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The Deer Hunter (1978)

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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.



(story), (story) | 3 more credits »
674 ( 163)
Top Rated Movies #153 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chuck Aspegren ...
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 <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

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)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The production manager asked each of the Russian immigrant extras to bring to the location a gift-wrapped box to double for wedding presents. The manager figured if the extras did this, not only would the production save time and money, but the gifts would also look more authentic. Once the unit wrapped and the extras disappeared, the crew discovered to their amusement that the boxes weren't empty but filled with real presents, from china to silverware. "Who got to keep all these wonderful offerings," wrote Michael Deeley "is a mystery I never quite fathomed." See more »


When returning to the bar after the hunting trip, they are singing "Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goalposts Of Life))" a Bobby Bare song released in 1976 after the Vietnam War had ended. 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 Hunter of the Apocalypse (1980) See more »


The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1896) (uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played at the wedding reception
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Immense poignancy
18 January 2006 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

I cannot fathom the absolute horror that war brings to a persons life, but never has a film depicted it more harrowing than The Deerhunter. At 182 minutes, it seemed to fly by, leaving me wanting more and wishing this would not end. all facets are explored, all people's emotions are laid bare, not just the combatants. If we obviously did not know better, one would have to say this was a British film, as it has all the best elements that British movie making displays. i can eulogise for hundreds of lines, but this really is the ONLY American movie i can think of (others? apart from taxi driver) that is RAW. A strange word i know but the movie oozes a raw edge to it. Immense performances from all concerned, and if i had to say, i believe i have not seen Christopher Walken in a better role. One of the very few films i deservedly give 10/10. A must for any collection and a stunning example of every aspect of film making coming together, albeit for a sombre depiction of life.

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