The Deer Hunter 1978

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(149) IMDb 8.2/10
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Three friends from a Pennsylvanian steelworks, Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage) and Nick (Christopher Walken), volunteer for service in Vietnam. Over the course of the war the trio are captured by the Vietcong and forced to play Russian Roulette for their captors' entertainment. Michael and Steven manage to escape, and the latter is shipped home, disabled and bitter. When Michael also returns, to a hero's welcome, he discovers that Nick has remained in Vietnam, sending money to Steven without any explanation. With Saigon about to fall at any moment, Michael decides to return to Vietnam to bring his friend back. Michael Cimino's epic drama won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Starring:
John Cazale, Christopher Walken
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

The Deer Hunter

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_18_and_over
Runtime 3 hours 2 minutes
Starring John Cazale, Christopher Walken, Chuck Aspegren, Shirley Stoler, Robert De Niro, John Savage, George Dzundza, Rutanya Alda, Meryl Streep
Director Michael Cimino
Studio 4 FRONT VIDEO
Rental release 25 March 2002
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_18_and_over
Runtime 3 hours 2 minutes
Starring John Cazale, Christopher Walken, Chuck Aspegren, Shirley Stoler, Robert De Niro, John Savage, George Dzundza, Rutanya Alda, Meryl Streep
Director Michael Cimino
Studio ELEVATION
Rental release 28 September 2009
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Steven Moses on 14 Feb 2003
Format: DVD
This film runs 'The Godfather' close for arguably the finest cast of any movie. The acting is second-to-none and boasts the combined talents of De Niro, Streep, Walken and Cazale. The early part of the movie is devoted to the relationships between the main characters and a marvellously joyous Russian Orthodox wedding scene that sets up the tragedy that befalls the three friends after their capture at the hands of the Viet-Cong. The changes both physical and mental as the men return from war and the effects on their loved ones is brilliantly portrayed. Russian roulette although arguably not historically correct is used as a metaphor for Walken's disregard for his own life and the hunting trip on De Niro's return only serves to highlight his own high regard for life.
It's one of those films that stays with you long after viewing and causes you to think deeply on the terrible effect war has on people and communities. Outstanding.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Sep 2004
Format: DVD
Although based in Vietnam this film is far more a look at the effects of war on the soldiers and the people "back home" in America than a film about the war (less than half the film is based in the actual war zone). You can really be sure your getting a vietnam film when it is entirely A-political and the Americans are not only the good guys, but also victims of the war.
This is the story of three friends who go to war together for their country and their people. Upon their return we see the psychological effects of the war on their characters. The characters become unwilling or unable to form relationships, self destructive, lonely and in some cases appear to remove any trace of personality. One of the most interesting aspects of this film is actually the relevance of the title; the deer hunting is used so well to gie us an insight into the characters, their attitudes and their loyalties. The wedding scene being equally vital for showing depth to the characters but it is the hunting later in the film that allows us to see how things change.
As a director Cimino really shines here. If you are a fan of his previous work, then you'll probably find this to be his best piece. The character development and depth is truly brilliant. He really allows the audience to get attached to the characters, which he uses to its best advantage later when we see how they have changed. Cimino creates a feeling where the film is no longer entertainment, but a lesson! A lesson that we watch and although shocked, we are thankful for.
The acting from DeNiro and Walken really is amazing and without them the overall feeling of this picture may not have been possible.
This is a film that will be especially loved by fans of the vietnam genre, but can really be loved by a mauch wider audience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Outrageous on 22 Dec 2009
Format: Blu-ray
Wow! I own this on HD DVD and I have to say that this Blu-Ray is even better looking and sounding. Plays region free since I am in the United States and have no problem playing it on my Panasonic BD35. Well worth the purchase.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Speller on 4 Mar 2004
Format: DVD
The Deer Hunter is a hugely significant film, because it was the first film to deal with a problem that has troubles the American conscience for 30 years- the Vietnam War. As such, this, in my view, set the model for other films to follow- for Oliver Stone's Trilogy on Vietnam(Platoon, Born on the 4th July, Heaven and Earth- all superb films). For Apocalypse Now, the genius film from Francis Ford Coppola. For Killing Fields, for Full Metal Jacket. As such, this must be regarded as a landmark in the history of cinema.
And what a landmark- this is a powerful, moving, realistic film, concentrating on the effects of war on the individual. A common criticism of this film is that it portrays the Vietcong as sadists and the Americans as victims, when it was in fact the other way around. I for one do not deny that the US Army were rather liberal in their use of Agent Orange and Napalm, nor do I deny that many innocent Vietnamese were murdered by the Americans(take the My Lai massacre, for example). Yet it must be emphasised that the other side of the coin is equally true- that Americans were also victims, and that the Vietcong could at times be very ruthless in their methods of warfare. However, as I've said, I think this film is more about the psychological impact of war more than Vietnam itself- and that is what makes The Deer Hunter such a good film. It is a brutally honest portrayal of what many American soldiers would have experienced psychologically; it does NOT show the Americans as gung-ho colonialist adventurers, but simple everyday people put in a horrific situation; and it does not beat you senseless with violence, but rather provokes you into comprehending the trauma of war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Lister on 5 Aug 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Which actor has the best filmography in the world? Robert De Niro? Al Pacino? Perhaps - but Rocky & Bullwinkle and Gigli would say otherwise. No, the award goes to John Cazale, who before his early death featured in five great American movies, starting with The Godfather and ending with this flawed anti-war gem, directed by Michael Cimino. Cimino famously brought the roof down on the American Wave of the 1970s with his colossal western Heaven's Gate. The reason he was given that sort of clout and that sort of cash was because of The Deer Hunter, which nabbed Best Picture in 1979.

It's a story of friendships and broken friendships in industrial Pennsylvania. Two best buddies, Mike (Robert De Niro) and Nick (Christopher Walken) finish work at the steel mill and prepare for the wedding of their friend Steve (John Savage) to Angela (Rutanya Alda). The Jewish ceremony plays out virtually in real time before we're off to a raucous reception, where various rivalries and barely repressed desires play themselves out - specifically in the love triangle between Mike, Nick, and Nick's fiancée Linda (Meryl Streep). An early morning hunting trip culminates in the male friends, including John (George Dzundza) and Stan (Cazale), sharing a quiet moment in a bar. The whump-whump of helicopter blades breaks the silence. Suddenly we're in Vietnam.

The film is clearly and deliberately episodic in structure. In order to understand the effects of the Vietnam War, both individually and socially, we first see these individuals in their social element. We see what they have to lose, how they lose it, and finally the way the loss affects the community.
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