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
1,108 ( 83)
Top Rated Movies #183 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 27 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 Nicky are 3 best friends who enjoy going deer hunting quite often. These men get enlisted to head to Vietnam to fight for their country and celebrate with a farewell party, as well as Steven marrying a pregnant woman named "Angela." After the horrors during the war and edge-grabbing games of Russian Roulette that these men are forced to play, Michael returns home and realizes that his deer hunting outings aren't the same as they used to be, because of the war and he eventually finds out that Steven is handicapped and Nicky hasn't returned from Vietnam, and in response, he heads back to Vietnam to rescue him. Written by Koen Versieck

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the most important and powerful films of all time! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie is considered widely to blame for the introduction of Russian Roulette to pop culture. See more »

Goofs

When Nick walks out on the prostitute, she picks up her child and bumps its head on the lampshade. 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.
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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 Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Dead Talk Back (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Tattletale Eyes
(1976) (uncredited)
Written by Jody Emerson
Performed by George Jones and Tammy Wynette
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User Reviews

 
As great as ever
12 June 2002 | by vaneyckSee all my reviews

I've now seen this film three times with a decade or more between viewings, and every time I see it I come away feeling that movies can't get any better than this. People always comment on the Viet Nam scenes, and it's true that they are as powerful and intense as any war scenes ever filmed. The Russian-roulette betting game, in both its up-river and Saigon venues, may be the most riveting, shattering plot device ever invented, as measured by the pounding of the heart.

But it's the 'home front' scenes that stick with me through the years. I think all the steel town scenes are nearly perfect, untoppable. And that very much includes the Eastern Orthodox wedding and its sequel. When anyone tells me they were bored I just shake my head. There's no arguing with short and shallow attention spans. You're either capable of appreciating art or you're not.

I do have a quibble or two. The deer-hunting scenes looked like nowhere I've ever seen in Pennsylvania, or anywhere else East of the Rockies. I think Cimino deliberately picked an ethereal location above the clouds as a contrast to the steel town. When John Cazale and the others get loaded and act like jerks it jars on Michael, because they have brought the stupid distractions of ordinary life to an extraordinary place. This would matter less if the 'genius loci' were not so strongly present in the other home front scenes. I wish he had used the soft, green forested hills of Pennsylvania for the hunting.

And some of the dialogue--Meryl Streep's in particular--wouldn't work on the page, and only first-rate acting by an inspired ensemble--has there ever been a better cast of young actors?--pulls it off. But these are forgivable errors in one of the finest films ever made.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,074,379
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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