10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dances With Wolves (blu ray)...This Extended Cut: the definitive edition of this epic movie
In 1994, "Dances With Wolves" originally was released as a Limited Collector's Edition laser discs box set, containing the Extended Cut, together with an autographed book "The Illustrated History", signed by Kevin Costner, Michael Blake (screenplay) and Jim Wilson (producer), together with a CD soundtrack and 6 Full-Colour 11x14" Lobby Cards. The size of this box set was...
Published on Jan. 13 2011 by Dr. Joseph Lee
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable But Extremely Long
Highly touted as a "revisionist western" that captures the reality of Native Americans and the old west, DANCES WITH WOLVES is beautifully photographed, ably performed, and rife with good intentions. Unfortunately, it is also a rather slow moving film that never quite manages to meet its self-imposed expectations. Costner's own performance is satisfactory, and Mary...
Published on Dec 8 2001 by Gary F. Taylor
Most Helpful First | Newest First
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dances With Wolves (blu ray)...This Extended Cut: the definitive edition of this epic movie,
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This review is from: Dances with Wolves (20th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
In 1994, "Dances With Wolves" originally was released as a Limited Collector's Edition laser discs box set, containing the Extended Cut, together with an autographed book "The Illustrated History", signed by Kevin Costner, Michael Blake (screenplay) and Jim Wilson (producer), together with a CD soundtrack and 6 Full-Colour 11x14" Lobby Cards. The size of this box set was large table-sized, and has the same dimension as the Fantasia Laser Disc box set. In 2008, this movie was released as a 2 dvd-set, with only 181 minutes, but with DTS 5.1 Surround Sound. Now 20th Century Fox and MGM have finally given us the definitive 20th Anniversary Edition of this epic movie on high definition, 234 minutes, 2.35:1, 1080p, a single 50GB dual layer blu ray disc (no changing of disc required) and DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio Sound, with a separate 25 GB disc for Special Features.
Video: This all-new Hi-Def Transfer gave the picture a very pristine and vivid look. The scenery was breathtaking. The grain consistency was film-like. Oscar-winner Dean Semler's gorgeous cinematography was ably on display. Blacks are rock solid. A 2.35:1 picture using an anamorphic lens truly showed off nobly how great and good-looking this epic picture was. (5/5)
Audio: The DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio was equally impressive, with great fidelity and deep bass. The surround was aggressive throughout. Dialogue was clear. John Barry's score was also first class. (5/5)
Trivia: In the opening scene where two doctors were examining John Dunbar, the man on the table was Kevin Costner's stand-in. The two people playing the doctors were actually the film's producer, Jim Wilson on the left and director/star Costner on the right. The voices were dubbed by other actors. And there were two wolves used. But did you know that one had to have the milky white socks painted on him.
Goofs: In the final scenes the US military came upon the recently vacated camp. Many of the soldiers were wearing overcoats with rank stripes and yellow lining. This was set during the civil war (1861 - 1865) Overcoats had no colored lining and no rank stripes. The coats worn in the film did not appear until 1883! Three birds flying over were identified as geese. They were, in fact, cranes. Electric power lines were visible during the buffalo hunt. And a noticeable dorsal stripe on Cisco the horse's back disappeared and reappeared throughout the film. The flag flying at Ft. Sedgwick was the flag with 50 stars rather than the flag used during the Civil War.
"Dances With Wolves" has won 7 Oscars, including Best Picture 1990 (Jim Wilson & Kevin Costner), Best Director (Kevin Costner), Best Cinematography (Dean Semler), Best Music, Original Score (John Barry), Best Film Editing (Neil Travis), Best Screenplay (Michael Blake) and Best Sound. It has grossed $184 million in US and $424 million worldwide (which was quite remarkable for 1990 standard). I think this is one film that Kevin Costner should be remembered for. Both the video and audio are top notched. The Extended Cut of the movie is here, and there is no need to get up to change discs. Considering the high price that I paid for this movie laser disc box set (which I still treasure), this blu ray disc set is truly a bargain and should be considered as the definitive edition of this sweeping epic film. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dances With Wolves  [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [UK Release],
This review is from: Dances With Wolves [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray)
Dances With Wolves  [Blu-ray + UV Copy] [UK Release] WINNERS OF 7 ACCADEMY AWARDS!
Assigned to a remote outpost in the 1890s West, Lt. John Dunbar [Kevin Costner] fears the nearby Sioux Indians and expects to fight them, Instead, he befriends them and becomes the man in the middle of a brushfire of tension: the conflict between the U.S. expansion and the Native Americans. Kevin Costner plays Lt. John Dunbar and makes one of Hollywood’s most impressive directorial debuts with the Winner of 7 Academy Awards® including Best Picture and best Director. Battles rage, fates collide, bison thunder across the prairie – the adventures epic, heroic heroes and stunning sweeping landscapes.
FILM FACTS: In addition to becoming the first Western film to win an Academy Award® for Best Picture since 1931's ‘Cimarron.’ ‘Dances with Wolves’ won the following additional awards, at the Academy Awards® in 1991 and the following WON: Best Picture for Jim Wilson and Kevin Costner. Best Adapted Screenplay for Michael Blake. Best Cinematography for Dean Semler. Best Sound for Russell Williams II, Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton, and Gregory H. Watkins. Best Film Editing for Neil Travis. Best Original Score for John Barry and Best Motion Picture for Drama.
Cast: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Tantoo Cardinal, Jimmy Herman, Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, Michael Spears, Jason R. Lone, Charles Rocket, Robert Pastorelli, Larry Joshua, Tony Pierce, Kirk Baltz, Tom Everett, Maury Chaykin, Wes Studi and Wayne Grace
Director: Kevin Costner
Producers: Kevin Costner and Jim Wilson
Screenplay: Michael Blake
Composer: John Barry
Cinematography: Dean Semler
Aspect Ratio: 2.36:1
Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio, Italian: Dolby Digital, Spanish: Dolby Digital and Czech: Dolby Ditial
Subtitles: English, Italian, Italian SDH, Spanish, Dutch and Castilian Spanish
Running Time: 181 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of disc: 1
Studio: Warner Home Video
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – When I think of ‘Dances with Wolves,’ my mind reels back to December of 1990, a time where I first encountered word of the picture's, I was also well aware of Kevin Costner and his upcoming western, hypnotized by the film's unusual teaser marketing campaign. However, on this frigid weekend morning, sitting down at a local strip mall with a soda, I began to grasp the film in more than just simple movie attendance terms, reading about the picture's awe-inspiring scope and thematic novelty. It's a sweet memory of growing anticipation, especially for an underdog film nobody was expecting much from. It was perhaps the last time ‘Dances with Wolves’ enjoyed the element of surprise.
Wounded on a Civil War battlefield, Lt. John Dunbar [Kevin Costner] watches as his own suicidal act results in unexpected heroism, leading to a promotion and a requested assignment on the Great Plains of America. Taking command of a dilapidated fort by himself, Dunbar rejuvenates his mind, taking to nature observation and journaling as a way of passing the time before reinforcements arrive. Visited by a tribe of Sioux Indians, led by Kicking Bird [Graham Greene], Dunbar is immediately drawn to this alien nation, intrigued by the peaceful curiosity exhibited by a people he's been trained to call the enemy. Through various offerings of trust and prairie insight, Dunbar soon becomes part of the community, falling for their adoptive Caucasian daughter, Stands with a Fist [Mary McDonnell]. Making a life with the Native Americans, Dunbar, now rechristened Dances with Wolves, finds his rightful home, but worries for the safety of the Sioux as military forces encroach on the land.
Collecting numerous honours, omnipresent publicity, and gargantuan box office during its theatrical run, it's easy to forget the precarious position ‘Dances with Wolves’ was in before its release in 1990. Here was a three-hour motion picture working a wheezing genre, with a major chunk of its running time devoted to subtitles for the Lakota Sioux language spoken in the film. It was a picture of respect and revisionism in a time when Westerns weren't so culturally tolerant, driving into the great expanse of the West to explore the tentative bond between enemies. It was also a $17-million-dollar gamble for Kevin Costner, who pieced together the budget while developing a script written by his dear friend Michael Blake (adapted from his own novel), while also assuming intensive performance duties. And to make the project even more unattractive to outsiders, Kevin Costner elected to direct, making his feature debut. And boy did it ever. ‘Dances with Wolves’ quickly ascended to cultural ubiquity, assuming sleeper command as audiences flocked to see a compassionate western starring a rare actor of affable all-American charisma. However, its raging success obscured a great deal of its artistry, with subsequent years turning the film into a punching bag for loutish Oscar pundits and the understandably disillusioned anti-Kevin Costner crowd. A burning resentment that's unearned and unfair.
At the core of ‘Dances with Wolves’ lies a story heavy with vulnerability, taking an uncommon route of contemplation in a genre that typically revels in war. Blake's tale is one of spiritual breakthrough, as Lt. John Dunbar grows to find himself in the middle of nowhere, compelled to follow his heart while his head rattles with duty and doubt. It's a beautiful illustration of instinct as the lead character interacts and soon melds with the Sioux, finding a home with his adversary, only to discover there are little differences between the "white man" and the Native Americas. It's a note of tolerance that would crumble in many other hands, played either too syrupy or too abruptly. Costner allows his film to soak in the juices of discovery, encouraging the viewer to be lulled in by the majesty of the locations and the integrity of personal expression and a directorial blend of John Ford and David Lean, with a few Terrence Malick beats of naturalistic texture found along the way.
‘Dances with Wolves’ is never saccharine, never melodramatic; it's paced to embrace character catharsis while the narrative moseys along, intensifying Dunbar's odyssey. There's no doubt the rebirth is nurtured by Dean Semler's stunning prairie cinematography (it's a film to live inside of, not just watch passively), which treats blue skies and rolling pastures as scripture, but the central emotional bloom of the film is carefully encouraged throughout, creating this tractor beam of drama as Dunbar is compelled to push his Sioux alliance further. The arc is hypnotic, not simply because of Kevin Costner's deceptively straightforward "aw, shucks" performance, but in the deliberate pace of the story, which takes the time to appreciate the psychology shared between the diverse cultures, honouring stances of pride and threat (the Sioux are hardly pipe-sucking pacifists), breathing in the pure magnificence of the pause as this sweeping drama plays out.
It's Kevin Costner's steady hand that makes a miracle out of ‘Dances with Wolves.’ It's cinematic integrity with timing and composure that could only emerge from a young, hungry filmmaker surrounded by a pack of supportive friends, remarkable collaborators, and a splendid ensemble offered an exquisite amount of screen time to feel out the unsettled nature of their characters. Extra attention must be paid to McDonnell, who creates a feral, wounded creature out of Stands with a Fist, refusing to wilt in the presence of picture's brightest star. The performance is a sustained surprise, taking intriguing linguistic turns while generating authentic heat with Costner and their extended dance of the pants. Greene also hits several grace notes as the conflicted tribal leader, a man willing to trust Dunbar, yet wise enough to understand the charge of settlers sure to follow him.
Of course, no discussion of ‘Dances with Wolves’ would be complete without genuflecting in front of composer John Barry, who gifts the screen one of the great all-time film scores, soothingly enriching Dunbar's journey with romantic and adventurous themes that curl up around the picture, evoking cross-country movement and longing with a symphonic sanctuary that's emotionally crippling. It's aural splendour from a long-time industry deity.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The 1080p encoded image is stunning and it has a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is a revelatory experience, with ‘Dances With Wolves’ coming across as majestic as ever on this Blu-ray disc, providing a richly rewarding viewing experience unseen since its theatrical debut. Colours are of primary concern, with the presentation clinging tightly to the wondrous blue skies and outdoorsy particulars of the locations, supplying crisp hues that preserve the cinematographic intent, creating several astonishing moments of naturalistic intensity. Costumes and actors are heartily detailed, with textures easy to recognize and enjoy, greatly reinforcing the production effort and the tattered integrity of the era. Close-ups are ideally gritty and natural, displaying natural skin tones and intricate make-up work. Shadow detail buttresses the image superbly, pulling pure detail out of low-light scenarios, supplying a richer read of frame information with moderate softness. The viewing event is crisp and evocative, allowing the film some home entertainment glory.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio sound mix is an invigorating aural experience that assists the film's mood and dramatic hold with a wide range of elements, smoothly blended into a cinematic event. Perhaps most important here is the score, which retains such elegant, persuasive life on the track, sweeping across the mix when called upon, or keeping a respectful distance during more private encounters. The music is a key element of the feature, keeping in perfect step with the images. Atmospherics are just as critical, with beautiful, lush elements of environmental changes keeping the surrounds alive with energy, nicely balanced with the frontal dialogue exchanges. Action beats are intense without overkill, feeling out interesting directional activity with arrows and bullets. Low-end is lovely, becoming something truly remarkable during the buffalo hunt centrepiece sequence, with the creatures rumbling along, creating a gorgeous sensation of weight and power to best underscore the enormity of the moment.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
There are sadly no extras with this Blu-ray disc
Finally, Time has softened the impact of ‘Dances with Wolves’ and sugar-coated many of its grim realities (the film's detractors tend to forget the picture's eye-opening body count), yet the feature retains extraordinary intelligence and care, earnestly investigating the ties that bind and the prejudices that divide. It's a tale of immense pastoral presence and intimacy, an irresistible serving of consciousness in the heartland. Costner might've lost his way during his career as his ego inflated and monetary concerns were, but ‘Dances with Wolves’ is as genuine an artistic triumph as they come; a spellbinding American classic that tastes the tears of a country in the midst of all its incomparable beauty. Despite the pitiful exclusion of Extras, which makes me very angry, I am still honoured to have this classic Western Opera in my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone's a critic,
I saw Dances With Wolves at the theatre in 1990 and have always counted it as one of my favorite films.
As I began building my DVD collection, I considered it a "must have." But, I really hesitated buying the Special Extended Edition because a lot of reviewers had stated that the DVD was "overly long" and that the extended scenes had really hurt the content of the film.
Well, in my opinion, these critics are dead wrong. The special edition is every bit as beautiful and stirring as the original release. Yes, the pace of the film is slow, but never boring or dull. There is so much for the viewer to just sit back and take in.
And I wonder how many of those who complained about the movie's four hour length have ever sat through a 4-6 hour mini-series, plus commercials. My advice - view longer films over 2-3 nights, take your time and enjoy an epic such as Dances.
I highly recommend this version. It's a real shame that Kevin Costner's run at the top was so short. In a span of only a few years, he gave us The Untouchables, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and of course, his masterpiece, Dances With Wolves. We have all heard enough Waterworld jokes, so I will refrain. Who knows, maybe some day soon, KC will find that cinema magic once again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make it even longer!,
Review on the extended version/special edition -- If you loved the original Dances with Wolves - you must buy this extended version of the movie. The scenes that were put back in made the story much clearer and actually changed the entire meaning of one scene. I couldn't believe they ever took these scenes out. You won't regret watching the extended version. All I could say after watching it was --- make it longer, make it longer! I wish they would put out the actual ENTIRE movie the way Kevin Costner intended when it was made. I would watch the entire thing - I don't care how long it is.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heartbreaking Journey into the Wilds of The Dakotas.,
Kevin Costner may have made some movie duds, but he makes of for it in sensational movies. Dances with Wolves is one of my most favorite films of all time. It is so sad. It makes you feel bad for settling in America. The film has great perfomances throughout the entire film. The plot takes you into another world. The cinematography is also some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The realism of the indian tribe and the way people lived in the 1800s is wonderful. Everyone should see this movie at some time in their lifetime, I highly reccomend it.
4.0 out of 5 stars DWW still holds up 20 years on.,
Twenty years ago, Dances with Wolves became movie sensation. In many ways, it was all wrong. Most of the dialogue was in the Lakota language of the American Indians, and that language was translated with sub titles. Conventional wisdom in Hollywood said that American audiances won't take sub titles. They did. Instead of releasing this movie on 2000 screens at the same time, the distributors began slowly and allowed momentum to decide the pace of release. This is a low budget movie. By the standards of the day, $14 million was not a lot of money, especially for the epic, big screen movie. Kevin Costner was a big star at that time, but the other leads, especially the Native actors were completely unknown. And yet this movie went on the pack in audiances, and to be nominated and to receive Academy Awards. Not too bad for doing so much wrong.
For those who have never seen thismovie: it is a quintessentially American story. For centuries, school children in America read Pilgrim's Progress, that ham handed allegory of one man's stuggle to attain the Celestial City. While schools no longer put that book in front of their pupils, it continues to influencce American culture and mythololgy. Thus, in this movie, we have one man's search for the ideal society. We have shades of Pocahontas, all told through the philosphy of the "noble savage". That is, is a state of nature, humans are essentially good. So, we have this one man who heads out west during the Civil War in the US, to experience humans and the land in their natural state before the white men come in and despoil it all. He meets up with some Natives and gradually becomes part of their culture. This movie makes good use of costumes to help drive the plot.
Even on a smaller screen, the photography is breath taking, and the music is glorious.
But there is an important element that is missing: the spirituality. First, most Americans in the 18 hundreds, practised some form of religion. We do not even have a hint that Costner's character did that. Even more astounding is that while we do see the Natives engaging in religious practices, such as smoking the pipe, the spiritual significance of them is ignored. In Native spirituality, every rock and tree is spiritual, hunting is a spiritual act, and they pray to the spirits of the animals they kill. These acts are not some kind an aside, they are integral to their whole culture. Thus, in the telling of this story, we have a secularized man who meets up and joins a secularized community.
This movie is still worth watching, although the uncut version is a bit of an endurance test.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dances with Wolves Earns Lawrence Award,
Dances with Wolves easily earns a position among the all-time-greatest epic motion pictures. Its story and presentation are fresh, honest, real and breathtaking. "Epic" implies the film takes longer to tell its story than the average movie, and that it does. But consider that the correct measure of the length of any film is to track the number of visits your eyes make to your watch during the film. Thus a three-hour movie may seem shorter than a ninety-minute movie. The character development and interaction of this movie invites us to participate, to be there and feel as our hearts share the emotions of characters even as we feel the pleasure from the eye candy provided by the amazing cinematography that takes us across the massive Northern Plaines of the United States. The movie begins in a dramatic scene in which, Kevin Costner, a lieutenant in the Union Army, crawls off the battlefield surgeons table to save his badly injured leg or foot from amputation. Somewhat delirious he takes actions that lead to victory for his troops and ends a deadly stalemate between the two armies. As the hero of the battle the general's surgeon heals his leg and the lieutenant is offered any post he wants. He chooses the most remote post the army has because he wants to see the unspoiled land before it's too late, and the real story begins. A caution to those who think the white man was portrayed unfairly; read unbiased history, then watch the movie again. This movie undertakes allot and it succeeds. This exciting action, drama, western, love-story shows us a great example of a film that can be so absolutely entertaining and educational at the same time. Dances with Wolves entertains as it shows through historical example the importance and consequences of learning about our own preconceptions and learning the potential benefit we may enjoy from learning to respect and accept other beliefs or points of view, to just learning to understand all that we can before making decisions and drawing conclusions in any matter.
Dances with Wolves does all that any movie could be asked to do.
5.0 out of 5 stars a worthy film to anyone's catalog,
Whether Kevin Costner likes it or not, his career will be inexorably tied to this masterpiece of cinematography. Written as a novel basically just for this film's screenplay by Michael Blake, this is a journey for all ages to see. There are attempts to validate the accuracy of the history or intention of this movie. I believe it would be missing the point. There are no villains or heroes (though Dunbar may be tried to be portrayed in such a light), just a view of how people of a different ethos try to survive amongst each other where suspicions and distrust run high.
As an actor, this is Kevin at his best. Though solid in 'Open Range', Dance With Wolves gave Costner more of a spectrum of emotion to handle. He dealt with many situations here with a believable sense of drama. I do have one tiny detail with his character. He speaks his narration like he is proof-reading his junior-high school essay. Very flat and monotone. But maybe it done that way to enhance the onscreen action. Who knows?
An intregal element to the movie was to cast exactly the right people to support the film. And no film in recent memory in my opinion handled that privilege better than here. Everyone from Kicking Bird, Stands With a Fist, Wind in His Hair right down to characters such as Smiles-A-Lot, Corporal Spivey and Black Shawl performed without flaw. The script enabled everyone to let their roles come alive.
The extended scenes not in the original release, while not essential, do heighten what Blake tried to get across in the story. More importantly, I did not feel the movie dragging with the additions. I like to think of it as more movie for the dollar.
The extras on the DVD are standard fare and do not penalize one's interest in the film's production. The people interviewed were frank and fun to listen to. So go ahead and pick up Dances With Wolves. It's a well-paced movie that lets a spare four hours go by regretlessly.
5.0 out of 5 stars Turned the tide in Hollywood's picture of Indians,
This review is from: Dances With Wolves (VHS Tape)
Granted, the movie has it's inaccuracies. By the time of the civil war actual war between Whites and Lakotas had been raging for a decade already. Although Lnt. Dunbar's Winchester rifle wouldn't be developed until 10 years after the time frame of the movie, the Lakota did already have guns. However, the mayority still hunted and fought with bow and arrow. The Lakota had been trading with whites for at least two generations already and therefore had a lot of trade items when the film suggests otherwise. Granted.
But what makes this film outstanding is that it lets the Lakota speak mainly for themselves, in their own language, neither in Tonto-speak suggesting an IQ below room temperature nor in english spoken backwards as in so many other distortive Hollywod films about Indians. Sure, the main character is not Indian, it is Dunbar who lets the predominantly white audience discover the Lakota through white eyes. I wonder when we will see a film which doesn't rely any more on this crutch of culture mediation. Its Lorence of Arabia on the plains. Similar to the dramaturgy of "The Man they called Horse", the Lakota seem to have waited for Dunbar to lead them to success. But without that element there wouldn't have been any room for Costner in the cast ;)
There are quite a lot of people who resented this film for being PC propaganda. GA Custer buffs and John Wayne fans have come to talk of "revisionist" Hollywood propaganda painting an overly saintly picture of Indians.
I disagree. This is just one of a handful of films which portrays Indians not as the "bad guys" posing as pop-up targets for the glorious cavalry but as what they really were: members of a colorful, close-to-nature culture that was mercilessly crushed out of greed and race hate. Let's face it, whites who travelled to the west or joined the army had been fed since early childhood days with abduction and torture tales, the first and most prevalent category of truly American literature. That the "indian savages, the red devils" had to be exterminated could be read in countless books and newspaper articles and would be reiterated by congressmen and Presidents from Jefferson down to Roosevelt a century later.
Some people objected to the whites being often depicted as filthy as opposed to cleanly indians. Well, whites on the frontier mostly had a proper bath once a week and many maybe once a month. Indians bathed every day in the next river, they just had a different attitude to the body than christian whites of that period ;)
It is also not correct that the element of violence in Lakota culture is completely blended out. At the band meeting when the Lakota people discuss how to react to Dunbar's presence Wind-in-his-hair suggests to shoot a few arrows into the white stranger in order to set straight who is boss. Strangers on the prairy were mostly considered enemies until circumstances proved otherwise. The movie doesn't gloss over this at all. Later on, enraged by the sight of slaughtered buffalo herds left to rot in the sun by white hunters, the Lakota track down the hunters, butcher and skalp them. At night the whole village rejoices in a scalp dance. Dunbar feels repelled and realizes that a huge cultural chasm separates him from his new friends. Is this PC? I don't think so. What Wind-in-his-hair was not allowed to do is later accomplished by the Pawnees: they kill and scalp Dunbar's stagecoach driver on his way back. A warrior is nothing without war and enemies to overcome, this basic rule of plains cultures is also part of the colorful mixed bag Costner presents to us.
The huge merit of this film is that it gives a very authentic picture of indian life, actually how it used to be a few decades prior to the civil war. The movie leaps across the division line of "us vs. them" and views the "clash of cultures" from the native side. Most of the soldiers Dunbar is confronted with after returning to his post are absorbed with hate and contempt of the "injuns". This characterization is unflattering but, sadly, most accurate. The movie portrays whites essentially through indian eyes. Is this imbalanced? Well, we all have seen hundreds of traditional westerns where it was the other way around. This latter movie helps to create a sort of balance in our minds which has been so sorely lacking previously.
Someone here suggested watching Bruce Beresford's "Black Robe" (1991) instead for "a balanced representation of the clash of two disparate cultures". My advice: do so if you think that whites only came as missionaries instead of soldiers, that whites do upper-class house music whereas indians do it all day and night doggy-style in the dirt, that matriarchaic democratic Iroquois communities are in reality under male dictatorship and that captive women and children are tortured to death instead of being adopted into the tribe and that the same fate awaits white captives although they just passed the initiation ritual of the gauntlet etc. Oh yes, and if you think that Mohawk people speak Cree instead of Mohawk ;)
Now for real, see Dances and Little Big Man and maybe Soldier Blue if you want to know what Sand Creek was like and have an itch to have Saving Private Ryan topped in terms of carnage (uncut version, only availlable outside the US). The rest is white history distortion to the bone, not history.
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm Up For Oscar Night With This Best Picture Winner,
This review is from: Dances With Wolves (DVD)
This review refers to the DVD edition(Image Entertainment) of "Dances With Wolves"....
This film has everything you could ever want to be thoroughly swept away to antoher time and place. A period piece, set during the time of the Civil War, it has action, romance, adventure, a marvelous script,mesmerizing cinematography, and a score that will take your breath away. It's a three hour epic tale, that you may wish would never end.
Kevin Costner leads a fine cast as Lt. John Dunbar, who's dreams of seeing the frontier before it vanishes is realized when he is assigned a deserted post with only a tribe of Sioux Indians as his neighbors. Dunbar and this tribe of peaceful and proud Sioux, are at first wary of each other, but eventually he is taken into the fold and becomes very much a part of their lives. The deep friendships and bonding that evolve, and the romance with "Stands With Fist"(Mary McDonell), a white woman raised by the tribe and is now very much a Sioux, are touching, poignant and even sometimes a little humorous. The adventures, and the heroism of both Dunbar and his new family will keep you involved the entire length of the film.
The film won seven Academy Awards in 1990, including Best Picture and Best Director(Costner). The sweeping score by John Barry is so beautiful, you may just want to order the soundtrack as well.Dean Semler's photography are visions you won't soon forget(both of these also with Oscars for their work on the film). Fine performances by Graham Greene,Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman,Rodney Grant,Tantoo Cardinal really add to the authenticity of the time and place, and Maury Chaykin's appearance is always a welcome addition to any film.
This DVD edition by Image presents a beautiful picture in widescreen and fabulous sound in Dolby Dig 5.1. There are subtitles throughout the film, as a good part of the dialouge spoken is Sioux, and the titles are clear and distinguishable. This edition does not include any special features, but there is also a special edition out that has many features and there is also an edition that is recorded in DTS. At this time, this one is only available through the merchants, the special edition is not too much more pricewise for what you get..but the choices are there for you.
A great way to warm up for the upcoming Oscar season..enjoy...Laurie
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Dances with Wolves (Full Screen) by Kevin Costner (DVD - 2004)
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