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Dances with Wolves (1990) - IMDb

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  • 19901990
  • PG-13PG-13
  • 3h 1m






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






    • Kevin Costner
    • Michael Blake(screenplay by)
  • Stars
    • Kevin Costner
    • Mary McDonnell
    • Graham Greene
    • Kevin Costner
    • Michael Blake(screenplay by)
  • Stars
    • Kevin Costner
    • Mary McDonnell
    • Graham Greene
  • See production, box office & company info
    • 577User reviews
    • 94Critic reviews
    • 72Metascore
  • See more at IMDbPro
    • Won 7 Oscars
      • 51 wins & 38 nominations total


    Trailer 1:31

    Watch Dances With Wolves: 20th Anniversary Edition


    Top cast

    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

    • Smiles A Lot

    Michael Spears

    Jason R. Lone Hill

    Tony Pierce

    • Spivey

    Doris Leader Charge

    • Pretty Shield

    Tom Everett

    • Sergeant Pepper

    Larry Joshua

    • Sergeant Bauer

    Kirk Baltz

    • Edwards
      • Kevin Costner
      • Michael Blake(screenplay by) (based on his novel)
    • All cast & crew
    • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

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    Did you know

    • 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.

    • Connections

      Featured in At the Movies: Jacob's Ladder/Waiting for the Light/Tune in Tomorrow.../Vincent & Theo (1990)

    User reviews577


    Featured review

    A story of a lost way of life.

    `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.



    • Craig-95
    • Aug 8, 2002
    • Is this based on any real facts? Did any European person live with natives as one of them?

    • Is it true that around that time the Sioux tribe was finished? Are the buffalo extinct?

    • Why did Major Fambrough act so strangely?


    • Release date
      • November 21, 1990 (United States)
      • United States
      • United Kingdom
      • Official Facebook
      • Official site
      • English
      • Sioux
      • Pawnee
    • Also known as
      • Khiêu Vũ Với Bầy Sói
    • Filming locations
      • Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
    • Production companies
      • Tig Productions
      • Majestic Films International
      • Allied Filmmakers
    • See more company credits at IMDbPro

    Box office

      • $22,000,000 (estimated)
      • $184,208,848
      • $598,257
      • Nov 11, 1990
      • $424,208,848
    See detailed box office info on IMDbPro

    Technical specs

    • 3 hours 1 minute

      • 2. 39 : 1

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    'Dances With Wolves'--the Really Long Version : Movies: A four-hour cut of the film opens in London. It features 52 minutes of footage that did not appear in the original release. The extra scenes help spell out the film's themes more clearly.



    LONDON — 

    For those of you who thought that, at 181 minutes, this year’s runaway Oscar winner “Dances With Wolves” wasn’t quite long enough . . . here’s the good news.

    A four-hour cut of the movie, titled “Dances With Wolves--The Special Edition” has opened in one West End theater here. It features 52 minutes of footage that did not appear in the originally released movie.

    But why? That is a question addressed in a letter to British film reviewers by the film’s director and star Kevin Costner, and producer Jim Wilson. “Why add another hour to a film which by most standards pushes the time limit of conventional movie making?”

    There were two main reasons, according to a statement from Costner and Wilson: “The 52 additional minutes that represent this ‘new’ version were difficult to cut in the first place, and . . . the opportunity to introduce them to an audience is compelling.

    “We have received countless letters from people worldwide asking when or if a sequel would be made, so it seemed like a logical step to enhance our film with existing footage . . . making an extended version is by no means to imply that the original ‘Dances With Wolves’ was unfinished or incomplete; rather it creates an opportunity for those who fell in love with the characters and the spectacle of the film to experience more of both.

    The film won seven Oscars, including best picture. Costner was named best director on his directing debut.

    “Dances With Wolves” is the story of John Dunbar, an idealistic young Civil War officer played by Costner who befriends a tribe of Sioux Indians and becomes one of them.

    The 52 minutes of extra scenes help spell out the film’s themes more clearly. Included in the new footage is a trek undertaken by Dunbar and his best Indian friend, Kicking Bird, in which they come upon a forest despoiled by white hunters. A new sequence that depicts the slaughter by the Sioux of white buffalo hunters sheds new light on Dunbar’s decision to return to white society. In general, the longer version portrays the Sioux more brutally and realistically.

    Additional scenes also sharpen the courtship and marriage between Dunbar and a Sioux woman (played by Mary McDonnell). The personal and cultural gap between them is now emphasized more strongly.

    London critics have mainly been supportive of the four-hour version. Those who liked the original film tended to like the longer film more, though dissenters have found the length of the special edition exasperating.

    Christopher Tookey of the Sunday Telegraph wrote: “Now revealed on the scale intended by its director, ‘Dances With Wolves’ is much richer, more complex and sophisticated. It deserves to take its place among the classic Westerns.”

    Philip French of the Observer commented: “The picture now has greater depth, and the length contributes to our appreciation of Dunbar’s isolation from the old world and of his absorption into a new culture.” The Guardian’s Derek Malcolm added: “Though four hours is the dickens of a long time in the cinema, this new ‘edition’ makes it seem like time well spent.”

    Among doubters was the Independent’s Chris Peachment, who described the film as “crashing on to our screens with all the heat and speed of a legless sloth. I defy anyone who saw the original a year ago to give me chapter and verse on exactly what has been extended. There’s an extra massacre in the middle, though not a very big one. Otherwise, it’s just the same scenes extended way beyond the limits of endurance.” Geoff Brown of the Times added: “An unnecessary revival.”

    The special edition is playing to two houses a day at the Odeon, Haymarket. Anne McAlpine of Guild, the film’s British distributors, said it was “doing good business,” though early box-office figures were not available. “It will definitely play into the New Year,” she added. “We are still deciding whether to open it in other theaters.”

    Carol Baker at Majestic Films, the British production company that co-funded “Dances With Wolves,” said that Orion Pictures had no contractual obligation to distribute the special edition. She knew of no plans to release it elsewhere.

    To date, there is no four-hour release on video, and none has been announced, although there are rumors. Nor has a four-hour theatrical version for release in the U.S. been announced.

    Movie Dances with Wolves (USA, UK, 1990) - Poster-Movie


    Dances with Wolves, USA, UK, 1990

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    6) Similar

    Kevin Costner in an Indian tribe

    Lieutenant John Dunbar finds himself in an Indian tribe, where he discovers a completely new way of life. The Indians give him the name Dances with Wolves. The Trembling Bird becomes a close friend, and the woman Standing with a Fist loves Dances with Wolves more than anything.

    Severnasha, UK

    Exploration, Adventure, Drama

    Directories Costner

    Duration of 1 minute

    Date of exit March30, 1990

    Age restriction16+

    Kevin Kevin, Mary McDonnell, GREM, Spring Green , Robert Pastorelli, Tantu Cardinal, Charles Rocket, Maury Chaikin, Michael Spears, Tom Everett,

    Films directed by Kevin Costner


    Kevin Costner

    67 years, films: 46

    American actor. For a long time I could not find a job in Hollywood. After he got a job in the theater, he began to attend numerous auditions. Kevin did not immediately, but noticed. In his first films, he was either an extra or just a "voice-over". After the film Shadows Are Always Black (1981), Costner began to work a lot in films: he starred in the films Night Shift (1982), Testament (1983), Fandango (1985), Amazing Stories (1985). "Star" for the actor was 1987, when he starred in the famous gangster action movie directed by Brian De Palma, The Untouchables. In 1989, Costner formed his own company, TIG Productions, with his friend, producer Jim Wilson; it was here that he began working as a director and directed his first film, Dances with Wolves (1990), which won seven Oscars. After that, Costner became one of the most popular actors in America. He starred in many box office films, among which were "Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves" (1991), "The Bodyguard" (1992), "A Perfect World" (1993), "War" (1994).

    Open scope

    2003, Western


    1997, Adventure

    The best reviews about the film "Dancing with Wolfs"



    768 Reviews, 9012 estimates, rating 2108

    7 9,000 new genre" - is called "if you have something to say".
    Kevin Costner is a popular, good, respected actor.
    What makes a person become a director? The desire to say something yourself. For example, Mel Gibson. To be honest, now I don’t know what he does better - acting or directing or beat your wife .
    Costner, to be honest, is better at playing.
    But the film is very, very good.
    Everything is as it should be, a moderate happy ending, yes, dragged out, yes, sometimes naive or somehow "raw", or something ... the film is very worthy, very.
    Again, made with soul! (how sticky these slogans are).
    It's a pity that Boot is being killed....

    April 21, 2011


    54 reviews, 59 ratings, rating 82


    The modern world really needs heroes. He terribly missed those Americans for whom the word "honor" has not yet become a burp from a hamburger. It became a day with fire not to find people with an open soul. We are all, long ago, prisoners of cast-iron slums, and although we live as a single community, we touch someone personally only in the frenzied crowd of the morning subway.

    Costner's Native American saga is filmed very tactfully and at the same time straightforward. Careful handling of the material is understandable - the director's experience is a waste of time, and the idea itself is painful for the target audience. Although, we must pay tribute to ordinary honest Americans - this is the first and only aggression of the world gendarme, which they are ready to recognize. But not out loud.

    Therefore, walking on unknown land for Dunbar is doubly dangerous. The hour is not even, or they will decide their own, or others. But as the short story unfolds on the prairies, it is easy to understand - the sincerity of the city takes. Before us is the story of Mowgli, told with love for historical details. And although Kipling would break out in a cold sweat from the events on the screen, "Dances with Wolves" is still the same fairy tale from a distant childhood, where the difference between good and bad has not yet been erased into a gray strip of dust scattered by the wind among the asphalt veins that pierced the scalp so and not a conquered country.

    Who are you, dancing among the wolves? Where is your real tribe?

    As for me, I'd rather dance the tango with the gray brothers than shake hands with some upright ones. You know exactly what to expect from wolves. They are fierce predators. They eat raw meat. They are not like us.

    And they are not capable of meanness.

    September 5, 2013

    Varvara Lis

    26 reviews, 26 ratings, rating 3

    6Costner's Triumph

    When I first saw the film, I thought it was excellent. And I liked the main character, and his story is very interesting and full of various twists and turns.
    But upon re-watching, it became clear that Costner's hero is a bastard, what else to look for.

    In general, "A Dance with Wolves" is like a love story of people from different worlds. Indian woman and former lieutenant. And the whole story leads to their rapprochement and to what conclusions and conclusions the main character makes.

    The film lasts three hours, and this already leaves its mark on the perception of what is happening during the viewing. You can simply get tired of what is happening on the screen, and the actions on it are very stretched, by the way. I remember that this film, even at the time of its release, was sold on two discs due to the long running time.

    In principle, for its time "A Dance with Wolves" was good and exciting. Especially since there are fewer and fewer westerns being made.
    But now he will not surprise the viewer with anything. It will only take three hours of his life. March 10, 2019 And Costner during the period of his acting dawn, and with the role of the director coped quite skillfully. And the "wild west", shown unexpectedly cameral and natural. And most importantly, the Indian theme, displayed not in cardboard, but quite the first plan, that is, fully. And then it doesn’t matter how greedy and ruthless the white invaders were, including the formal heroes of the civil war - northerners in uniforms. Not very important, but rather just expected, and a romantic line in the plot. And even a cute wolf is just a decoration. To an ethnic, ecological, historical, adventure spectacle... You never know how many epithets can be found!

    April 28, 2018

    Yuri Artamonov

    256 reviews, 333 ratings, rating 94


    Kostner director.
    The film is really good, I recommend watching it to those who are interested in the culture of peoples, not only their own. Relationships between different peoples, somewhere probably communicative ability, somewhere the desire to listen and understand another person brought up in a different cultural environment. You can feel Kostner's handwriting in the manner of narration. Well, I can not believe that such a person is capable of meanness. Happy viewing everyone.

    October 13, 2013

    All reviews




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      • 1 Taglines
      • 2 Plot
      • 3 Cast
      • 4 Fees
      • 5 Prizes and awards
      • 6 Links


      • Inside everyone is a frontier waiting to be discovered. (Everyone has a border waiting to be discovered.)
      • Lieutenant John Dunbar is about to discover the frontier…within himself. (Lieutenant John Dunbar goes in search of the frontier... himself...)


      The film takes place in the United States during the Civil War. US Army Lieutenant John Dunbar, after being wounded in battle, asks to be transferred to a new duty station closer to the western border of the United States. The place of his service is a remote small fort. Dunbar's partner died in a skirmish with the Indians, and the immediate commander committed suicide. No one knows that Dunbar is left alone in the fort and must survive in the harsh environment and in the neighborhood of the inhospitable native inhabitants of North America.

      Dunbar encounters a nomadic Sioux tribe. At first, the white man and the Indians are separated by a barrier of language and culture. But gradually they begin to find a common language. The tribe has a white woman named Standing with a fist who helps to bring him closer. Dunbar is attracted to the Indians, to their closeness to nature, to their original way of life and thoughts. He makes friends - the leader of the tribe Ten Bears and the warrior Wind in his hair . The Indians, as usual, give a name to a person according to some memorable episode from life. Once they saw that Dunbar was playing with his tame wolf, and then he got his own name - Dances with Wolves . After helping the tribe find a herd of bison , Dances with Wolves becomes a full-fledged member of the tribe.

      But the former life and Western civilization constantly remind of themselves. Dancer with wolves and his wife Standing with a fist must make a decision - to go back or stay with the tribe.


      • Kevin Costner - Lieutenant John Dunbar/Dancing with Wolves
      • Mary McDonnell - Standing with a fist
      • Graham Green - Beating Bird
      • Rodney Grant - Wind in your hair
      • Floyd Westerman - Chief Ten Bears

      box office

      The film was released in the USA on November 21, 1990. Dances with Wolves was extremely popular, grossing $184 million in the United States and $424 million worldwide. The film is singled out for its life-like portrayal of Native Americans, which is very different from the typical Hollywood cliché that depicts Indians as either "noble men" or "bloodthirsty bastards." For this film, the Sioux tribe accepted Kevin Costner as an honorary member. In 2007, the Library of Congress added Dances with Wolves to the National Film Registry.

      Prizes and awards

      Dances with Wolves received the most prestigious awards and entered the gold fund of world cinema. At the 63rd Oscars ceremony held on March 25, 1991 in Los Angeles (USA), the film was nominated in twelve categories, seven of which it won. The film won the most prestigious nomination and was recognized as the best film of 1990.