The Deer Hunter

February 23rd, 1979

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The Deer Hunter

The Deer HunterStill of Meryl Streep in The Deer HunterStill of Robert De Niro in The Deer HunterStill of Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken in The Deer HunterStill of Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep in The Deer HunterStill of Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter

An in-depth examination of the way that the Vietnam war affects the lives of people in a small industrial town in the USA.

Release Year: 1978

Rating: 8.2/10 (118,480 voted)

Critic's Score: 73/100

Director: Michael Cimino

Stars: Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale

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.

Writers: Michael Cimino, Deric Washburn

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 - Julien
Mady Kaplan - Axel's Girl
Amy Wright - Bridesmaid
Mary Ann Haenel - Stan's Girl
Richard Kuss - Linda's Father
Joe Grifasi - Bandleader

Taglines: One of the most important and powerful films of all time!

Release Date: 23 February 1979

Filming Locations: 993 N. 7th Street, Steubenville, Ohio, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,000,000 (estimated)

Gross: $50,000,000 (USA) (31 December 1982)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

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)"

Continuity: In the scene at the VFW hall where they are playing bingo, the guy calling out the numbers on the winning card calls B-15, but when the board comes into view showing the numbers that had been called, B-15 is not lit up.

[first lines]
Michael: Hey, watch out, Axel. We'll be calling him old fireballs after tonight.
Axel: Fuckin' A.
Michael: Not bad.

User Review

It's about character development

Rating: 10/10

A comment re the other comments: A lot of the comments criticize the first half hour as being too long. In my opinion, these comments miss the point of the movie.

Of course many of the scenes in the first hour don't advance the narrative. They're not supposed to; they're for character development.

The whole point of the movie is to show us how the various characters were affected by the war. It wouldn't have worked nearly as powerfully as it does had the first hour been trimmed down. We have to sense the careless and frat-boy-like immaturity of these young men. That's why the scenes all revolve around frivolity and seemingly senseless boyish behavior; it creates such a stark contrast to the devastated characters of the three who went to war (and the relatively unaffected personalities of those who stayed behind, like Stanley).

The strong points of the film are the outstanding performances of nearly every actor in the movie. Yes, there are technical deficiencies in the sound, but it hardly matters. This is nitpicking compared to the overall construction of the film.

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