Dances with Wolves From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Dances with wolves) Jump to: navigation, search For the song by Mount Eerie, see Mount Eerie Dances with Wolves. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2008) Dances with Wolves Directed by Kevin Costner Produced by Jim Wilson Kevin Costner Written by Michael Blake Narrated by Kevin Costner Starring Kevin Costner Mary McDonnell Graham Greene Rodney A.
Music by John Barry Cinematography Dean Semler Editing by Neil Travis Distributed by Orion Pictures Release date(s) November 21, 1990 Running time Theatrical: 181 min. Director’s Cut: 236 min. Country United States United Kingdom Language English Lakota Pawnee Budget $22,000,000 Gross revenue $424,208,848 Dances with Wolves is a 1990 American epic western film based on the book of the same name which tells the story of a Civil War-era United States Army lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and his dealings with a group of Lakota.
Developed by director/star Kevin Costner over five years, with a budget of only $18 million, the film has high production values and won 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.  Much of the dialogue is in the Lakota language with English subtitles. It was shot in South Dakota and Wyoming. It is considered one of the best films of the 1990s and is credited as a leading influence for the revitalization of the Western genre of filmmaking in Hollywood.
In 2007, Dances with Wolves was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. “ Contents [hide] 1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production 4 Reception 5 Awards and honors 6 Sequel 7 Historical references 8 Home video editions 8. 1 Laserdisc 8. 2 VHS 8. 3 DVD 8. 4 Blu-ray 9 Soundtrack 10 Bibliography 11 References 12 External links  Plot The film opens during the American Civil War. In a United States Army field hospital, First Lieutenant John J. Dunbar (Kevin Costner) learns that his injured leg is to be amputated.
Seeing the plight of fellow soldiers with amputated legs, Dunbar leaves the hospital, steals a cavalry horse, and attempts suicide by riding across the no man’s land between the opposing Union and Confederate positions. His action unexpectedly rallies the Union soldiers, who storm the Confederate defenses to win the battle. Impressed by Dunbar’s actions, the commanding general of the Union forces, Major General Tide (Donald Hotton), summons his personal surgeon to save Dunbar’s leg. Tide declares Dunbar to be a hero and awards him Cisco, the horse who carried him in battle as well as offering Dunbar his choice of posting.
Dunbar requests a transfer to the western frontier and soon after his leg heals he arrives at a fort which is a gateway to the west. This is where he begins to record his frontier experiences in a journal read in voice over. Dunbar meets Major Fambrough (Maury Chaykin), who has slipped into alcohol-fueled delusions of grandeur (apparently believing he is a king and Dunbar a medieval knight). Fambrough scribbles out Dunbar’s orders to report to Captain Cargill at Fort Sedgwick and pairs him off with an uncouth drayage teamster named Timmons (Robert Pastorelli), who is to convey him to his post.
After they depart, Fambrough shoots himself in the head. After a journey across the South Dakota plains, Dunbar and Timmons arrive at the desolate Fort Sedgwick. Timmons leaves, and Dunbar is left by himself at the outpost, with a lone wolf that he befriends and dubs Two Socks. The deaths of Fambrough and Timmons, who is ambushed and scalped by Pawnee Indians, prevent the rest of the army from knowing of Dunbar’s isolated assignment. Dunbar initially encounters Sioux neighbors when the tribe’s Holy man, Kicking Bird (Graham Greene) attempts to capture Dunbar’s horse, Cisco, but he is scared off by Dunbar’s unexpected reappearance.
Later some of the tribe’s youths, Smiles A Lot and Otter (Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse and Michael Spears), capture and attempt to break Cisco. Later still, some of the tribe’s mature warriors, led by an aggressive warrior named Wind in His Hair (Rodney A. Grant), are likewise thwarted. The Sioux decide that Cisco is not worth the effort and leave him alone; the horse returns to Dunbar’s fort. In response to these interactions, Dunbar seeks out the Sioux camp. On his way, he comes across Stands With A Fist (Mary McDonnell), the white, adopted daughter of Kicking Bird.
She is a recent widow who has just slit her wrists. Dunbar returns her to the Indian camp to be treated, which dramatically changes the Sioux’ attitude about Dunbar. Eventually, Dunbar establishes a rapport with Kicking Bird, though the language barrier frustrates them; eventually Stands With A Fist acts as a translator. Since her parents were slaughtered by the Pawnee, she has been assimilated to Sioux culture and she fears that Dunbar will try to return her to the whites. Instead, Dunbar finds himself drawn to the lifestyle and customs of the tribe, and constantly looks forward to their company.
He becomes a hero among the Sioux and is accepted as an honored guest after he locates a migrating herd of buffalo. During the ensuing buffalo hunt, he saves Smiles A Lot from a rampaging bull, and at last Wind In His Hair accepts him as a friend. When he returns to the soldier fort, Dunbar’s thoughts dwell on the Indian camp. He makes an impromptu visit, but is dismayed to find Two Socks following him. Irritated, he dismounts and orders the wolf to return home, but Two Socks playfully trips him up. The exchange is observed by Kicking Bird, Stone Calf, and Wind in His Hair, who decide to rename Dunbar as Su? gmanitu T? a? a Ob’wachi (the eponymous “Dances with Wolves”). During this visit, Dunbar finds that most of the warriors in the camp are preparing to go on a raid against a rival Pawnee tribe. Kicking Bird refuses to admit him into the war party, but leaves him behind to care for his family. During this time, Stands With A Fist tutors him in Lakota and they fall in love. Unfortunately, the relationship is made taboo by the recent death of Stands With A Fist’s husband, so they are forced to keep their intimacy a secret. As the weeks wear on, the war party still has not returned, but scouts pick up word of a large Pawnee war party approaching the camp.
No longer worried about maintaining the army’s stockpile of rifles, Dunbar opens his surplus stores of ammunition to defend the settlement against the Pawnee, saving the village (except for Stone Calf, who is slain). Kicking Bird and Wind In His Hair return to find that the tribe has accepted Dunbar as a full-fledged member. With this accomplished, Dances With Wolves eventually wins Kicking Bird’s approval to marry Stands With A Fist, and he abandons Fort Sedgwick forever. Dunbar’s idyll ends when he tells Kicking Bird that white men will continue to invade their land.
They tell Chief Ten Bears (Floyd Red Crow Westerman), who decides it is time to move the village to its winter camp. As the packing finishes, Dunbar realizes that his journal, left behind at the deserted fort, is a blueprint for finding the tribe, as well as evidence of his abandoning his assignment. He returns to the outpost to retrieve it, but finds Fort Sedgwick has finally been re-occupied by army troops. Because Dunbar is dressed in Lakota wear, the soldiers do not recognize him as an officer, and shoot at him, killing Cisco. As Dunbar weeps over the body of his fallen horse, the soldiers kick and beat him, arresting him as a traitor.
In an abusive interrogation, Dunbar explains to the unsympathetic Major (Wayne Grace) in command and Lt. Elgin that he had a journal with orders about his posting to Fort Sedgwick. Corporal Spivey (Tony Pierce) denies the existence of this journal, but actually has it in his pocket. After Dunbar declares in the Lakota language that he is now Dances With Wolves, the officers set out to deliver Dunbar to Fort Hays, Kansas for execution on a charge of treason. When they happen upon Two Socks, Spivey, Edwards (Kirk Baltz), and the other soldiers shoot at the wolf, who refuses to leave Dunbar.
Despite Dunbar’s attempts to intervene, Two Socks is killed by Edwards, then the convoy moves off. However, a band of Sioux braves are close on their trail. Wind In His Hair and other Sioux warriors attack the convoy and rescue Dunbar. Smiles A Lot retrieves Dunbar’s journal floating in a brook, where Spivey has lost it. After returning to the winter camp, Dunbar realizes that as a deserter and murderer, he is now a fugitive and will continue to draw the Army’s attention, endangering the tribe. Despite the protests of his Sioux friends, Dunbar decides that he must leave the tribe.
Stands With A Fist decides to accompany him. Before they depart, Smiles A Lot returns his journal. Dunbar and Kicking Bird also exchange gifts. As Dances With Wolves and Stands With A Fist leave the camp, Wind In His Hair cries out that Dances With Wolves will always be his friend. Soon after, a column of US Cavalry and Pawnee army scouts arrive to find the former Sioux camp site empty. Before the end credits, a note explains that thirteen years later the last remnants of free Sioux were subjugated to the U. S. Government, ending the conquest of the Western frontier states.  Cast
Dances with Wolves illustration featuring Kevin Costner and Rodney A. Grant. Kevin Costner as Lt. John J. Dunbar/Dances With Wolves Mary McDonnell as Stands With A Fist Graham Greene as Kicking Bird Rodney A. Grant as Wind In His Hair Floyd Red Crow Westerman as Chief Ten Bears Tantoo Cardinal as Black Shawl Jimmy Herman as Stone Calf Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse as Smiles A Lot Michael Spears as Otter Jason R. Lone Hill as Worm Charles Rocket as Lt. Elgin Robert Pastorelli as Timmons Larry Joshua as Sgt. Bauer Tony Pierce as Spivey Kirk Baltz as Edwards Tom Everett as Sgt. Pepper Maury Chaykin as Maj. Fambrough
Wes Studi as the fiercest Pawnee Wayne Grace as The Major  Production Originally written as a spec script by Michael Blake, it went unsold in the mid-1980s. It was Kevin Costner who, in early 1986 (when he was relatively unknown), encouraged Blake to turn the screenplay into a novel, to improve its chances of being adapted into a film. The novel manuscript of Dances with Wolves was rejected by numerous publishers but finally published in paperback in 1988. As a novel, the rights were purchased by Costner, with an eye to his directing it.  Actual production lasted for four months, from July 18 to November 23, 1989.
Most of the movie was filmed on location in South Dakota, mainly near Pierre and Rapid City, with a few scenes filmed in Wyoming. Specific locations included the Badlands National Park, the Black Hills, the Sage Creek Wilderness Area, and the Belle Fourche River area. The buffalo hunt scenes were filmed at the Triple U Buffalo Ranch outside Pierre, South Dakota, as were the Fort Sedgwick scenes, the set being constructed on the property.  Production delays were numerous, due to South Dakota’s unpredictable weather, the difficulty of “directing” barely trainable wolves, and the complexity of the Indian battle scenes.
Particularly arduous was the film’s centerpiece buffalo hunt sequence: this elaborate chase was filmed over three weeks using 100 Indian stunt riders and an actual stampeding herd of several thousand buffalo. During one shot, Costner (who did almost all of his own horseback riding) was “T-boned” by another rider and knocked off his horse, nearly breaking his back. The accident is captured in The Creation of an Epic, the behind-the-scenes documentary on the Dances With Wolves Special Edition DVD.
According to the documentary, none of the buffalo were computer animated (CGI was then in its infancy) and only a few were animatronic or otherwise fabricated. In fact, Costner and crew employed the largest domestically owned buffalo ranch, with two of the domesticated buffalo being borrowed from Neil Young; this was the herd used for the buffalo hunt sequence. Budget overruns were inevitable, owing to Costner’s breaking several unspoken Hollywood “rules” for first-time directors: avoid shooting outside and avoid working with children and animals, as much as possible.
As a result, late in the production Costner was forced to personally add $3 million out-of-pocket to the film’s original $15-million budget. Referencing the infamous fiasco of Michael Cimino’s 1980 Heaven’s Gate, considered the most mismanaged Western in film history, Costner’s project was satirically dubbed “Kevin’s Gate” by Hollywood critics and pundits skeptical of a three-hour, partially subtitled Western by a novice filmmaker.  The film changed the novel’s Comanche Indians to Sioux, because of the larger number of Sioux speakers.
The language spoken is a fairly accurate, although simplified, version of the actual Lakota language. Lakota Sioux language instructor Doris Leader Charge (1931—2001) was the on-set Lakota dialogue coach and also portrayed Pretty Shield, wife of Chief Ten Bears, portrayed by Floyd Red Crow Westerman.  Indian activist and actor Russell Means commented on the movie as follows: “Remember Lawrence of Arabia? That was Lawrence of the Plains. The odd thing about making that movie is, they had a woman teaching the actors the Lakota language. But Lakota has a male-gendered language and a female-gendered language.
Some of the Indians and Kevin Costner were speaking in the feminine way. When I went to see it with a bunch of Lakota guys, we were laughing. ” Despite portraying the adopted daughter of Graham Greene’s character Kicking Bird, Mary McDonnell, then 37, was actually two months older than Greene, and less than two years younger than Tantoo Cardinal, the actress playing her adoptive mother. In addition, McDonnell was extremely nervous about shooting her sex scene with Kevin Costner, requesting it be toned down to a more modest version than what was scripted.   Reception