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Dances With Wolves

by

Roger Davidson

Dances With Wolves
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This is one of the few westerns that devotes its time to looking at the plight of the American Indians (particularly the Sioux), who were thought by some as even more subhuman than blacks during the 1800's (and even during parts of the 1900's). Kevin Costner directs and stars as Lt. John Dunbar, a civil war vet attempting to get away from the bloodshed of the conflict. He is sent to a remote outpost in the Dakotas, where he befriends a group of Sioux. He befriends three particular members of the tribe: Kicking Bird (Graham Greene), the tribal holy man; Stands with a Fist (Mary McDonnell), a white woman raised by the tribe; Wind in his Hair (Rodney A. Grant), a young Indian warrior. It is through these three individuals that Costner's fears and prejudices of the Indians are expelled. He helps the Indians out in their buffalo hunts, battles with an enemy tribe and Federal troops, and he eventually learns the language and tribal customs and is accepted as one of the tribal family.

An amazing story, with great performances, splendid cinematography by Dean Semler and impressive stunt work (much of which Costner did himself). It doesn't preach too much about the pains the Indians suffered at the hands of the white man. Like Schindler's List and Rosewood, this simply depicts the tragedy through visuals, instead of words. Costner hasn't directed since, but I doubt he could ever surpass what he did with Dances With Wolves.

My Rating = Four Stars


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