355. Dances With Wolves

Movie: Dances With Wolves

Release Date: November 9, 1990

Director: Kevin Costner

Starring: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney Grant.

Tag Lines: “Inside everyone is a frontier waiting to be discovered.”

“The journey begins this November. Discover it for yourself.”

“Lt. John Dunbar is about to discover the frontier…within himself.”

Relevance: I saw ‘Dances With Wolves’ in the theater when it was first released in 1990. It wasn’t something that I needed to see, but friends were going so I tagged along. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film as I wasn’t a huge Kevin Costner fan and it was a Western that ran over three hours long. Westerns by generalization are my least favorite genre of film, if I were to choose one. But as I always say, a good, entertaining story is a good entertaining story no matter the genre.

The movie was well received and eventually won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture. It is credited as an influence for the resurgence of the western genre and was selected for the National Film Registry in 2007. For me, it is an example of how to remain open-minded about art. Even if you are not a fan of something, try it. You may be pleasantly surprised and you just might like it. That is why this film made my list of the most influential movies of my life. I try to keep that open mind at all times when dealing with art and thankfully I am most successful with that type of thinking when it comes to film.

Today’s Thoughts: Interestingly enough when I was going to watch this movie today, no one wanted to watch it with me. Everyone I was with said that they had no interest in seeing it, they tried watching it before and didn’t like it, that it was long, that it was boring and finally, “What the hell is that?” (That last comment was my son.) So I watched it alone.

I was still entertained. I hadn’t seen it in many, many years so a lot of the story had been forgotten. It kept my interest and I was still quite moved at the end of the film. The friendship that is established between Lt. John Dunbar and the Sioux, although at first thought enemies, is still quite relevant storytelling for today’s generation. There are some gorgeous and iconic scenes throughout the film and overall it is beautifully shot.

After watching ‘Dances With Wolves,’ I looked across the internet for some general feedback on it. I did find some criticism of the film as far as representation of Native Americans. As a non-Native American, I can’t agree or disagree with that argument. I would love to have a discussion on this topic though, not to be debated, just to observe and see the movie through someone else’s eyes. This is another reason why film is so important. It makes you think, makes you look at things with a different perspective and it forces dialogue on important issues.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Picture (winner), Academy Award for Best Director, Kevin Costner (winner), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Michael Blake (winner), Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Dean Semler (winner), Academy Award for Best Sound, Russell Williams II, Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton, Gregory H. Watkins (winner), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Neil Travis (winner), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score, John Barry (winner), Academy Award for Best Actoe in a Leading Role, Kevin Costner (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Graham Greene (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Mary McDonnell (nomination), Academy Award for Best Art Direction – Set Direction, Jeffrey Beecroft, Lisa Dean (nomination), Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Elsa Zamparelli (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama (winner), Golden Globe for Best Director, Kevin Costner (winner), Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, Michael Blake (winner), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor – Drama, Kevin Costner (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Mary McDonnell (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Score, John Barry (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Actor, Kevin Costner (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Adapted, Michael Blake (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, Dean Semler (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Kevin Costner (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Neil Travis (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Make Up Artist, Francisco X. Perez (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Original Film Score, John Barry (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Sound, Jeffrey Perkins, Bill W. Benton, Gregory H. Watkins, Russell Williams II (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, Kevin Costner (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Director, Kevin Costner (nomination), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for New Generation Award, Kevin Costner (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Best Film (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Director, Kevin Costner (winner), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer, Jim Wilson, Kevin Costner (winner), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, Michael Blake (winner), National Film Registry (2007).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV, DVD Availability.

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