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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.

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(story), (story) | 3 more credits »
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1,034 ( 219)
Top Rated Movies #164 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Michael
... Stan
... Steven
... Nick
... Linda
... John
... Axel
... Steven's Mother
... Angela
Pierre Segui ... Julien
... Axel's Girl
... Bridesmaid
... Stan's Girl
... Linda's Father
... 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:

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:

 »

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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

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie is one of the earliest examples of successful 'Oscar baiting' in order to maximize box office performance. When the first test screening turned out disastrous, the studio was unsure how to market a movie with such grim and depressing subject matter. As a consultant, they hired veteran producer Allan Carr, who realized that the movie would only attract an audience if it received recognition from the Academy. He gave it a very limited release in two theaters near the end of the year, for an audience of critics and Academy members, and for the period that would qualify the film for Oscar eligibility. The film was then pulled from distribution, except for a few screenings on a cable network that catered to cinephiles. When The Deer Hunter received critical acclaim as well as nine Oscar nominations, it was given a wide release and a promotional campaign that underscored the artistic success, leading to a substantial box office success. Releasing high-profile films near the end of the year to increase their Oscar chances as well as their subsequent box office potential has become standard practice since. See more »

Goofs

The hunting scenes supposedly taking place in the Appalachian Range are obviously filmed elsewhere: The Appalachians are a smooth rolling range, but the scenes show towering, jagged peaks. The scenes were filmed in the Cascade Range, clear across the country. 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 Freddy Got Fingered (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
It was 1978 and everyone in the audience was about to wet their pants
6 April 2006 | by 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 classic...it is not surprising that Cimino didn't have another movie in him after something this wrenching.


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