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

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Universal acclaim- based on 101 Ratings

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  • 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 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
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
    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)
    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
    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 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. EC
    Jul 1, 2007
    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. Jun 24, 2014
    Dances with wolves is something that you don't see in movies now a days and it speaks to you In away that movies should this without a doubt one of my favorite movies of all time Expand
  3. UsmanA.
    Jun 6, 2006
    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
    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'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. Mar 9, 2013
    With its great direction and extremely well acted and written plot, Dances With Wolves suceeds in all standards.
  6. Jan 12, 2012
    A very good, even though a little bit naive movie. Kevin Costner is one of the worst actors I've ever seen, but he seems to work well for this particular one - plus the supporting cast really did their best. The plot is really simple, but it can keep the viewer interested, and the part when Dunbar got to be friends with the Sioux was heartwarming. Beautiful visuals and music complete a movie that is definitely worth watching. Expand
  7. Li
    Jan 30, 2007
    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 23 User Reviews