The Deer Hunter (1978)

R   |    |  Drama, War


The Deer Hunter (1978) Poster

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.

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8.1/10
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  • Robert De Niro and John Savage in The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Robert De Niro and Wynn Hammer in The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Robert De Niro and Wynn Hammer in The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Robert De Niro and Michael Cimino in The Deer Hunter (1978)

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6 April 2006 | yawn-2
10
| It was 1978 and everyone in the audience was about to wet their pants
No, this is not the best film about the Vietnam War; it's hardly about Vietnam at all. The vets who don't like it have it wrong, as do the Vietnamese who found it racist. It could be any war, with any combatants. But because the (primary) victims here are recognizable American archetypes, Americans will feel this in their gut more than any other war film I know of. This is one of the very few post-war Hollywood films that shows a sincere reverence for the lives of small town Americans.

After seeing it in a very high quality theater on its initial release, I walked out thinking it was easily one of the best movies I had ever seen - and that I never wanted to see it again. But I looked at it today on cable and found that not much had changed about it, or me. I don't want to see it again...but I want you to see it.

Even now, the Russian Roulette scene (in context, people: watch all that comes before it first) is the single most intense sequence I've seen; it makes the end of "Reservoir Dogs" seem like a cartoon. Best Walken performance, period. Meryl Streep glows, DeNiro has seldom been more affecting. A unique classic...it is not surprising that Cimino didn't have another movie in him after something this wrenching.

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