Essay on Movie Review

Submitted By iwishforangels
Words: 1523
Pages: 7

Movie review for Dances with Wolves The movie Dances with Wolves is about the struggles between the Indians who lived on the land and the white man who is set on taking over the West. Kevin Costner plays a Union Army lieutenant, John Dunbar, who after attempting to kill himself was made a hero. He then chooses to go west and be stationed at the abandoned Fort Sedgwick. He eventually has a run in with a holy man of a native Sioux Indian tribe. After a few brief, not so positive, encounters he slowly gains the native people’s trust through noble actions and gifts. He very much becomes a part of the tribe; hunting, fighting alone side them, learning their language with help from Stands with a Fist, and eventually marries Kicking Bird’s adopted daughter. The Sioux tribe packs up and moves to their winter camp, but John wants to return to the soldier’s fort to get his journal for fear of it being used to find them. Upon his arrival he is attacked by the US soldiers, who were now at the fort, because they mistook him for an Indian. He was harassed and assaulted for being a traitor. The US soldiers wanted him to take them to the Indian camps but he refused. The soldiers were transporting John to be hung for “turning Indian” when a group of Sioux men attacked the soldiers, freeing John. The party of Sioux men and John finally made it to the winter camp were their families had been awaiting their return. After much thought and regret, John asked the Sioux tribe to move camp fearing the US soldiers would find them and murder them. Even though the tribe, that was now his family, wanted him to stay he and Stands with a Fist went their own way to try and educate other people and save the Sioux. Even with that said, the Indians of the West were either slaughtered or forced to submit to the US military. The movement portrayed in this film is that of conquering the West, the use of military forces to obtain land and power by any means. The Indians movement was always out of necessity. Whether moving to follow herds of buffalo, moving to higher ground in the winter to escape the elements, or moving to evade enemies there was always a reason for their travel. The push factor for the Sioux Indians was the coming of bad weather and enemies. The pull factors were better hunting, better weather, and safety. John Dunbar originally moved to the West to escape the war and as he put it, see the frontier before it was gone. He wanted to see wild buffalo and meet Indians. He wanted to experience that way of life. As we read in our text this type of migration is called interregional. The characteristics that defined the West were rolling hills and open plains. The buildings were either wooden or make shift brick and mortar forts, only made for temporary use until soldiers moved on. The landscape in this movie is what I would expect for its era. With long distances between places due to the lack of fast transportation and the vast lands yet to be tamed. The issues between the races varied but had some similarities. The Whites were fighting among each other at the beginning for power, dominance, and the right to conquer the land. The Sioux and Pawnee Indians were fighting for glory, tribal bragging rights, he Whites were battling the Indians for their land, resources, and because they were afraid of them. The US soldiers feared the Indians because they did not understand their cultures and traditions. The US soldiers were told the Indians were savage killers, liars, and beggars. This was far from the truth. John Dunbar realized this after spending just a little time with them. The rituals and traditions of the Indians were misrepresented because of lack of knowledge. True some of the Indian practices were crude and violent, like the scalping of rivals, but that was their way of life. It was nothing more than a war badge or trophy, the same as the white man taking a fallen enemies horse or material possessions, only on a bloodier scale.