Dances With Wolves Directed by Term Paper

Total Length: 2128 words ( 7 double-spaced pages)

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Often, these films portrayed the Indians as bloodthirsty villains who preyed on whites for no reason. They were often violent, and whites almost always died at their hands. In addition, most of the "Indian" actors were actually white actors in makeup. These stereotypical ideals where what most Americans thought of when they thought of the Old West, and as this film shows, they were often very far from the truth. In truth, all Native tribes were not (and are not) violent, and many were driven to violence only after they had been attacked or pushed off their lands by the white man. The two groups in this film, the Pawnee and the Sioux, indicate this difference. Initially, the Sioux were open to negotiation, while the Pawnee were not. Engaging in these stereotypes made Hollywood movies that were popular, but they were not real. Dances With Wolves may not be totally accurate, but it gives a much better illustration of the West and what happened there than many other western films, and it helped "re-create" the genre at the box office. This might not have been possible if the country had not had a cowboy president in the White House, and enough interest in new ideas to really embrace this film.

In conclusion, this film portrays natives, women, and at least some American soldiers as sympathetic and kinder, a far cry from most westerns, which portrayed women as weak (or saloon girls), Natives as blood-thirsty savages, and settlers as the victims of Native abuse and murder. This film shows a very different aspect of the West, making the Natives much more sympathetic and white men far less so. Dunbar is a character who is flexible enough to see a better life awaits him with the Sioux, and he is not afraid to give up his old life and reach for a new one. However, he understands the implications of the western movement, and knows this way of life cannot go on forever.
This film revitalized westerns with the film going public, but it did so without the usual stereotypes and roles that traditional westerns required. It was a new western, using the life on the frontier to make political statements that are still relevant today.

References

Aleiss, Angela. Making the White Man's Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005.

Baird, Robert. "13 Going Indian: Discovery, Adoption, and Renaming Toward a "True American," from Deerslayer to Dances with Wolves," in Dressing in Feathers: The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture. Edited by Bird, S. Elizabeth, 195-206. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996.

Editors. 2008. Trivia. Los Angeles, CA: Internet Movie Database. Online. Available from Internet http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099348/trivia,accessed22 April 2008.

Reagan's Foreign Policy: an Overview," in President Reagan and the World. Edited by Schmertz, Eric J., Natalie Datlof, and Alexej Ugrinsky, 5-10. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997.

Turner, Ralph Lamar, and Robert J. Higgs. The Cowboy Way: The Western Leader in Film, 1945-1995. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Robert Baird, "13 Going Indian: Discovery, Adoption, and Renaming Toward a 'True American,' from Deerslayer to Dances with Wolves," in Dressing in Feathers: The Construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture, ed. S. Elizabeth Bird (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), 196.

Ralph Lamar Turner, and Robert J. Higgs, the Cowboy Way: The Western Leader in Film, 1945-1995 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 228.

Reagan's Foreign Policy: an Overview," in President Reagan and the World, eds. Eric J. Schmertz, Natalie Datlof, and Alexej Ugrinsky (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997), 7.

Editors. 2008. Trivia. Los Angeles, CA: Internet Movie Database. Online. Available from Internet http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099348/trivia,accessed22 April 2008.

Angela Aleiss, Making the White Man's Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies (Westport, CT:….....

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