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5 Tree

Dances With Wolves

Pros

  • This movie keeps you riveted for the entire 3 hours!
  • There is a valuable lesson taught about not judging people until you know them.
  • Cons

  • The end leaves you hanging, never certain how the movie ends.
  • Review

    The movie begins with Union Lieutenant John W. Dunbar trying to kill himself on a suicide mission, but instead becoming an accidental hero. Given his choice of reassignments, he requests the frontier, “To see it before it is gone.”  He is sent to an extremely remote post in South Dakota, where he meets the Sioux Indians.  He is alone, but at first not lonely; he keeps a journal and writes of his daily routine. 

    Dunbar documents the way he and the Sioux slowly get to know one another. Dunbar has the one quality he needs to cut through the deep-rooted racism of his time: He can look another man in the eye, and see the man, rather than his attitudes about the man.  They meet first in the middle of the prairie, where they assess each other and keep an open mind.  Neither speaks each other's language. Dunbar tries to imitate a buffalo. Kicking Bird, the holy man, thinks he understands what the stranger is trying to say, and at last, they exchange the word for "buffalo" in each other's languages. These first awkward words are the critical moments in "Dances with Wolves."  

    One day, the Sioux bring Stands with a Fist, a white woman who as a girl, came to live with the tribe after her family was murdered. She remembers a little English. With a translator, progress is quicker, until eventually Dunbar comes to live with the tribe, and is given the name Dances with Wolves.  Dances with Wolves has befriended the Holy Man, fallen in love with and married, Stands with a Fist.  His peaceful way of life is threatened when Union soldiers come with plans for the Sioux land.  Meanwhile, we get to know many key members of the Sioux tribe.  After Dunbar has killed in battle beside them, he realizes he never knew who "John Dunbar" was, but he knows who Dances with Wolves is!

    Narrated by Dunbar, and his speech at this point is a center for the film: He sees that the battle with the enemy tribe was not fought for political reasons, but for food and land, and it was fought to protect the women and children who were right there in battle. He knows why he was fighting, and why he was ready to risk losing his life.

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