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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.

Director:

Michael Cimino

Writers:

Michael Cimino (story), Deric Washburn (story) | 3 more credits »
Popularity
867 ( 309)
Top Rated Movies #165 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Michael
John Cazale ... Stan
John Savage ... Steven
Christopher Walken ... Nick
Meryl Streep ... Linda
George Dzundza ... John
Chuck Aspegren ... Axel
Shirley Stoler ... Steven's Mother
Rutanya Alda ... Angela
Pierre Segui Pierre Segui ... Julien
Mady Kaplan ... Axel's Girl
Amy Wright ... Bridesmaid
Mary Ann Haenel ... Stan's Girl
Richard Kuss ... Linda's Father
Joe Grifasi ... Bandleader
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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 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

Taglines:

Best Picture 1978 See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Russian | Vietnamese | French

Release Date:

23 February 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Man Who Came to Play See more »

Filming Locations:

Mingo Junction, Ohio, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$48,979,328, 31 December 1980
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film took five months to mix the soundtrack. One short battle sequence, two hundred feet of film in the final cut, took five days to dub. Another sequence re-created the 1975 American evacuation of Saigon. Michael Cimino brought Stanley Myers out to the location to listen to the auto, tank, and Jeep horns as the sequence was being photographed. The result, according to Cimino: Myers composed the music for that scene in the same key as the horn sounds, so the music and the sound effects would blend with the images to create one jarring, desolate experience. See more »

Goofs

When Michael goes back to Vietnam to find Nick, it is obviously in April 1975 as the fall of Saigon is depicted. At Nick's funeral, Angela's son is no more than 2 years old, yet Angela had yet to give birth when Mike, Nick and Steven left for Vietnam. That would mean they went to Vietnam in 1973...however, all American troops were withdrawn from Vietnam by March, 1973 let alone engaging in combat missions and being as prevalent as shown in the film. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The Region 2 Spain DVD is cut for violence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.6 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Best Film Ever made about War
18 June 2007 | by Lord_CryptoSee all my reviews

Most of you after reading my title are already going to be upset. I do consider this to be the best film ever made about war. I do not look at this film being about the Vietnam War. I look at this film being about war (Period).

I think this film is as excellent as it is for one good reason, showing the effects of war. True, we see the films where men are shaped by war, what events make them who they are, and how the events of war transform them. It is mainly about what the war has done to them. The Deer Hunter takes a bigger step back from that and shows the entire character transformation. It does not just show the transformation of a soldier, but also the transformation as a civilian. You spend a good 40 minutes in the Deer Hunter getting to know the main characters and getting a feel for their personalities. The first 40 minutes is about character development and almost getting an attachment to those characters. This makes their transformation more effective for the viewer and they almost feel for the character and what they are going through. Than those characters get thrown into war and you see the events that change them. The things they had to experience as a soldier. And than, most importantly, we see the changes in their characters after the war. And we do not just see the changes in the soldiers, we see the changes that their friends and lovers undergo as a result of the war. We are not just looking at one soldier, we are looking at a network of friends and how they are changed due to the war. Even those who did not go to war are still effected. And the fact all the characters are from a small town makes it that much more powerful. The Deer Hunter is a powerful film about how war effects everybody, not just the soldiers involved in it.

The cast is terrific! Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Meryll Streep, and Christopher Walken. Need I say more. Christopher Walken won an Oscar for best supporting actor in this film. The script is beautifully written and the movie is filmed perfectly. I can find nothing wrong with anything about this movie. I mean, it did win 5 Oscars in 1978 including Best Picture and Best Director for Michael Cimino.

This movie is emotionally powerful. I can not say this film is accurate about war, I can only give my opinion and take from the film what I can. I am an 18-year old teen who has an almost complete control over his emotions. This film brought me the closest to tears I have ever been by a movie. It is an absolute masterpiece. This is one of the greatest films ever made. Take the time to watch this film, it is a classic that hits you the hardest emotionally.


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