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The Deer Hunter (1978)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  23 February 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 213,624 users   Metascore: 73/100
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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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Top 250 Movies #150 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 24 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chuck Aspegren ...
Shirley Stoler ...
Pierre Segui ...
Mady Kaplan ...
Mary Ann Haenel ...
Richard Kuss ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Winner of 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture 1978 See more »


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

23 February 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Came to Play  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 10,994,967 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Cazale's last film. See more »


When Linda goes to Mike and Nick's trailer for the first time, the trailers hitch as well as the tail lights can be seen. The wires from the tail lights are seen running into the windows above the hitch. The tail lights should be on the rear while the hitch is on the front. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Michael Blanco (2004) See more »


Good Hearted Woman
(1972) (uncredited)
Written by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson
Performed by Waylon Jennings
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It was 1978 and everyone in the audience was about to wet their pants
6 April 2006 | by (San Francisco, California) – See all my reviews

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 is not surprising that Cimino didn't have another movie in him after something this wrenching.

202 of 274 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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