Dances with Wolves and Lt. Dunbar Analysis

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Dances with Wolves Film Review Film Information: Title: Dances with Wolves Lead Actors: Kevin Costner and Mary McDonnell Release date: 1990 Studio: TIG Productions and Majestic Films International Is considered a Fiction Movie. Although the film was added to the Library of Congress stating it as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. “(Library of Congress). Map of Film Location: Here is map of where the movie took place. Most of the movie was filmed on location in South Dakota, mainly near Pierre and Rapid City, with a few scenes filmed in Wyoming. Specific locations included the Badlands National Park, the Black Hills, the Sage Creek Wilderness Area, and the Belle Fourche River area”( Southdakota. midwestmovies. com). The buffalo hunt scenes were filmed at the Triple U Buffalo Ranch outside Fort Pierre, South Dakota, as were the Fort Sedgwick scenes, the set being constructed on the property. Summarization: Dances with Wolves is the story of Lt. Dunbar, whose exploration of the Western frontier becomes emulated in a search for his own identity. The film is shot as a narrative in continuous development, with Dunbar providing a voice-over narrative in the guise of journal entries.

It begins dramatically with the badly wounded Dunbar who would rather choose death than allow the amputation of his foot. He charges the Confederate lines and so, unwittingly, becomes a hero. Allowed to choose his posting, Dunbar opts for the frontier. His increasing loneliness drives him to seek consolation with the neighboring Indian tribe. Gradually he is accepted as a member of the tribe, which in the America of the Civil War (1861-64) is seen as desertion. In order to spare the tribe anymore retribution from the army, he leaves with his wife (Stands with a Fist) for the wilderness.

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The movie takes place on the western frontier. This is where Lt. Dunbar sought to explore. While on the frontier he encountered the Lakota Indians. With this the audience can assume that the movie takes place in South Dakota. The main characters as mentioned above are Lt. Dunbar and the Indians whose primary character is ‘Stands with a Fist’, who is an English native women. Kevin Costner the director of Dances with Wolves wanted to show people that the movie depicted the Indians in an unstereotypical way. Everybody in this time thought of the Indians as thieves, beggars, and savages.

They took over other people’s land and killed the buffalo. I know that a lot of people have misunderstood, mistreated, or misjudged someone in their lifetime. All people are worthy of respect, you cannot just judge by first instinct or by what others say. Americans back then were small minded, revengeful, prejudiced, and swayed by rumor very easily. This movie really affected the Indian population in the U. S. , especially those in the conservation still abiding by their ancestors way of life. It showed great respect to the Indian heritage. Info about the Author:

Dances with Wolves was based off a book written by Michael Blake. He has also written other screenplays such as Stacy’s Knights and Winding Stair. Michael studied journalism at the University of New Mexico, and later studied at a film school, in Berkeley, California. He also attended Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, where wrote many screenplays. In the late 1970s he moved to Los Angeles; during the eighties only one of his screenplays was produced, called Stacey’s Knights. The movie starred Kevin Costner, who later convinced him to write Dances with Wolves, and then a screenplay for the film based on the novel.

He has since gone on to do humanitarian work, and continued to write. Michael Blake received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Dances with Wolves. 5 Meaningful Scenes: The very beginning scene of the film we have a sense of compassion and empathy for Lt. Dunbar because he is injured and tries to die heroically. This form of justifiable suicide gives us a sense of his aimlessness and loneliness. Since most people have experienced some form of these feelings before we naturally want to hop on board with John’s emotions and hold on for the ride.

This scene really makes me understand that we all have a purpose in life and striving to fulfill this purpose makes us realize that ‘life’ is more than just who one is or perceives to be. The scene where the Sioux tribe was attacked by the Pawnee tribe revealed something great to me. Throughout the film the Indian is represented as being civilized and living in a close and caring community, however, one must not ignore the fact that there were blood-thirsty Indians, who were very fierce and warlike.

The movie portrays the Indians as being good but as in all communities and civilizations there will always be bad and immoral people. This scene really shows us that. The Buffalo hunt scene where the Sioux riders race alongside thousands of rampaging buffalo and bring several of them down. It’s a high adrenaline sequence that marks the moment when Dunbar finally rejects his old culture to embrace his new one. Then this made me realize that the white men started killing all the animals that the Native Americans would live off of.

There were more than 60 million Bisons (Buffalos) and the white men killed 95% of them, so we essentially made the Natives starve to death just for a peace of fur or clothing. That’s very troubling to me. According to the credits, the scene called “Broken Forest” is another scene that appealed to me. Kicking Bird takes Dances with Wolves to a sacred place… even sacred to Sioux enemies. This scene is probably my favorite scene because it made me realize that the native cultures in retrospect were more civilized and respectful to our earth than any of us today.

The only thing we do now to preserve things is recycle. It makes one feel quite shameful at times. At the end of the movie a wolf appears, this is after Two Socks is killed. There are many theories on what the wolf stood for, some say the wolf never died. For me the wolf at the end is meant to show that Dances with Wolves, is still dancing with wolves. The howl is meant to tell of the sadness in what is yet to befall on the Sioux. I believe the wolf howling symbolizes to keep striving towards ones purpose in life. Film Evaluation:

This film is worth seeing because it is very informational and a lot can be learned from it. The film gives a historically accurate presentation of the Sioux Indians and their way of life. The biggest reason to see this film is because it nullifies negative stereotypes towards the Native Americans. This film fairly easy to understand, the hard part is maintaining focus on the movie due to its length (3 hours). I would definitely recommend this to a student because as mentioned above there is a lot to be learned from the film. Seeing this film made me want to be more preserving and less wasteful.

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