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Dances with Wolves

Dances With Wolves (1990)

Director: Kevin Costner
Writers: Michael Blake (screenplay), Michael Blake (novel)
Cast: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene
Genre: Adventure Drama

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

Kevin Costner not only stars in this but directed and produced it too. You can tell this is a labor of love as there's so much packed into the movie, it's truly an epic and yet it feels so personal.

I can't think of no other actor who at the time could have filled Costner's boots. And no, I'm not a big Kevin Costner fan...but he was the right fit for this role. And at 3 hours long the film might seem like a journey just to get through, but thanks to Costner the actor and Costner the director those 3 hours fly by!

One of the most important aspects of film making is to give the audience a character they can relate to...someone who serves as a proxy as we experience the world of the movie through their character. And Costner is perfect for that he's the everyday guy, someone who's fed up with the killing in the Civil War and just wants to escape the stupidity of it all. And he does escape it and ends up in the middle of nowhere, which to him is the most beautiful place on Earth.

I could easily see that given the same place, time and circumstances that I too would have taken a similar path...and that makes Dances With Wolves a personal film, as I can 'live' history for the duration of the film.

I love the cinematography AND I respect the fact that Costner as the producer spent a quarter of million dollars on animatronic buffalo that were used in the hunt. No buffalo were killed during the film! Costner is not the type of person to do that and that fits with the theme of embracing nature as his character John Dunbar does.

I have to say the voice over narration was a thing of beauty. It gave me a sense of awe and longing that his character experienced.

My favorite interaction was between Costner and Graham Green as Kicking Bird. I've seen other movies that respect and show Native Americans as a proud people, but even better, we see that they are just people. I loved the way Kicking Bird interacted with his wife, he reminded me of myself...Kicking Bird was a well developed character, but so was many of the Sioux, and that's very nice to see in a movie.

I think so highly of Dances With Wolves, that I plan on watching the extended 4 hour version when I get a chance.