Kevin Costner’s Epic Oscar-Winning Best Picture Is Available To Stream

Kevin Costner's directorial debut and Best Picture Oscar winner, Dances with Wolves, is now available on HBO Max.

By TeeJay Small | Published

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Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves

Long before Kevin Costner was throwing his political weight around as Governor John Dutton on Yellowstone, he produced an epic western film that defined the genre for years to come. The film in question, which served as Costner’s directorial debut, is 1990’s Dances With Wolves, which is available to stream on HBO Max. The film won 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture, making it the first Western to earn the accolade since 1931’s Cimarron.

Dances With Wolves was produced and directed by Kevin Costner, who also starred in the film as a Civil War soldier who learns to respect and admire the culture of a Native American tribe in Kansas. The film features a significant portion of authentic Lakota dialogue, translated by a representative of the Lakota Studies department of Sinte Gleska University. The beautiful pastoral landscapes of South Dakota and Wyoming stand in for the plains of Kansas, similar to the shooting locations of Costner’s current Paramount network series, Yellowstone.

Kevin Costner provides a winning performance in the film as 1st Lieutenant John J. Dunbar, who is transferred to Fort Hays, Kansas, following a courageous fight against the confederates which leaves him deeply wounded. After encountering a deeply apprehensive tribe of Sioux natives, John slowly becomes ingratiated into the culture and lifestyle of the tribe, eventually earning the titular nickname Dances With Wolves for his relationship with a wild wolf he comes to name “Two Socks.” During his time with the Lakota Sioux tribe, John becomes romantically involved with a young woman named Stands With A Fist, and must contend with a series of growing threats from both neighboring tribes and the United States military.

The film earned rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, with heaps of praise for Kevin Costner’s direction as his first film. After Dances With Wolves, Costner would go on to direct and star in 1997’s The Postman, 2003’s Open Range, and an upcoming film called Horizon, in which the director will star alongside Avatar‘s Sam Worthington. Kevin Costner has been hard at work helming the film, prompting rumors of his departure from Yellowstone following season 5.

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Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves

Horizon also boasts a supporting cast of Isabelle Fuhrman, Luke Wilson, and Guardians of the Galaxy alumni Michael Rooker. Little is currently known about the film outside of the cast, but it’s said to focus on a 15 year expansion of the American west, preceding and following the Civil War. Kevin Costner has clearly carved out a lane within the western genre that appeals to a massive audience of fans across the globe.

Dances With Wolves is adapted from a 1988 novel of the same name, written by Michael Blake. Blake went on to craft a sequel to the story in 2001’s The Holy Road, though Kevin Costner maintained that the film would not receive a second installment. A third installment of the book series was announced, and given the title The Great Mystery, though Michael Blake unfortunately died in 2015 before finishing the original draft.

Dances With Wolves revitalized the western genre and launched Kevin Costner’s directing career, clearing a path for a host of prolific films for years to come. With the movie now streaming on HBO Max, younger audiences may find themselves drawn to the 1990 classic, inspiring a new generation of fans.