Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 132 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Rewarded for his heroism in the Civil War, Lt. Dunbar (Costner) wants to see the American frontier before it is gone. He is assigned to an adandoned fort, where a sioux tribe is his only neighbor. Overcoming the language barrier and their mutual fear and distrust, Dunbar and the proudRewarded for his heroism in the Civil War, Lt. Dunbar (Costner) wants to see the American frontier before it is gone. He is assigned to an adandoned fort, where a sioux tribe is his only neighbor. Overcoming the language barrier and their mutual fear and distrust, Dunbar and the proud Indians gradually become friends. Eventually, he falls in love with the beautiful Stands With a Fist (McDonnell), a white woman raised by the tribe. (MGM) Expand
Watch On
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. 100
    A gigantic achievement, an endowment of riches.
  2. 100
    A clear-eyed vision. Authentic as an Edward Curtis photograph, lyrical as a George Catlin oil or a Karl Bodmer landscape, this is a film with a pure ring to it. It's impossible to call it anything but epic [9 Nov 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    90
    Costner's directing style is fresh and assured. A sense of surprise and humor accompany Dunbar's adventures at every turn, twisting the narrative gently this way and that and making the journey a real pleasure.
  4. The film's politically correct repudiation of the familiar black-and-white characterizations of the white and red man is ultimately undermined, however, when the pendulum swings too far in the other direction.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Ultimately, this film is more interesting than rousing; missing is a John Ford-ian wealth of idiosyncratic characters. [9 Nov 1990, Life, 4D]
  6. Smoothly directed by Kevin Costner, who also gives a sensitive performance in the leading role. The screenplay is often trite, however, and there's no reason for the picture's three-hour length. [9 Nov 1990, Arts, p.12]
  7. 30
    The movie is childishly naïve... like a New Age social-studies lesson. It isn't really revisionist; it's the old stuff toned down and sensitized. [17 Dec 1990]

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. EC
    Jul 1, 2007
    10
    A marvelous film. Many powerful sequences, some memorable characters, lush and evocative cinematography in the right places. Not too many A marvelous film. Many powerful sequences, some memorable characters, lush and evocative cinematography in the right places. Not too many movies leave you feeling enriched, but this one does. Expand
  2. May 29, 2015
    10
    Marvelous storytelling. An epic movie that drew me in, and made me one with it's leading character as he became one with the land and itsMarvelous storytelling. An epic movie that drew me in, and made me one with it's leading character as he became one with the land and its people. It is romantic, adventurous, war-torn, violent, peaceful, and lovely. It is full of love, hate, misunderstanding and guidance. Dances with Wolves is a picture of mankind at both its best... and worst. Expand
  3. UsmanA.
    Jun 6, 2006
    10
    its a briliant film. explains the civil war and how america split up because of slavery. 1 man changes from being a hero to being a traitor.
  4. Jun 18, 2011
    9
    Dances With Wolves is the 1990s version of Avatar. Wait, let me rephrase that; Avatar is a 2000's version of Dances With Wolves. It'sDances With Wolves is the 1990s version of Avatar. Wait, let me rephrase that; Avatar is a 2000's version of Dances With Wolves. It's well-done, exciting, and truly emotional. It's Kevin Costner's best film,for none of his other's can beat it. It gets you emotionally drawn to the film throughout, and you never want any of the characters to be forgotten. While watching the film, I quickly realized it resembled many characteristics that I had seen in previous movies. The cinematography, the acting, and the story had all been recreated in films that had come out after the movie, and this was a basic beginner of many films in Hollywood. Itââ Expand
  5. Feb 25, 2014
    9
    Phenomenal film. First off, the cinematography is breathtaking. Just absolutely stunning. The mise en scene, as a whole, is great as well asPhenomenal film. First off, the cinematography is breathtaking. Just absolutely stunning. The mise en scene, as a whole, is great as well as the scenery was top-notch. In addition, the soundtrack made me absolutely swoon. If I had not already been swept off of my feet, the soundtrack would have swept me off my feet, but in the end, it just serves as further evidence of the sheer beauty of this film. Just wow. In terms of the story, I thought it, as well, was beautifully presented. From the early encounters to the very end, there is a certain beauty to the interaction between the characters as Dunbar adjusts to his new situation. In terms of the acting, Kevin Costner and a cast of relative unknowns did a great job. Initially, I was unsure about Costner and did not like his performance that much in the beginning, but as the film progressed, he won me over completely. The final note I want to make is on the length. It is three hours, so it is up there in terms of time, but it never really shows its length. Instead, it almost tricks you into thinking it is much shorter in the way it utilizes every second to tell its story. Expand
  6. Mar 9, 2013
    9
    With its great direction and extremely well acted and written plot, Dances With Wolves suceeds in all standards.
  7. Li
    Jan 30, 2007
    4
    This grossly overrated film works only if you live in some strange reality where being extremely naive and foolhardy doesn't get you This grossly overrated film works only if you live in some strange reality where being extremely naive and foolhardy doesn't get you immediately killed and poo-pooed at. The protagonist evokes neither awe nor sympathy, just sad pity for a deluded has-been. However, the cinematography is admittedly beautiful (but not stunning). Expand

See all 24 User Reviews

Trailers