Deer HunterDirector: Michael Cimino
One of several 1978 films dealing with the Vietnam War (including Hal Ashby's Oscar-winning Coming Home), Michael Cimino's epic second feature The Deer Hunter was both renowned for its tough portrayal of the war's effect on American working class steel workers and notorious for its ahistorical use of Russian roulette in the Vietnam sequences. Structured in five sections contrasting home and war, the film opens in Clairton, PA, as Mike (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken), and Stan (John Cazale, in his last film) celebrate the wedding of their friend Steve (John Savage) and go on a final deer hunt before the men leave for Vietnam. Mike treats hunting as a test of skill, lecturing Stan about the value of "one shot" deer slaying and brushing off Nick's urgings to appreciate nature's beauty. As Mike ruminates post-hunt, the film cuts to the horror of Vietnam, where the men are captured by Vietcong soldiers who force Mike and Nick to play Russian roulette for the V.C.'s amusement. Mike turns the game to his advantage so they can escape captivity, but the men are permanently scarred by the episode. Steve loses his legs; Nick vanishes in the Saigon Russian roulette parlors. Mike returns alone to Clairton a changed man, as he rejects the killing of the deer hunt and finds solace with Nick's old girlfriend Linda (Meryl Streep). Disgusted by the antics of his male cohorts at home, Mike decides to bring Steve back from a veterans' hospital, and he returns to Saigon to find Nick. As Saigon falls, Mike discovers how far gone Nick is; the survivors gather in Clairton for a funeral breakfast, singing an impromptu rendition of "God Bless America."
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Universal Studios
Cast & Crew
|Robert De Niro||Michael|
|Shirley Stoler||Steven's Mother|
|Mady Kaplan||Axel's Girl|
|Christopher Colombi||Wedding Man|
|Joseph Strand||Bingo Caller|
|Mary Ann Haenel||Stan's Girl|
|Richard Kuss||Linda's Father|
|Michael Wollet||Stock Boy|
|Michael Cimino||Director,Original Story,Producer,Screenwriter|
|Joann Carelli||Associate Producer,Consultant/advisor|
|Fred Cramer||Special Effects|
|Louis Garfinkle||Original Story,Screenwriter|
|Richard C. Goddard||Set Decoration/Design|
|Dick Goddard||Set Decoration/Design|
|Alan Hicks||Set Decoration/Design|
|Darin Knight||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Nick McLean||Camera Operator|
|Stanley Myers||Score Composer|
|Charles Okun||Asst. Director|
|Quinn K. Redeker||Original Story|
|Marion Lignana Rosenberg||Associate Producer|
|Fred Schuler||Camera Operator|
|Eric Seelig||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Kim Edgar Swados||Art Director|
|Deric Washburn||Original Story,Screenwriter|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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2 thumbs up
the reason that this is my favorite movie is because of the great acting, also because i like de niro. even though it is 3 hours long you dont even notice it because it will have you mezmirized by it. the russian roulette scene is very brutal. so give the movie a chance and rent it before you buy it to see if you like it. belive me it is 3 hours well spent.
For years I had heard about what a great movie this was, and with a cast like Savage, Walken, Streep and Deniro, I figured it had to be worth it, so I bought the DVD without renting it first. Big mistake. I am not one of those people who demands constant viscreal thrills from a movie, but for crying out loud something should be happening. It's easy to suggest that the narrative form of the movie is 'unconventional' or 'challenging,' but what's unconventional about it is how it wastes the viewer's time to watch a forty-minute scene of a wedding in which, basically, nothing happens. We get the idea about who the characters are and how they live, but we do not need to spend half an hour watching a party. The very lengthy scene doesn't carry the story forward or really reveal much about the characters, certainly not enough to warrant its length. The scenes taking place in Vietnam are much more compelling, although there is some confusion about events that looks, frankly, more like sloppy editing than brilliant choice. For all of his supposed genius as a director, Cimino followed this one up with one of the biggest train wrecks in cinema history - the disastrous 'Heaven's Gate.' There are often half-joking suggestions that the Academy ought to reserve the right to revoke an Oscar now and then. I'd call this movie a good argument in favor of that idea. Mind you, it's not all bad. If you're watching it at home, just spend the first hour making dinner, then eat it while you watch the rest. You'll see some powerful drama but not feel like you wasted the first hour.
Admittedly, the reason I first decided to see The Deer Hunter was because I so greatly admire Christopher Walken's acting skills. However, not only did my admiration rise for such a taleneted actor, I fell completely in love with the movie. Although the very thought of a three hour long movie may make you decide to pick up a different movie, give this one a chance! Some scenes are disturbing, but sooner or later you'll be wrapped up in its emotional intensity.
The Deer Hunter is one of the best films of the 1970s (a great decade of film-making). Breakout performances by De Niro, Streep, Cazale, Savage and Walken; beautiful direction (the early wedding scene is a film unto itself) and a powerful script. Haven't seen it? You're missing something.
Great movie, but this was NOT the first movie about the Vietnam war. Not even if your talking about the first movie after the war was over. A fabulous movie called 'The Boys in Company C' was the FIRST movie that came out after the war. In fact, if you ask me, Full Metal Jacket was a rip off of that movie. And as far as I can recall, 'The Green Berets' starring none other that John Wayne was one of, if not the first Vietnam movie. fyi
A movie that irrevocably changed at how Vietnam war movies (and war movies) were later made, this one is stylistically violent and distubing with many metaphors including the scenes with the deer hunting and the Russian Roulette sequences and proficient amounts of blood. Made DeNiro a household name.
In the first film about the Vietnam war, Robert de Niro plays Mike, a guy who is, as the title suggests, deer hunter. But he is THE deer hunter of the town. After his friend Steve gets married, he and Nick (Christopher Walken) go to the woods on a final deer hunt before Nick, Mike and Steve get shipped over seas to fight in Vietnam. While fighting, they are taken prisoner and barely escape. Nick stays in Vietnam and joins the Russian roulet under world of Vietnam while Mike goes home and Steve goes to a veterans hospital. Both still trying to adapt to the life outside of the war. I first saw this film and was just blown away with how the director was so good at showing what the Vietnam war veterans feel like when they come home from war. I give this a A+ score in my book.
I was greatly disappointed after watching this because I was told it was one of the greatest war movies ever. There's only like 10 minutes of war in this 3 hour long movie, so I wouldn't call it a complete war movie. The first hour of this movie is very boring, but serves a purpose nonetheless. But despite this film, I still love Robert DeNiro, he never lets me down.
Bad Bad Bad and terrible