed of various elements that could easily have been explained as thoughts in the novel this is based on.  This film has such an epic feel to it and even though it is not at all based on truth, it gives off the impression that we are watching true events that happened as the frontier was expanded.  The characters are developed really well and we quite quickly begin to care very much about what will happen to each of them as the story progresses.  Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – To add realism to the movie, a language coach was brought in to teach Lakota to cast members who did not know how to speak it. Because of the difficulty in learning the language, the “gendered speech” aspects of the language were omitted from the lessons. When native speakers of Lakota saw the finished film, they found it amusing to hear Lakota warriors talking like women. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)


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4 thoughts on “Dances With Wolves (1990) – Encore Review

  1. Pingback: The 4th Annual James Horner Blogathon – Avatar (2009) – Encore Review | MovieRob

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