The Deer Hunter
Action / Drama / History / War
The Deer Hunter
Action / Drama / History / War
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.
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The Deer Hunter is a masterful piece of cinema
The Deer Hunter (1978) This is an epic war drama film about a trio of steelworkers whose lives are changed forever after they fight in the Vietnam War. The cast includes Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Cazale, Meryl Streep, and George Dzundza. The story takes place in a little working class town south of Pittsburgh, and in Vietnam. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Christopher Walken. It also marked Meryl Streep's very first Academy Award nomination. She is now the most nominated actor in history. It was named the 53rd greatest American film of all time by the American Film Institute (AFI). The film's initial reviews were mostly positive. It was hailed by many critics as the best American epic since The Godfather. The late Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars and called it "one of the most emotionally shattering films ever made." This film is an American classic. It is my favorite drama, and perhaps my favorite film of all time. It even holds up nearly 40 years later. My willingness to try older films, any films, was because of this picture. Movies are like these are why film lovers should really give older movies a shot. I suggest the AFI's top 100 films as a starting point. The Deer Hunter is a masterful piece of cinema that explores the human condition in a way few films do today.
A Vastly Overrated Film That Has Aged Badly
I saw this film in college in the early-80s. At the time, there was so much hype around 'The Deer Hunter", I felt I almost had to love it. I was greatly disappointed and never gave it a second thought.
A film group I'm in viewed this recently, and WOW, it hit me, this isn't just a bad film, its aged horribly. Nonetheless, my contemporizes continue to heap praise on the film.
Lets be clear, the film is way too long, tedious and unrealistic. The wedding reception goes on forever, and for no apparent reason. The director was obviously going for some sort of effect here, but he failed, and today's audiences would simply walkout on this.
The hunting scenes are farcical. Last time I checked, the Canadian Rockies aren't in Pennsylvania.
The war scenes are offensively bad.
So, how did this film come to be so highly regarded when, in fact, its a terrible film? I believe its an exercise in mass delusion. So, this was the first big Vietnam War film to hit American theaters in 1978, AND it was meant to show the war in a very negative light. Well, that's all film critics and movie "aficionados" needed.
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DeNiro and Walken: The Dynamic Duo Needed for The Deer Hunter
"The Deer Hunter" tells the story of three friends, Mike, Nick, and Steven, as they endure the Vietnam War and its aftermath. However, while the ending of the film is climactic in all aspects, I found the plot to be rather slow-paced otherwise. The most noteworthy portions of the piece are Robert DeNiro's portrayal as Staff Sergeant Mike Vronsky and Christopher Walken's Academy Award winning performance as Corporal Nick Chevotarevich. I believe DeNiro and Walken accurately highlight the difficulties faced both during and following combat by the American soldier. The Russian Roulette scene especially moves its viewers and, in my opinion, is the best scene in the film. By showcasing the camaraderie of servicemen through Mike's ultimate promise of ensuring Nick returns home in addition to featuring the lack of support for soldiers who face mental health issues as seen through Nick's declining stability, audiences understand more of the 20th century America's flawed view on warfare: fight, win, and return to normal.
Though the film is saved by its two leads' impeccable acting, I will say I preferred "When We Were Soldiers" (2002) as a means to better understand the Vietnam War. "The Deer Hunter" more beautifully displays war's impact on its soldiers but if needing to gain a full grasp of the war itself, "When We Were Soldiers" is a must-see. We watched the film in my AP United States History class last year, and it was undoubtedly among the better ones we watched. Mel Gibson perfectly portrays the classic American hero, Lieutenant General Hal Moore, and audiences gain insight on what American soldiers' wives face on base throughout the entirety of warfare through Madeleine Stowe's performance as his wife, Julia Moore. I love both films, but I would base my recommendation as to which is better on for the viewing's purpose.