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The Deer Hunter (1978)

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2:47 | Trailer
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania.

Director:

Michael Cimino

Writers:

Michael Cimino (story), Deric Washburn (story) | 3 more credits »
Popularity
978 ( 174)
Top Rated Movies #168 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Michael
John Cazale ... Stan
John Savage ... Steven
Christopher Walken ... Nick
Meryl Streep ... Linda
George Dzundza ... John
Chuck Aspegren ... Axel
Shirley Stoler ... Steven's Mother
Rutanya Alda ... Angela
Pierre Segui Pierre Segui ... Julien
Mady Kaplan ... Axel's Girl
Amy Wright ... Bridesmaid
Mary Ann Haenel ... Stan's Girl
Richard Kuss ... Linda's Father
Joe Grifasi ... Bandleader
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Storyline

Michael, Steven and Nick are young factory workers from Pennsylvania who enlist into the Army to fight in Vietnam. Before they go, Steven marries the pregnant Angela, and their wedding party also serves as the men's farewell party. After some time and many horrors, the three friends fall in the hands of the Vietcong and are brought to a prison camp in which they are forced to play Russian roulette against each other. Michael makes it possible for them to escape, but they soon get separated again. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Best Picture 1978 See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Russian | Vietnamese | French

Release Date:

5 April 1979 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Die durch die Hölle gehen See more »

Filming Locations:

Mingo Junction, Ohio, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$48,979,328, 31 December 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Christopher Walken, the historical context wasn't paramount: "In the making of it, I don't remember anyone ever mentioning Vietnam." Robert De Niro added to this sentiment: "Whether the film's vision of the war actually happened or not, it's something you could imagine very easily happening. Maybe it did. I don't know. All's fair in love and war." Producer Barry Spikings, while proud of the film, regrets the way the Vietnamese were portrayed. "I don't think any of us meant it to be exploitive", Spikings said. "But I think we were ignorant. I can't think of a better word for it. I didn't realize how badly we'd behaved to the Vietnamese people." Michael Deeley, on the other hand, was quick to defend Michael Cimino's comments on the nature and motives of the film: "The Deer Hunter (1978) wasn't really 'about' Vietnam. It was something very different. It wasn't about drugs or the collapse of the morale of the soldiers. It was about how individuals respond to pressure: different men reacting quite differently. The film was about three steel workers in extraordinary circumstances. Apocalypse Now (1979) is surreal. The Deer Hunter (1978) is a parable. Men who fight and lose an unworthy war face some obvious and unpalatable choices. They can blame their leaders, or they can blame themselves. Self-blame has been a great burden for many war veterans. So how does a soldier come to terms with his defeat, and yet still retain his self-respect? One way is to present the conquering enemy as so inhuman, and the battle between the good guys and the bad guys so uneven, as to render defeat irrelevant. Inhumanity was the theme of The Deer Hunter (1978)'s portrayal of the North Vietnamese prison guards forcing American POWs to play Russian Roulette. The audience's sympathy with prisoners who (quite understandably) cracked thus completes the chain. Accordingly, some veterans who suffered in that war, found the Russian Roulette a valid allegory." See more »

Goofs

In the first hunting scene as they're changing their clothes, Michael and Stan are arguing about Mike's boots. Nicky is seen putting on a sweater and had both arms in when it cuts back to Mike who delivers his "This is this" lines. When it cuts back to Stan and Nicky, Nicky is once again putting the sweater on as if it was never on in the first place. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Michael: Hey, watch out, Axel. We'll be calling him old fireballs after tonight.
Axel: Fuckin' A.
Michael: Not bad.
See more »

Crazy Credits

We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of our Thai crew in the production of "The Deer Hunter" See more »

Alternate Versions

The Region 2 Spain DVD is cut for violence. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Beta House (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Sarabande
(1978) (uncredited)
Written by Stanley Myers
Guitar Solo by John Williams
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Deer Hunter is a masterful piece of cinema
24 October 2017 | by johnny-burgundySee all my reviews

The Deer Hunter (1978) This is an epic war drama film about a trio of steelworkers whose lives are changed forever after they fight in the Vietnam War. The cast includes Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, Meryl Streep, and George Dzundza. The story takes place in a little working class town south of Pittsburgh, and in Vietnam. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Walken. It also marked Meryl Streep's very first Academy Award nomination. She is now the most nominated actor in history. It was named the 53rd greatest American film of all time by the American Film Institute (AFI). The film's initial reviews were mostly positive. It was hailed by many critics as the best American epic since The Godfather. The late Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars and called it "one of the most emotionally shattering films ever made." This film is an American classic. It is my favorite drama, and perhaps my favorite film of all time. It even holds up nearly 40 years later. My willingness to try older films, any films, was because of this picture. Movies are like these are why film lovers should really give older movies a shot. I suggest the AFI's top 100 films as a starting point. The Deer Hunter is a masterful piece of cinema that explores the human condition in a way few films do today.


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