A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.
Robert De Niro,
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>
Pierre Segui, who plays Julien, lost a friend in real life to a game of Russian Roulette. See more »
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 »
Hey, watch out, Axel. We'll be calling him old fireballs after tonight.
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We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of our Thai crew in the production of "The Deer Hunter" See more »
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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