Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. 100
    This movie moves so confidently and looks so good it seems incredible that it's a directorial debut.
  2. 100
    While no one is going to place Costner alongside Laurence Olivier in the acting department, he brings a likability to Dunbar that many better performers might not have been able to match.
  3. 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]
  4. 100
    A gigantic achievement, an endowment of riches.
  5. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    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.
  6. Costner (with Michael Blake's screenplay) creates a vision so childlike, so willfully romantic, it's hard to put up a fight.
  7. 88
    A three-hour delight… The movie generates much of its power by being so life-affirming at a time when people feel nervous about the future. [9 Nov 1990, Friday, p.C]
  8. The treatment of the Sioux is not only sympathetic, it's ethnographically exact. Neither Noble Savages nor Red Injuns, the natives in Dances With Wolves are differentiated human beings about to undergo cultural genocide.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 80 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Feb 25, 2014
    Phenomenal 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. Full Review »
  2. Mar 9, 2013
    With its great direction and extremely well acted and written plot, Dances With Wolves suceeds in all standards.
  3. Mar 6, 2012
    a great film where you look, with a technical section that nothing blockbusters envy, besides being a heartwarming story of valuesâ