41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Affecting
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...
Published on 14 Feb 2003 by Steven Moses
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One shot? I don't think that much about one shot anymore, Mike ..,
Apparently, The Deer Hunter has achieved a degree of protected status; a film so revered by some that it is exempt from criticism. At least, that is the opinion of Mark Kermode, who then goes on to criticise Michael Cimino's rites of passage epic, calling it self-indulgent, rambling, somnabulic and racist* (amongst other things). Well, I don't know about all of that but...
Published 21 months ago by Crookedmouth
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Affecting,
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray Review,
This review is from: Deer Hunter (The Studio Canal Collection) [Blu-ray] (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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One shot,
By A Customer
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deer Hunter- A powerful, moving, genuine film,
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. As such, I believe The Deer Hunter represents an honest attempt to understand Vietnam- and that like Michael, Steven and Nick in the film, we discover that the trauma and memory of Vietnam would indeed be too much of a cross to bear.
What makes this film moving is that you get a very good character development- indeed, the first hour concentrates on life in Pennsylvania, where you get to know the main characters- Michael(played by Robert De Niro), Steven(John Savage) and Nick(Christopher Walken). You see them in the steelworks, in their town playing pool, at Steven's wedding, hunting deer in the mountains. You see these three as three ORDINARY MEN. Which makes the scenes in Vietnam all the more shocking, most notably the wellknown Russian Roulette scenes. Who would not crack, or at least be very deeply traumatised by similar experiences? As a result of the first hour, you just feel empathy with the characters. As you do when the war is over, and you find Steven in a wheelchair, unable to understand what has happened; Michael unable to deal with the memory of Nam; Nick wandering the streets of Saigon, wishing his nightmare to be over. The physical and psychological wounds that they go through produce some of the most moving scenes that film could produce, and I challenge anyone to sit through the film and not be affected by what they see. Especially by the climax, which is a deeply upsetting scene if you have followed the film from start to finish.
The acting is superb throughout(with Meryl Streep and John Cazale in brilliant supporting roles). However there are two special distinctions. Robert De Niro is just a fantastic actor, hugely convincing throughout as Michael. Were it not for the fact he has got Oscars for Godfather II and Raging Bull(two well deserved awards), the fact that he did not get awarded the Oscar for Best Actor for this film would have been even more scandalous. Christopher Walken is similarly exceptional as a carefree Nick who is transformed into a ghost of his former self by war, and to be quite honest he absolutely deserved his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. As for other aspects, the music(by Stanley Myers) is superb, absolutely moving(esp. the "Cavatina" guitar theme); the visuals all too brutally real, with action in Pennsylvania, the Vietnam jungle and Saigon. As for the plotline, it is incredibly deep, incredibly well-scripted. On psychological impact of war, the plotline just could not be any better. There is really almost nothing to criticise about this film- except I(rather shamefully) prefer Apocalypse Now as a film. But even then, there is very little between Deer Hunter and Apocalypse, I would still rank Deer Hunter amongst the classic landmarks of film.
Overall however, this is a wonderfully well made film, but one that will shock you right to the core. And whilst one may well interpret this as portraying Americans as victims of Vietnam, I do not agree with this view. For me, this film shows that with all wars, one thing is certain- that we all end up victims, whether it be physical or psychological. One is clearly left with the impression that war is inherently futile and does little good and immense harm to the individual. A wonderfully challenging, moving film.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving portrayal of the psychological effects of war,
'The Deer Hunter' is not a conventional war film. Rather, it's an exploration of the psychological effects of war on the individual. At over three hours long, some call this film epic, others horribly dull and depressing. Split into three acts, the first hour of the film follows the three main characters Mike, Nick and Steve (Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage) in their home town of Clairton, a small, industrial town with a large contingent of Russian immigrants. The story begins with Steve's wedding, which doubles as a send-off party for the three men who have volunteered to fight in Vietnam, but with no real knowledge of what to expect. However, an uninvited guest at the wedding, a 'Green Beret' who has recently returned from Vietnam, hints at what they can expect... he is a man who has been psychologically destroyed, and his unusual behaviour is greeted at first with anger, then amusement, but no real comprehension. We also follow the men on a last deerhunting trip in the mountains, as the film builds up our understanding of each character. Indeed, the deer hunting segments serve as a powerful metaphor that underpins the rest of the movie. The peace and tranquility of the mountains are counterposed with the sound of choppers and gunfire in Vietnam. From the outset it is clear that Mike, who sees deerhunting as more than just mere sport, has a deeper understanding of what the war will do to them, as is somehow better placed to cope...
The second third of the movie throws us straight into the thick of battle, from the sleepy streets of a small Pennsylvanian town, to the brutality of the Vietnam War. Almost immediately, one of the most controversial scenes in movie history is upon us, the brilliant and shocking scene where American (and allied) POW's are forced to play Russian Roulette against each other by their Vietcong captors.... controversial not least because it portrays the VC in a particularly brutal light, and the Americans as victims. But this scene is where all three main actors are at their very best (Indeed, Christopher Walken would win an Oscar for his performance in 'The Deer Hunter'). It is here that Steve and Nick are psychologically broken, and where Mike (De Niro) has to save his friends from certain death.
The final third of the movie (which I won't go into much detail so as not to spoil the film) deals with the aftermath once the conflict (for these men atleast) is over, and (one way or another), they return home to find that life can never be the same again. It is here that the true emotional depth of the film is captured by Robert De Niro's amazing talent. It is difficult (if not impossible) not to be moved by his portrayal of Mike who finds it hard to cope with the mundane realities of a previous life that no longer has much meaning or comfort. Add to these performances some brilliant supporting roles, including Meryl Streep who, like De Niro, was nominated for an Oscar. Also, the now legendary score, including the famous theme 'Cavatina' by Stanley Myers (and performed by John Williams), adds poignancy to many scenes throughout the film.
'The Deer Hunter' won the Oscar for Best Picture, but is not without it's critics. The take-home message from this controversial film has been the source of many a debate, and has been criticised for being overtly patriotic, but I personally do not see it as such. I don't think that it either glorifies or belittles the role of the Americans in Vietnam, rather the film is more about the people than the politics, and who those people were... not trained soldiers or the hi-tech killing machines that we see today, but just Joe Public, steel-workers, shop-owners, bartenders who go deer hunting at the weekends... volunteers who didn't know what they were letting themselves in for.
Moving, brutal, and (ultimately) quite depressing, 'The Deer Hunter' stands head and shoulders above other films of the genre (like Apocalypse Now or Platoon) in that it uses far more subtle ways to portray the grim reality of life and war.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films i have seen,
This film fully deserves the 5 oscars that it was given. It is a deeply moving tale of three friends from Pensylvannia that leave their homes to fight in Vietnam. The film isnt all action orientated, as you may expect with films like this, but it does have some very violent scenes. The now infamous Russian Roulette scene is extremely tense and will have you on the edge of your seat. The extras on Disc 2 are exelent. There is a 20 odd minute interview with director, Cimino and other interviews as well. Critics say that this film is too slow moving, or some of the scenes are boring. But, i think that these scenes help portray a picture of REAL men fighting in a REAL war. I think that this film should be owned by all DVD owners who value a good film over simple action orientated tosh.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic film,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Deer Hunter [DVD]  (DVD)
I cannot believe The Deer Hunter was made well over 30 years ago, not long after the end of the Vietnam War. Robert De Niro stars with a first class cast in a film that has definately stood the test of time. It is an epic 3 hour film, about three friends from the steel industry in Pennsylvania who enlist to fight in the Vietnam war and whose lives are changed by dramatic consequenses of the conflict. Very worthy of its Academy Awards
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AUDIO DESCRIPTION INCORRECT,
I have just bought this dvd on the strength of the description on Amazon which is normally very reliable. I was replacing my stereo vhs which I could have transferred to dvd but wanted the improvement of 5.1 audio, hence I bought this particular edition. The Audio is actually STEREO AND NOT 5.1 so unless the 1st reviewer got his versions mixed up the description is wrong.
NOTE TO AMAZON A HUGELY BENIFICIAL IMPROVEMENT TO YOUR SITE WOULD BE TO DISPLAY THE REVERSE OF THE DVD AS WELL AS THE FRONT SO THE DVD SPECIFICATION WOULD BE UNAMBIGOUS.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It only takes one shot,
This review is from: The Deer Hunter (Special Edition) (2 Disc)  [DVD] (DVD)
(Warning: this film contains war bruality and violence that is "not suitable" for sensitive people)
The Deer Hunter was the one, that no studio would take on, following the end of American involvement of Vietnam, a couple of years previous. The help of Sir Henry Belfonte, the chairman of EMI as one of a three-picture-deal, ensured it was made and released to the public.
Fresh out of Thunderbolt and Lightening, Cimino and his crew studied the impact of Vietnam War, via many sources, to add to the accuracy and realism of the tough times in half capitalist and half communist divided states of North and South Vietnam.
The Deer Hunter deals with a group of blue-collar steel workers drinking buddies' in a small Pennyslevania town. Michael and Nick are the closest and are probably seen in our eyes as the most afraid of going to fight, Nick promises whatever happens, he wants Michael to take him home where he belongs......
The title, is a metaphor, since in this case, the men refer the deers as "girls", hence it is important to find one to settle down with and that "you've only got one shot" like the precise shot to kill the deer, to get it right before the oppertunity is gone forever.
The acting, shows the men try to stride along with three serving in Vietnam, how difficult and lost their lives' become, how empty and meaningless. The performance of Walkden, who comes across as loving, cheery and happy, slowly reverts in a suicidal troubled man whose longing to go back, means nothing to him now. De Niro gives the emotion of a man of dedication, glory and trust, but deeply worrying and sad. Meryl Streep in her first main role, plays the role of abused Linda, who is Nick's girlfriend, but doesn't cherish her love for him as much as she likes to think.
The editing of The Deer Hunter places the film into chapters, broken down and easy to follow, to show the horror of war and conflict, also the slow distrengtion of their friendship and the lives' which are recked.
The Deer Hunter is daunting, brisk and moving, it is one of the finest Best Picture films and arguably one of the finest seventies films ever made.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gruelling, powerful war movie.,
One of the first american movies to deal with the vietnam war, The Deerhunter focuses on the effect of the war back home rather than dwell on the frontlines.Robert De Niro, John Savage and Christopher walken are three friends all set to go to war.the film begins by showing us a wedding where the characters are introduced and the relationships defined.this covers the first hour of the movie and Cimino's build up is deliberately slow and detailed to let us become familiar with and care for these characters.the movie then follows the men on a hunting trip in the mountains before the leave(the hunting seems almost like a stay of execution)before we are taken to the savagery of the battlefield.the most memorable and shocking scenes occur when the friends are captured and forced to play each other in russian roulette.these scenes have a raw power rarely seen in many movies with all the leads excelling.Walken in particular(an oscar-winning performance)is outstanding,his uniquely twitchy,nervous persona has never been so astutely utilised.
the aftermath of the war shows De Niro finding it impossible to adjust to life back home alienating his friends Meryl Streep(excellent, as ever)and John Cazale.Savage is without his legs in a veteran's hospital and Walken roams the vietnam streets playing russian roulette for money,a ghost searching for his deliverance. When that final curtain comes it is an incredibly powerful blow that will leave the viewer reeling.Gripping and powerful, The deerhunter is a perfect companion piece to Apocalypse Now and Platoon.It may be heartbreaking and gruelling but it is ultimately rewarding.
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Deer Hunter [Blu-ray]  [US Import] by Michael Cimino (Blu-ray - 2012)