Between popular shows such as Yellowstone and big-screen superhero outings such as Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, Kevin Costner has proved time and again that he’s an onscreen force to be reckoned with. Now, one of his greatest, most popular movies is headed to streaming, and Coster’s many fans have every right to be excited.
That’s right, folks: 1990’s epic Western Dances with Wolves hits U.S. Netflix accounts on March 1. Working from a screenplay written by the source material’s original author, Michael Blake, Kevin Costner starred in, produced, and directed the film. It was an instant hit and still stands tall as one of the veteran actor’s best, most resonant movies.
Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves opened in theaters on November 9, 1990, to critical acclaim. Jay Carr of Boston Globe wrote, “By never falling into the trap of allowing spectacle to supersede character, Costner’s Dances with Wolves restores depth, idealism, poignancy and even wonder to a genre that had long seemed moribund.” Newsweek‘s David Ansen added to the praise, saying, “It’s an engrossing tale, and Costner directs with the confidence of a Hollywood veteran well aware that entertainment comes before earnestness.”
But the film wasn’t without its critics. Jonathan Rosenbaum of Chicago Reader said, “Sincere, capable, at times moving, but overextended, this picture is seriously hampered by its tendency to linger over everything — especially landscapes with silhouetted figures, and not excluding its own good intentions.” Dave Kehr added, “The important issues raised by the film- centered on the cultural, racial and moral struggle that took place on the American frontier-are glossed over in favor of a juvenile fantasy of male bonding around the campfire.” The criticisms leveled against the film were comparatively few and far between, making the larger reception to Costner’s directorial debut almost overwhelmingly positive. Still, though, it is really interesting to see what the movie’s detractors have to say about why it didn’t resonate with them.
Based on Michael Blake’s identically titled 1988 novel, Dances With Wolves centers around Union Army lieutenant John J. Dunbar’s adventures on the American frontier, adventures that included a relationship with a group of Lakota. Kevin Costner absolutely nails the role, and it will be interesting to see how younger generations respond to his acclaimed Western. Fortunately, with streamers such as Netflix constantly adding gems to its ever-changing library, it will not be difficult for Costner’s epic to find new fans. Here’s to hoping it continues to get the love and admiration it so obviously deserves!
To no one’s surprise (at least in hindsight), the film was a runaway critical and commercial success. Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves raked in over $424 million worldwide, thrilling audiences all over the globe and further cementing Costner as a bona-fide superstar. It was the fourth highest grossing film of 1990 and is Orion Pictures’s highest grossing film. The film won a staggering seven Academy Awards but was nominated for even more (12, to be exact). Its wins included the awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing. It was nominated for Best Art Direction, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress but lost.
In terms of what Kevin Costner has starred or appeared in more recently, there has been quite a bit. In addition to his starring role in the aforementioned Yellowstone, he has also appeared in Let Him Go, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Highwaymen, Molly’s Game, and Hidden Figures. His other directorial credits include The Postman and Open Range. The guy has had one heck of a career, and it will be fascinating to see how he ups his game and finds new ways to wow us with whatever he ends up doing next.
If you are unfamiliar with Kevin Costner’s filmography but want to dive a bit deeper into his decades-spanning body of work, you can check out The Untouchables, Silverado, No Way Out, Waterworld, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, or really any of the titles on his extensive resume.
If you haven’t checked out Dances with Wolves yet, what on Earth are you waiting for? Even if you’re not crazy about Westerns, you will probably still love how beautifully shot and emotionally resonant the movie is.