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The Deer Hunter (1978)

 -  Drama | War  -  23 February 1979 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 182,371 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 956 user | 122 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: The Deer Hunter (1978)

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Top 250 #146 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 24 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

23 February 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Came to Play  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 10,994,967 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the USA, theatrical posters contained the following warning at the bottom: "Warning: Due to the mature nature of this film, under 17 requires accompanying Parent or Adult guardian. (There will be strict adherence to this policy)" See more »

Goofs

In the bar before Nick, Steve and Michael are going off to Vietnam, Nick opens up a can of beer that he shook up, spraying its contents. In the next scene, Nick is opening the same can of beer a second time. 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 »

Connections

Spoofed in Career Opportunities (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
This movie made no sense.
5 July 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Heavy handed and manipulative.

You can make a statement about the horrors of war without inventing new atrocities about Viet Nam. This film insults the Vietnamese by suggesting some cultural fascination with Russian Roulette. There are no documented cases of U.S. Servicemen being forced to play this brutal game. Were the Viets really that depraved ?

The "combat" scenes were ridiculous. One minute the guys are jumping off a helicopter loaded for bear and the next scene they're in some ramshackle, riverside, POW hut. And the "rat pit" they threw Stevie in for not playing the game was a joke. It was in the middle of the river ! How were the rats able to congregate there ? And if that was the punishment for not playing the game, it sure appeared a better alternative. Do you really think the helicopter would have taken off before Stevie and Mike were secure ? With no food, water, or boots, Mike was supposed to have humped crippled Stevie through the Jungle to "civilization", only to dump him on the hood of a jeep and walk away ?

And really, what did Mike, Stevie and Nick have to come back to after the war anyway ? A stinky, polluted, industrial neighborhood destined to become another notch on the rust belt when the 70's economy tanked. (Billy Joel's Allentown). Since when is being a drunken steel worker a vision of paradise ? With or without Viet Nam, they were nonetheless doomed.

You want to learn about Viet Nam ? Then don't trust the brain candy from Hollywood to be your teacher. I recommend "About Face" by Col. David Hackworth and "A bright shining lie" by Neil Sheehan. When you've finished those books, re-watch the Deer Hunter and you too can write your own scathing review.

This movie has not withstood the test of time. It is never mentioned among the true classics. Not coincidentally, Michael Cimino has done nothing of note since this overbearing debacle.


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