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205 of 226 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kevin Costner's Best Film to Date
Kevin Costner directed, produced and starred in the 1990 western epic "Dances with Wolves", which was based upon the novel of the same name by author Michael Blake, who also wrote the film's screenplay. Costner plays U.S. Army Lieutenant John G. Dunbar during and shortly after the U.S. Civil War. Following a victory with Union troops under his command, he requests an...
Published on April 17, 2003 by M. Hart

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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE -- Amazon's product description is wrong!!
First off, let me say that this is a "five-star" film for me. My rating is based on Amazon's incorrect information on the product page.

The product being offered here by Amazon.com is the UK Region-free Blu-ray. It is NOT the long version as stated, but rather the theatrical release at 181 minutes' running time. I verified this by ordering the Blu-ray, then...
Published on May 1, 2010 by J.A. Smithers


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205 of 226 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kevin Costner's Best Film to Date, April 17, 2003
Kevin Costner directed, produced and starred in the 1990 western epic "Dances with Wolves", which was based upon the novel of the same name by author Michael Blake, who also wrote the film's screenplay. Costner plays U.S. Army Lieutenant John G. Dunbar during and shortly after the U.S. Civil War. Following a victory with Union troops under his command, he requests an assignment to the western frontier and is assigned to an isolated military outpost in the Dakota Territory. John waits patiently for other troops to arrive at the outpost, but they never do. With no means to communicate with his superiors, John bides his time by taking care of the outpost and himself, as well as writing in his journal. A nearby wolf begins to take an interest in John. At first, he tries to chase the wolf away, but eventually, the wolf becomes John's unwitting companion. Later, John realizes that there is a nearby Native American Sioux tribe. Members of the tribe meet John, but since they do not have a common language to speak with one another, they are somewhat suspicious of him. Later, they invite John to visit their encampment where he sees a Caucasian woman (Mary McDonnell) living with them. She remembers a little English is able to talk with him and tells him that her name is Stands With A Fist. Eventually, John learns how to speak Sioux and is adopted by the tribe after he helps them.
Originally released at 183 minutes (three hours), the film may seem long; but the characters, story and cinematography keep most viewers fully engaged. The extended director's version is even longer at 236 minutes (four hours). The primary Sioux characters are Kicking Bird (Graham Greene, whose career in film was boosted greatly by this film), Wind in His Hair (Rodney A. Grant), the elder Ten Bears (Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman) and Black Shawl (Tantoo Cardinal). The film won seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director (Kevin Costner), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Music, Best Sound and Best Writing--Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Michael Blake). Kevin Costner received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, Graham Greene was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Mary McDonnell was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
Overall, I rate "Dances with Wolves" with 5 out of 5 stars not only for being a very engaging film, but also for its very positive portrayal of Native American life in the former western frontier. Some people may find the film too long, some may be offended by the negative portrayal of U.S. Army soldiers and some may be offended by the negative portrayal of Pawnee tribespeople. Unfortuneately, none of Costner's works following "Dances with Wolves" have been as good. Films that Costner only starred in such as "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (1991), "A Perfect World" (1993) and "Wyatt Earp" (1994) were entertaining; but films that he both starred in and directed were box office disasters: "Waterworld" (1995) and "The Postman" (1997). Perhaps his next directorial work (that he also stars in) will be better: "Open Range", slated for release in May, 2003.
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106 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Reason You Must Buy the Blu-Ray..., January 13, 2011
I wont bother going into details about the film itself. If by chance you haven't already seen Dances With Wolves or haven't at least heard about it then there are already hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews already written that go into detail about the film itself. At this point I really dont think I can significantly add to whats already been said about this film. Ill simply say that it was, and still is, one of my all time favorite films.

I am writing this review urging people to buy the 20th Anniversary Blu-Ray Edition for one reason and one reason only, the soundtrack. This is not to say that the soundtrack is the only worthy upgrade in this version, quite the contrary as I think this version is outstanding in every possible way (unlike the previous releases). Its simply because its worth upgrading to just for the soundtrack alone. Its hands down one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard and until you have heard it in all its glory on Blu_Ray....well your really missing out as this is one of those rare films where the soundtrack takes the film to a completely new level and this Blu-Ray version is so superior to the previous releases that its really like hearing it again for the very first time.

I have been a HUGE fan of this score since I first heard it. In fact, its pretty much the only thing I listen to when I go storm chasing every year. I just play it again and again and again and again and I have been doing this since I first started chasing over 10 years ago. I just never get sick of it and its really become one of the staples to my entire trip. The people I chase with actually make jokes over the radio. Statements like "Oh no, he is playing it again" followed by laughter are extremely common.

Anyways this release certainly doesn't disappoint in this regard. The 7.1 DTS-HD master, running roughly over 4600kbs, is absolutely breathtaking. Actually breathtaking doesn't even properly describe just how stunning it is. Its really futile even trying to put it into words. I purchased a new audio system from ADA last year and I have never heard my set-up sound this good. I literally sat in awe for the first 30 minutes of the film. It really must be heard to be believed.

Bottom line - There are a lot of reasons to buy this Blu-Ray but for me one reason stuck out far above the others, the score. If your a fan of this film and even remotely enjoyed the score then you should be ordering this as soon as humanely possible. If you haven't seen this film and are a fan of quality scores then your missing out on one of the most iconic American scores ever produced and its never sounded better than it does on the 20th Anniversary Blu-Ray edition. Its like your standing right in the middle of the orchestra. This is really what hi-def is all about.

5 stars
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185 of 208 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Rare View of My Tribe, September 8, 2004
By 
Redbird "Love Mother Earth" (Tucson, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
When Dances With Wolves first came out, I had some doubts about seeing it. All of my life I had seen movies that either presented my tribe (the "Sioux" or more accurately the "Lakota") as a bunch of savages, or used non-Native American actors to portray "Indian" roles. The book, Dances with Wolves was dumb (they were Comanches???). The movie surprised me. If it hadn't been for Kevin Costner's acting, I would give this five stars. He did a great job of directing the movie, but he came across as a total idiot in the movie ( in my opinion). What I liked most about the film was the accuracy, and use of the language (which was my first tongue), as well as the Native American cast. The extended version is even better, filling in a few gaps, and expanding on a few scenes that needed it. Overall, a very good movie; I can't count how many times I have seen it.
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93 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie - 237 Minute Version is FAR Superior., January 2, 2000
By 
Jason W. Smith (Texas - United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
No movie before or since has gotten to me the way "Dances With Wolves" has (it would have been even better if some guy in the theater hadn't blurted out the climax: "Hey, this is the part where..." UGH!). Though not without its flaws (the idea of a white cavalry officer deserting to join a Sioux Indian tribe--and then actually succeeding--is a bit of a stretch in the historical context) the movie is so good that you don't care! This is what movie magic is all about, the suspension of disbelief, and Costner is a master here. The photography is breathtaking, the acting outstanding, and the musical score...well, I think it speaks for itself (BRILLIANT!).
A truly remarkable picture, and when one considers this as Costner's directorial debut...WOW! Is it any wonder everything he has made since, regardless of its quality, has seemed anti-climactic? If you love epic tales that don't put you to sleep, this is the one. Also, if you haven't seen the Expanded Edition at 237 minutes you are truly missing out. I hope it is released on DVD soon.
If this movie doesn't bring a tear to your eye then you need your heart examined! Five stars.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE -- Amazon's product description is wrong!!, May 1, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First off, let me say that this is a "five-star" film for me. My rating is based on Amazon's incorrect information on the product page.

The product being offered here by Amazon.com is the UK Region-free Blu-ray. It is NOT the long version as stated, but rather the theatrical release at 181 minutes' running time. I verified this by ordering the Blu-ray, then actually seeing the correct information on the back of the case.

The back of the case also says "letterbox," whereas on the Amazon.com product page the aspect ratio is given as "1.78:1". However, 1.78:1 fills a 16x9 widescreen TV's screen completely, so it cannot be "letterbox," i.e. with the black bars on the top and bottom of the picture. I returned the Blu-ray without opening it, so I don't know which it actually is.

Even after I called Amazon Customer Service and pointed out their mistakes on the product page, they have yet to correct the errors after a weeks' time! Shame on them!

If you want the full-length, i.e. 4-hour extended cut, on Blu-ray, you need to get the French version (region-free, with French nonforced subtitles only), or the German version, which is locked to Region B and thus will most likely not play on standard U.S. Blu-ray players.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special Edition coming soon, July 13, 2002
By A Customer
The studio is currently working on a 2 disc special edition for this movie,the dvd should br released sometime in early 2003.The rumour is that it will contain the 181 minute verion and the 237 minute version.It will also have documentaries on the making of the film,production notes,trailers,commentary and many more special features.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray (20th Anniversary): Magnificent!!!, January 29, 2011
In 1990, actor/director Kevin Costner along with novelist/screenplay writer Michael Blake took on an ambitious project of developing a film titled "Dances with Wolves" with a budget of only $22 million. Shot in South Dakota and Wyoming, the epic western would become one of the most memorable films to be created.

With rave reviews, the film would make $424 million worldwide, would be credited for the revitalization of the Western genre in Hollywood and a film that would give Native Americans a sympathetic portrayal.

"Dances with Wolves" would win a total of 7 Academy Awards including "Best Picture", "Directing", "Writing Adapted Screenplay", "Cinematography", "Film Editing", "Sound Mixing", "Original Musical Score" and also win a Golden Globe for "Best Motion Picture Drama" and "Best Director".

In 2007, "Dances with Wolves" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

While "Dances with Wolves" have received a number of DVD releases, from its 180-minute theatrical version in 1998, a DTS version released in 1999 and then a special edition featuring a 236 minute Director's Cut in 2003, "Dances with Wolves" receives its first released in HD via Blu-ray with "Dances with Wolves: 20th Anniversary" edition which includes the special edition features from 2003 as well as utilizing newer features with Blu-ray technology.

VIDEO:

"Dances with Wolves: 20th Anniversary" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1 aspect ratio). Having owned previous incarnations of the DVD release, especially the original 1998 DVD release, one thing I have noticed on Blu-ray is how vibrant the colors look on Blu-ray.

From the golden weeds and grass that surround the area and the blue skies up above, You can literally see the shading and detail of those long strands of grass and when it comes to showcasing the Fort or even the Indian camp and seeing the animal hide on the clothing to the tents, there is quite a bit of detail that can be seen.

Also, when you see a close up of Dunbar's face, you can see skin pores, clear stubble. Especially when you see the war paint applied on the skin surface, everything looks clear and detailed!

Blacks are nice and deep, there is a fine layer of grain.I personally didn't see any blemishes or traces of DNR or any softness. Overall, awesome PQ for "Dances with Wolves".

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

"Dances with Wolves: 20th Anniversary" is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with English Dolby Surround. As the majority of the film features dialogue, when there's action...may it be horses riding in the distance, the buffalo trampling and skidding on the ground, the rifle shots, the lossless soundtrack does a good job in making those scenes quite immersive by utilizing every channel.

Even in non-action scenes, a good number of ambiance of how things sound outdoors. So, bugs, birds, dogs, horses, everything can be heard all around you.

Dialogue is crisp and clear and the music by John Barry is fantastic via lossless!

Subtitles are provided in English SDH, Spanish and French.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"Dances with Wolves: 20th Anniversary" comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

* Audio Commentary - Audio commentary by Kevin Costner and Producer Jim Wilson. An excellent audio commentary which was included in the 2003 special edition release. Both Costner and Wilson provide plenty of information on various scenes, challenges they had and just really deliver with this informative commentary track.
* Audio Commentary- Audio commentary by Director of Photography Dean Semler and Film Editor Neil Travis. Another awesome audio commentary previously included in the special edition that deals directly with cinematography and editing.
* Military Rank and Social Hiearchy Guide - While watching the film, whenever a soldier of rank appears, a rank insignia on the bottom shows up and gives you details of the soldier's duties.
* Real History or Movie Make-Believe - A trivia track that can be watched during the film. The only problem is that when you go to the next question, it pauses the video for a few seconds.

DISC 2:

* A Day in the Life on the Western Frontier - (14:18) A new feature for Blu-ray in which we learn about the true story of those who migrated west to settle in the plain states. From the dangers they faced, the making of sod houses, featuring photos from that era and more.
* Original Making of Dances with Wolves - (20:58) An older making of "Dances with Wolves" featuring Kevin Costner , producer Jim Wilson and writer Michael Blake talking about their experiences of making the film and how the screenplay was written and how Costner was brought into the film.
* The Creation of an Epic: A Retrospective Documentary - (1:14:39) From the 2003 special edition, Kevin Costner, Jim Wilson, Michael Blake, Mary McDonnell and others talk about their experience working on the film. From information of novel to screen, actor becomes director, the buffalo hunt, the look and sound of "Dances with Wolves", the art of composition and the success of the film.
* Original Music Video featuring Music by John Barry - (3:52) Featuring cast and crew photos with music by John Barry.
* Second Wind - (5:18) Originally an Easter Egg on the Special Edition DVD release, this features Editor Neil Travis showcasing his presentation reel "Second Wind".
* Confederate March and Music - (2:13) Featuring a Civil War re-enactment.
* Getting the Point - (3:58) Showcasing how a bow and arrow shot was filmed.
* Burying the Hatchet - (1:12) A feature on how the hatchet scene was shot.
* Animatronic Buffalo - (2:18) The creation of the dead Buffalo scene using animatronics.
* Dances Photo Montage with Introduction by Photographer Bill Glass - (9:21) Bill Glass, who was in charge of still shots, talks about his experience and showing us the photos he took during the film via a photo montage with music by John Barry.
* Photo Gallery - Using your remote, you can cycle through photos taken during the filming of "Dances with Wolves".
* Original Theatrical Trailer - (2:35) The original theatrical trailer for "Dances with Wolves".
* TV Spot: Courage and Passion - (:32) A TV spot for "Dances with Wolves".
* TV Spot: Academy Campaign - (:32) Another TV spot for "Dances with Wolves".

EXTRAS:

"Dances with Wolves: 20th Anniversary" comes with an embossed slip case cover.

JUDGMENT CALL:

"Dances with Wolves" is an important film that will probably be the finest Kevin Costner film ever directed and film that he has starred in.

The film was not only fantastic but it shows how this crew and its talent really went all out in making sure that this film which was seen as not even possible to shoot under $20 million, was successfully made but that they really went all out for this film.

And when I say, "went all out", I mean that there were risks that were taken. The buffalo stampede and having to shoot a bow and arrow to Costner having to ride a horse in the middle of a stampede with both hands on a rifle, many people today would think that whole scene was absolutely crazy (as it would probably be done digitally). But Costner and crew made it happen!

Also, no matter how execs tried to have Costner and crew cut the film, these men stood behind their work and made sure that their film would not be butchered. Once again, a film that was seen as improbable was made possible with literally blood, sweat and tears and in the end, the film was amazingly successful.

I know that there are some people who felt that "Goodfellas" and even "The Godfather III" were deserving of the many awards that "Dances with Wolves" had won back in 1990 but really, this epic western was excellent. When I first watched it, I was surprised because Native Americans in films that do portray Indians, typically portray them as savages. This was a film that literally shows them as a group that lived off the land, that were there first and were just defending their land and their families. So, I felt that the screenplay was excellently written by Michael Blake and portrayed quite wonderfully onscreen courtesy of Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene, Rodney A Grant, Floyd Westerman, Tantoo Cardinal, Michael Spears and the many talent who made viewers feel this film feel quite authentic.

As for the Blu-ray release, I can tell you right now, even if you own the wonderful 2003 special edition DVD release, the picture quality and lossless soundtrack definitely warrant an upgrade. Sure, the special features are familiar features to those who own the previous special edition but to watch this in HD, I was quite impressed by the overall detail and how vibrant the film looked.

If you love this film, it's really an easy choice to make, "Dances with Wolves: 20th Anniversary" on Blu-ray is highly recommended!
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars AMERICAN MASTERPIECE - FULLY RESTORED ON DVD, May 20, 2003
By 
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
"Dances With Wolves" is the epic, revisionist western directed by and starring Kevin Costner. In scope and size, this is one galliant, masterfully directed motion picture and the well-deserving recipient of 9 Academy Awards. PLOT: After surviving a suicide charge on the field of honor, Major John Dunbar travels to the west, establishing a life-long friendship with the Sioux Indians.
Originally running nearly three hours in theaters, a full hour of footage was excised to keep the already elephantine running time manageable. For years, on VHS and DVD, only the theatrical cut of this film has been made available, though Image laserdisc did release the full 3 hr. 58 min. version in a deluxe box set back in the mid-1990's. That fully restored running time is finally given the full digital treatment via this DVD release. Too lengthy to fit on one side of a DVD, MGM has spread the feature film over two sides on the first disc. Since no intermission was ever intended, the cut comes about midway through and is obtrusive to your viewing experience. However, as there is no other way to ensure the intregity of compression artifacts, this cut is, if not forgiveable, at least palpable.
MGM DVD has done a very nice job on remastering "Dances With Wolves". The original DVD from Image Entertainment had deeper contrast and black levels, but adjusting the contrast on one's television corrects the softer levels on this disc. Shadow delineation is beautifully rendered. Colors are vibrant, bold and accurate. Some minor edge enhancement occurs but shimmering and pixelization are at a bare minimum. The audio is 5.1 and pretty much the same mix as the original Image DVD.
EXTRAS: Audio commentaries that are, for the most part, interesting, an all-new production featurette, the original featurette and a host of other well-meaning, though rather lack luster extras that have merely been designed to fill up space on disc #2. I must also give MGM less than top marks for their packaging. After the handsomely bound "West Side Story" special edition I was perhaps expecting too much to think that, even though a leather bound case would be out of the question for "Dances With Wolves", at the very least we'd get something stronger in faux leather (like the "Pearl Harbor" disc packaging) than the flimsy, barely cardboard, shell we do get with its Velcro snapper. Taaa-cky!
BOTTOM LINE: This is the definitive version of "Dances With Wolves". It is the way Costner and his production team intended you to experience the movie and it is most definitely worth every penny to buy. Enjoy!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See the "real" Avatar, January 12, 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "Movie Fan" (Alexandria, VA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Dances With Wolves is Kevin Costner's finest film to date, hands down. Nothing else comes close. While the actual story is a tad revisionistic, it is very entertaining. But before I get into this blu-ray release, I want to address an issue that I am surprised most critics did not catch onto. Dances With Wolves is the movie that James Cameron adapted to do Avatar. They are essentially the same stories, with the same character arcs and overall themes. I won't go blow for blow, but watch them back to back and tell me that Avatar is not a rip-off of Dances With Wolves. Now, this is not a review to bash Avatar, because I actually liked it. But I am surprised how much praise Cameron gets for the movie without acknowledging how much it owes to Dances With Wolves. Maybe he DID rip off Terminator from Harlon Ellison after all.

Anyway, I am usually not a big fan of extended cuts recently, because they tend to tack on a couple of minutes of crappy outtakes that were edited out for a reason. Not so with Dances With Wolves. One of the biggest revelations of this cut is you find out what happened to the soldiers of Fort Sedgwick before Lt. Dunbar made it there. While the original theatrical cut works with an odd sense of mystery at the beginning, this is also an interesting addition adding an unnecessary, but fun cut that solves the mystery. The other big addition for me was the soliloquey that Dunbar makes in his journal after they find the slaughtered buffalo. He makes a mention that he could not sleep with them and there were no looks of blame. That never sat well with me until I saw this extended version which puts that scene into context. It turns out the scouts found the white guys who killed the buffalo, scalped and slaughtered them, and the dance you saw around the campfire was celebrating that. It was, to me, a very important piece of the puzzle and I finally understood what Costner meant in that scene. It is also a pivotal moment in Dunbar's development as he becomes separated from the Whahchichoo and becomes a different individual to the tribe and to himself. He is becoming a man who does not fit anywhere. This is a very key moment that, with this small addition in the film, makes the movie so much deeper and Dunbar's character arc much more compelling and real.

This is one of the few movies that used their cut scenes to great effect, similar to the extended cuts of the Lord of the Rings. They are great for superfans, but also great for the regular viewer. Yes, most of the cuts were obviously cut out for a reason, and for the most part, are unnecessary to the core story. But if you like the story as much as I do, there are so many more delightful details to experience.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just regarding the extra footage in the film, October 23, 2003
By A Customer
It was nice to see an extended version of the film, though I can now say after watching it that I understand why these scenes were cut out for the original version. There's nothing really you can't do without.. just lots of just random non-important scenes. Since this is a different cut of the film, the music cues are different which is hard at times. For instance, later on in the film when Kicking Bird is telling Costner about "the trail of becoming a true human being" there is beautiful score music in the background on the original version but for this extended version there's no music at all. The scene isn't nearly as powerful. I'm not complaining mind you, just letting those who are curious know more about the extended version to determine whether it's worth it or not. You decide. I love this film!
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Dances With Wolves (20th Anniversary Edition)
Dances With Wolves (20th Anniversary Edition) by Kevin Costner (DVD - 2011)
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