In contrast, Dances with Wolves seems more like a western in that it takes place in the wild frontier and it centers on the white mans relationship with the Native Americans. The initial conflict and anxiety that the Natives experience is something that we can link to a western. There are other scenes, too, that make the film feel more like a western. These include a buffalo hunt and a fight with the angry tribe of Native Americans just to name a couple. It is important to note that we also have other battle scenes that make the movie feel more like a drama than a western. The move has been praised for its accuracy and historical detail and this makes it more than a western as well. This is not a light-hearted film like City Slickers. Instead, this movie encourages viewers to think about history and those that had to endure certain circumstances. The Native Americans, the soldiers, and the fugitive are part of a complicated tale that takes place in the frontier.
Dances with Wolves is also a drama and an adventure. It is far too long and complicated to be termed simply a western, and, in my opinion, should be considered these things before it is considered a western. The historical data alone makes the film almost like a documentary in its scope.
However, it is fiction, so we would be better of to classify this filed as an epic or historical drama. This movie is filled with adventure and battles; it is filmed against an enormous panoramic backdrop. The movie also involves a romance with Dances with Wolves and Stands with a Fist. It would not come close to being classified as a romance, however, because the romance is secondary to everything else that is happening in the film.
City Slickers and Dances with Wolves should not be considered western films primarily because they contain other elements that make them fit into another film genre first. City Slickers is far more a comedy than it is a western and Dances with Wolves is much more of a drama and adventure before it is a western. These movies can be considered variations of modern-day westerns but I would not classify them this way. Certainly, Dances with Wolves is closer to the western genre but it is so much larger than a western that categorizing it in the western genre is simply not enough for this film. Both films are comprised of elements that make them something other than western in feel and format..