The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter

(1978)

Multiple Oscar-winning classic of American 1970s cinema, an elegy to a trio of blue-collar workers and their service in the Vietnam War. Features Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Christopher Walken, John Savage, Meryl Streep and the now iconic Russian roulette sequences.... More

Three young working-class men are taken from their humble steel mill jobs to the army recruitment centre, taking their deer-hunting skills to the battlefields of Vietnam. Before their deployment, Michael (De Niro) and Nick (Walken) attend Steven’s (Savage) shotgun wedding – which also doubles as the men’s leaving party. But the horrors they experience as airborne infantry will shake the trio, significantly altering their lives forever.

In order to heighten tension during the Russian roulette sequence, Robert De Niro insisted on putting a single bullet in the gun. Because they were responsible, they made sure the live round wasn't in the chamber before the trigger was pulled. However, the slapping during that scene was not faked at all.Hide

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The Press Reviews

92% of critics recommend.
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  • Cimino's daring elegy to a war-torn community may be a long haul, but the extravagant running time is a small price to pay for such gut-wrenching performances... Full Review

  • The film is ambitious and succeeds on a number of levels... proves that Cimino is an important director who deserves to be watched carefully. Full Review

  • It is a heartbreakingly effective fictional machine that evokes the agony of the Vietnam time. Full Review

  • A simultaneuosly touching and harrowing experience that puts the audience directly in the shoes of one man's experience of Vietnam. Full Review

  • Its feelings for time, place and blue-collar people are genuine, and its vision is that of an original, major new film maker. Full Review