Directed By: Kevin Costner
Written By: Michael Blake
Staring: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A. Grant, Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman, and Tantoo Cardinal
With Ten Bears, it was always more than a while. There was purpose in everything he did, and I knew he wanted me to stay. But I was sure of myself. I would be an excuse, and that’s all the Army would need to find this place. I pushed him as far as I could to move the camp. But in the end, he only smiled and talked of simple pleasures. He reminded me that at his age, a good fire was better than anything. Ten Bears was an extraordinary man. -John Dunbar
Dances With Wolves is one of those movies that you can’t watch one hundred times in a row, but each time you do, it is more enjoyable than the time before. With life lessons, a reflection on American history, and a beautiful interpretation of Native Americans, this story is one that will linger in your heart forever. In it’s very simplistic way of telling the story, and a detachment from what becomes the perverse way of the white man, the tale of two different cultures learning from each other ignites, and this beautiful story with Kevin Costner begins.
Lt. John Dunbar had been deemed a hero from leading the Union troops to a victory during the Civil War. Afterwords he requests a position somewhere out west. When he arrives somewhere in the Dakota’s, he’s shocked to find himself completely alone, the place deserted. It isn’t long before he realizes that he is not alone. There is a lone wolf that has been watching him from a distance. Loneliness and curiosity inspire John to attempt a friendship with the creature. While he is engaging his new friend “Two Socks”, he runs into a local Sioux tribe, and after much hesitation he rides out in full uniform with his American flag blazing. After much confusion and chaos in the gap of communication they find a common ground. They communicate with him with a white woman, who was raised by the tribe, and can speak broken English. Her name is “Stands With A Fist” (Mary McDonnell) and it isn’t long before John begins to fancy her and mend friendships with other members of the tribe. The rest of the tribe eventually accepts him as one of their own and John forgets he’s been sent to the post for a reason. He is abruptly reminded when an army begins to advance on the frontier and his new life begins to shatter before him.
What immediately grips you is the film itself is eye candy. Huge expanses of flowing prairie land creates a feeling that is shocking to believe there was once so much open free land. The herds of Buffalo and the sound of them stampeding is breath taking. The camera shots, and the coloring offset by the simpleness of the story and relationships formed show that the bonds created in the wide open plain were much greater than a understanding of one another. The film demonstrated when the time is taken between two people that don’t even speak the same language a meeting of minds can be made, or even friendships. Kevin Costner was young and earnest, Mary McDonnell sweet and adoring, and Graham Greene had the most curious and sweet eyes. The cast was powerful, but the story, the imagery, and the heart behind it makes for one of those movies you never grow tired of watching.
Dances With Wolves is one of the most emphatic, beautiful stories ever told in a motion picture and should be seen by anyone with a television. It teaches you to love, to learn, and most importantly to listen to one another. The blatant display of two complete different races and cultures appreciating and learning from each other is heart warming. The message this movie sends will never run dry.