The Deer Hunter
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Product Description

This riveting film follows a group of friends from a pennsylvania steel plant to the lethal cauldron of vietnam. Studio: Uni Dist Corp. (mca) Release Date: 01/23/2007 Starring: Robert Deniro Meryl Streep Run time: 183 minutes Rating: R

Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, The Deer Hunter is simultaneously an audacious directorial conceit and one of the greatest films ever made about friendship and the personal impact of war. Like Apocalypse Now, it's hardly a conventional battle film--the soldier's experience was handled with greater authenticity in Platoon--but its depiction of war on an intimate scale packs a devastatingly dramatic punch. Director Michael Cimino may be manipulating our emotions with masterful skill, but he does it in a way that stirs the soul and pinches our collective nerves with graphic, high-intensity scenes of men under life-threatening duress. Although Russian-roulette gambling games were not a common occurrence during the Vietnam war, they're used here as a metaphor for the futility of the war itself. To the viewer, they become unforgettably intense rites of passage for the best friends--Pennsylvania steelworkers played by Robert De Niro, John Savage, and Oscar winner Christopher Walken--who may survive or perish during their tour through a tropical landscape of hell. Back home, their loved ones must cope with the war's domestic impact, and in doing so they allow The Deer Hunter to achieve a rare combination of epic storytelling and intimate, heart-rending drama. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • Good But Too Long!
    I just couldn't get into this because of the length. As noted dozens of times, the wedding scene was just ridiculously long. My other problem was that the movie didn't flow... it just jumped from scene to scene leaving the viewer wondering what just happened. I'm glad I finally saw this, but what a waste of time....more info
  • HD transfer acceptable
    I collect classic movies only and bought all nine available in HD. Warner discs (The Searchers, Casablanca, Mutiny on the Bounty, Forbidden Planet, Grand Prix, The Dirty Dozen, Robin Hood (1938)) generally have better picture quality than Universal (Spartacus, The Deer Hunter). The picture quality of this one is acceptable, especially if you compare it to Spartacus. But, The Searchers is absolutely the most brilliant in picture quality and that proves how beautifully HD can be produced. Let's wait for the next releases....more info
  • The sleaziest exploitation movie ever made!!!!!!
    Amazon should have a rating of minus five hundred stars to make it possible to adequately categorize this one. Well, while the USA was struggling with the social and psychological crises as the effects of their youth both being killed and tricked by the military leaders to into doing some meaningless killing in the Vietnam war, and then coming home to a society that did not want to talk about it or was only critizing their actions; somebody comes up with the perverse idea of using this a background for a totally apolitical and rascist movie that exploits generating banal and sentimental emotions with the cinema-goers.

    Although faultlessly made and well acted, this is the single-most sleaziest movie I have ever seen. Had it come out in 2078, it would have been a high-class escapist movie for shallow ladies, much in the vein of the typical "doctor-novel", portraying totally uninteresting characters. And the Vietnam generation would then have passed a long time ago.....but in the late 70`s?????

    I am not an American, I am from Norway and I was 19 when this crap came out, but if my family had been hurt by this war, I would have punched the director and the whole cast in their faces for exploiting one of the biggest post-World War II tragedies of the western societies, while families had lost some of their sons and had others ruined their lives forever on the mental plane(read: losing them a decade or two later).

    To top it all off, the Asians are portrayed as sadistic and crazy Russian-roulette players (to make the audience feel even much more sorrow for the main characters by creating a terrible enemy to unify against), a phenomena that nobody have found any proof for at all. All lies!

    I just can`t believe it and never will do so!! These people behind this movie have no respect whatsoever for others. They certainly made a lot of bread on this emotional porn of theirs. Shame on you!!!...more info
  • Life after war
    Watch this movie if only to get to the dramatic ending which is simple yet emotionally draining. Small town boys with smaller futures go into war and the response of their families and friends to how it affected them is compelling. The film proves that you can never go home. The devastating affect of combat on these soldiers changes them and the people around them forever. Quite graphic but not unnecessarily so. ...more info
  • The Deer Hunter: A Review. 4-1/2 Stars.
    THE FILM

    War has been a favorite topic of film practically since the medium was invented. It's a fact that makes perfect sense, film being as eminently suited to drama as it is to spectacle, two traits that will likely always be appreciated by human beings, especially when mixed together and when one begets the other. Such is the nature of people.

    These types of movies, of course, comprise one of the largest genres in motion pictures. The list of notable titles that could be considered, in some way or another, "war films" is indeed a long one. The main focus of the vast majority of these pictures tends to be on the drama of the actual combat experience, understandable not only because of the sheer action, but because most casual audiences will never set foot in a warzone at anytime in their lives, which helps to render such scenarios in film oddly exotic and intriguing despite the battles shown on-screen. The war film, perhaps more than virtually any other genre, clearly establishes the heroes we should cheer for in their quest to defeat their enemies. One may have thought that most of those heroes were realistic enough. But, great as those films will always be, after watching "The Deer Hunter," most of the soldiers and generals of war films both before and since seem a bit shallow, if not downright unreal.

    Quite a feat was successfully pulled off by this film, directed and co-produced by Michael Cimino, who also co-wrote the story off which it is based. It is, ultimately, less about a war than about people, the bonds of relationships between people, and how traumatic circumstances like those of war strain both people and relationships, often to the breaking point. It's less about stylized wartime action--though that is there--than about a more realistic human drama.

    Not even half of the movie is actually set in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam and, later, Saigon and the first shots of the war aren't seen until well over an hour after the film starts. First-time viewers trained from other war films to expect combat and blood, or at least significant arguing among soldiers, may grow weary during the first third of the film. It is unusual that a so-called war film takes as much time to reach the actual war. But it is important, not simply here, but generally, to experience a film on its own terms. This is often a difficult (and perhaps even unfair) task when the film is labeled as part of a given genre, which by nature is composed of prescribed rules all movies in a given category are expected to follow as a rule of thumb. The story begins in a place that feels far away indeed from the horrors of `nam--a small, working-class town in Pennsylvania--and, similar to any genuine relationship in real life, takes its time so it goes beyond merely introducing us to its characters, but develops them in such substantive ways that we almost feel we know them personally.

    The main characters are steelworkers who could be well-known neighbors living right around the corner from many of us, and who are presented as such. Just average men. No pretense or overtures to any kind of heroics to come. The story's perspective belongs chiefly to one of them, Michael, who we first meet socializing with some of his coworkers at the end of a long workday before joining his group of pals in the parking lot outside, goofing-off like the big boys they are. Racing their cars carelessly. Drinking free-spiritedly. It is, overall, a relatively simple, modest, carefree, life. The biggest concern Michael has about any of his friends--in fact, the biggest issue any of them have about each other--is that one of his closest friends, Steven, is engaged to Angela and the preparations for the wedding are nearly as big as the event itself will be. Another of Michael's close friends, Nick, is in love with Linda and it's easy to imagine they will be the next to tie the knot.

    The lives of the people that form the bond at the core of the story are so intimately intertwined and mutually involved that it is difficult to imagine them apart, hard to think of them as anything other than a single unit. They become as involved in one another's problems--as when Linda's drunken father mistreats her, and Michael, then Nick, lend a helping hand--as they are in each other's celebrations--a lovely wedding ceremony followed by a reception filled with dancing revelers. Later, in the picturesque mountains, the men embark on a deer-hunting trip less memorable for the successful capture of the main prize than for the reflection of the deepening bonds among those men.

    Although it is clear early on that Michael, Steven, and Nick, will soon ship off to Vietnam, the only hint of the hell they are to encounter there--and an inkling of the the fact they themselves will be irrevocably changed within that hell--is glimpsed, ironically, at the joyous wedding reception, in the form of a soldier, recently-returned and brooding alone in a dark corner of the bar. This quiet soldier is less reflective than he is lost, and is almost a mirror into the future for the trio of friends.

    When we finally arrive in Vietnam, the scenes are as tragic as in any good war film. The scenes of American soldiers held captive in cages submerged up to their very heads in muddy water is remarkable; I can't recall seeing any other war film with a scenario quite like it. Most memorable, and in some ways the centerpiece of the war sequences, are the scenes of Russian roulette the prisoners are forced to play while their Vietnamese captors, by turns cold and cruel, observe as if watching a sports tournament. Later, the same game becomes a regular attraction, played for cash, just like horse racing, with crowds of spectators in hazy rooms betting on their players, who together form a portrait of fear, defiance, and more than one kind of loss.

    Many have argued the depiction of Russian roulette detracts from the realism of the war scenes in the film. True, the deadly game may not have been a part of the usual Vietnam experience in real life but here it effectively symbolizes part of the very nature of war. It proclaims that participaing in war is rather like gambling on whether its players will emerge from their gory game or not.

    But it is through later scenes in the second half of the movie, set both in Asia and back home in America, that the film asserts its larger message, which is that, even for those who survive, they can't truly survive intact. There is no way to do so without some important piece of their lives, their very selves, being forever transformed, if not lost entirely. Body parts. Minds. Souls. Friends. Family. Anything and anyone who is cherished. Despite the fact that, upon his return, his hometown remains essentially the same, Michael has undergone such changes; in some ways he is almost a stranger. The allure of war long vanished, he also witnesses, in the movie's more pogniant scenes, clear changes in Steven and Nick, his old pals and comrades, both drastic and heartbreaking. Some are so profound as to render friends unrecognizable and years of friendship nonexistent. The others who remained in town become, in some ways, injured themselves as their hometown heroes, their loved ones, go missing, if not in body, then in character.

    The movie showcases a number of fine actors at various points in their careers. Michael is played by Robert De Niro, who was already a major celebrity (due largely to his work in "The Godfather," "Mean Streets," and "Taxi Driver"), but here, to the movie's credit, is basically rendered as just one of the guys and, by playing the most persuasive role in the movie, gives one of the most personable performances of his career, a relief from the criminal minds and unhinged personalities he is best-known for portraying. Stan is a close friend of Michael's who stays behind, at home, and is spared first-hand knowledge of the ravages of Vietnam--the suffering of his friends and their family is enough of a clue. This supporting character is portrayed by John Cazale, a respected actor on screen and stage ("The Godfather," "Dog Day Afternoon"), for whom "The Deer Hunter" turned out to be the last film in a life cut short.

    Linda is played by Meryl Streep, and, even in this fairly small supporting role, one can see the talent that would help her rise to become one of the most respected performers in the movie industry. This was a year before "Kramer vs Kramer" and early in a long and distinguished career ("Sophie's Choice," "Out of Africa," "The Hours"). George Dzundza and Chuck Aspegren play two more buddies that, despite staying home, are changed, as are the rest. Steven's new wife, Angela, is portrayed by Rutanya Alda; while Shirley Stoler plays his mother with credible concern. How they react to events concerning their men, their family, is one of the film's more affecting traits.

    The story is focused on Steven and Nick almost as much as it is on Michael as the three are an integral part of the core of the story. A memorable John Savage is Steven, one of Michael's closest partners in both life and war. But, finally, it's the incomparable Christopher Walken, as Nick, who turns in an early-career performance that is the most haunting, easily the most unforgettable in the entire picture. He deservedly won an Academy Award for this performance.

    As for the filmmakers, Cimino was joined by Derec Washburn, Louis Garfinkle, and Quinn K. Redeker to write the story Washburn's screenplay is based on. The director of photography, Vilmos Zsigmond, captures, in an unpretentious style, the visuals that help give the film both its beauty and its horror. Stanley Myers provides a sparse and understated musical score that is rousing at just the right moments; the quiet, almost contemplative main title theme is by John Williams. Peter Zinner does a fine editing job, which especially shows during the sequences set in Vietnam, with some quick cutting at its most intense moments.

    In retrospect, the only oddity about the experience is, given the painstaking naturalism of the overall movie, the Vietnam sequences in general are, stylistically, its most unreal scenes. For instance, despite the validity of the other characters throughout the picture, the Vietnamese are, by and large, as two-dimensional as cardboard cutouts. There seems to be a school of thought that a more developed antagonist may skew viewers' support toward the enemy, away from the heroes. But this is a faulty philosophy, as there have been many well-structured, even charismatic, bad guys whose ultimate goals audiences would, in the end, not support. Had the Vietnamese here been portrayed with a depth approaching that of the main protagonists, it would have made for a more interesting dynamic during those sequences--and a more interesting enemy. But this is a single criticism in an otherwise powerful film.

    Restlessness, even impatience, may tempt viewers early in a film which seems, at the time, quite ordinary. But viewers should not be quick to dismiss the film for what may be perceived as routine; this is not a fault of the picture or its filmmakers. In fact, the filmmakers are to be commended, for it is due to their craftsmanship and attention to detail, and fine performances by their actors that allow the movie to feel so ordinary, so authentic, like slices from real life. And, it is this palpable feeling of reality that ultimately allows the final few scenes to be not merely touching but devastating.


    ON THE DISCS
    This review refers to the Universal Legacy Series two-disc special edition. The features of other available editions may differ.

    The feature presentation on this pair of discs is first-rate, as its images were digitally remastered and its sound was totally restored. Obvious care was put into the simple, but well-crafted packaging, which opens opens like a little hardcover textbook to reveal the two discs within. The movie should have a few more chapters for easier navigation to some scenes (some chapters contain more than one distinct sequence). Also, I do wish there were far more special features. Those that do exist follow.

    Audio Commentary with the director of phogography Vilmos Zsigmond and journalist Bob Fisher is quite informative, but limited chiefly to cinematography. In fact, it plays somewhat like an interview of Zsigmond more than a commentary of equals between the two. What's sorely missing is the input of director, co-writer, and co-producer Michael Cimino. The fact that he is not included, for whatever reason, is a huge question and leaves one feeling that they could have learned far more about the film than is presently heard, especially considering that the film was inspired by his own personal experiences in the U.S. Army. It is rather like having a gap in the commentary, an opportunity missed.

    Deleted and Extended Scenes. These raw, working shots depict Michael, Steven, and Nick in captivity, playing Russian roulette, and also feature Nick being questioned at a VA hospital. A couple of them were eliminated from the final cut of the film entirely, but most of them, apparently, were partially used, interspersed with cuts to other shots. While the they are well-done, the director made a wise decision to leave what he did on the cutting room floor.

    The Production Notes, coupled with the cinematographer's audio commentary, is the closest viewers can get to a behind-the-scenes or making-of look at the film and is the only place where we see (that is, read) Cimino comment first-hand, and all too briefely on how the film was realized. It also includes some brief insight from cast members Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken.

    The Theatrical Trailer. Rather compelling, it shows brief snippets of scenes from the movie, between which it intercuts, along with a dramatic drumroll, quotes reflective of its great critical acclaim. However, by touching on virtually every major segment of the movie with gradually increasing intensity, it seems to go too far and give away key plot developments.

    Some other special features I would have like to have seen are: a making-of feature with brief interviews of Cimino, the writing team, the producers, cinematographer, and all the major actors; a photo gallery; a music-only soundtrack for the feature; any available television spots advertising the film; and perhaps some commentary on the deleted scenes....more info
  • Good Movie but not for me
    I bought this movie because I needed to watch it for an american history course I took. I can see why it is so highly rated but it is not exactly the movie I would consider watching numerous times. I would try and catch it on tv or rent it if possible rather than buy it and only watch it once....more info
  • the deer hunter
    this is the twin of "once upon a time in america" a soul moving epic of the kind of "webs we weave"don"t miss these two films!!...more info
  • Sad To Say, It's Lacking
    This is one of those movies that SHOULD have worked so well, and comes so close. The best way for me to describe it is to actually compare it to another film with Robert De Niro: "The Mission." Although a very different film, it shares the same fatal flaw as "The Deer Hunter": we really never get a chance to get to KNOW these characters very well. So instead of feeling what they're feeling, we just sort of watch what happens to them. Both films feel very impersonal. But I think "The Mission" actually has more food for thought that this one.

    But hey, I'm supposed to be reviewing "The Deer Hunter," right? This movie is incredibly well-acted and well-photographed, but the story doesn't compel. The opening wedding scene, for starters, is ridiculously long and ends up serving no dramatic purpose. And the different portions of the film (wedding scenes, hunting scenes, war scenes, coming home scenes) don't gel so well. And the pace for the entire film is out-of-wack; rather than gripping, it's for the most part uninvolving.

    So, what's good about the movie? Several things, actually. Like I said, the performances by all involved are absolutely superb, even if their characters are all left underdeveloped. The Vietnam scenes are stunning and disturbing (I actually had a conversation with a Vietnam vet once who said that this is the one Vietnam War films that he could never watch), and you will never be able to erase the images of the Russian Roulette from your mind. Harrowing stuff, regardless of its apparent historical inaccuracy.

    It's not a bad movie by any stretch. It's just not that great. Worth seeing at least once, though....more info
  • Very Powerful, Emotionally Gripping But Too Bad About the DVD!
    What introduced me to this film was actually John Williams' performance and arrangement of Stanley Myers' "Cavatina" a tune which I really like and had wanted to learn how to play for years. I first got the soundtrack to the film which was pretty good albeit short at barely over half an hour in length. After I had learned and committed "Cavatina" to memory, I decided to give the film a chance too.

    Typical of 70s movies of the time, directors were given a lot more leeway to execute their art which is why many of the best films come from the late 60s up to the late 70s. I think it's safe to say that "Deer Hunter" would never have been made today. By today's standards the film moves along at a glacial pace and the 3 hour run time would probably be too much to ask today's audience to endure. For the patient however, this movie does reward repeated viewing and is powerful in its anti-war theme and how the innocents are the soldiers fighting in wars not of their creation. Although the russian roulette scenes are central to the story, they are probably not historically correct and yet they are a metaphor for the innocent soldier who is asked to commit suicide to fight somebody else's war. The first hour drags along and takes its time to show the innocence of life in a steel town in Philadelphia and how a group of workers who are fairly religious and patriotic handle the transition of their former lives to their Vietnam experiences and how their harrowing experiences have changed them relative to their friends that stayed behind. The acting is first class and Walken thoroughly deserved his Oscar and De Niro should have gotten one himself.

    The problem lies with this version of the dvd which is very poor. The picture quality hasn't been restored and so imperfections such as white and other spots abound in practically every frame and the overall quality barely matches that of VHS. The widescreen format is not anamorphic and so actually only about half of your plasma tv screen is utilised. The sound comes in Dolby 2.0 stereo but if you have a Pro Logic setup, you can similate a 5.1 surround sound effect. There are no special features worth mentioning either.

    If you are a patient movie-lover who views film as an artform you will enjoy this film that rewards repeated viewing like most classics do however you should get a better dvd version which has a much better restored and remastered picture and sound quality with at least 5.1 surround sound options. You should wait for this in either a standard version or preferably in Blu-ray to do any justice to this classic and to give this particular dvd version a miss....more info
  • A defining film in the long history of war movies
    Deer Hunter is the story of a group of young American men prior to, during and after their service as GI's in Vietnam. It is a powerful, intimate and realistic movie that touches the very soul of the American Dream. The young men are innocent, a bit lost in their world, naive, full of life and expecting a lot from their future prior to fighting in Vietnam. Then they get there, in the midst of war, in that place where they lose all of their illusions, their mind or their body for some. Save for friendship, they come back from Vietnam as haunted shells.

    The movie is a beautiful, almost documentary-like story. It tackles the questioning and naivety of the youth, the atrocity of war, the appalling handling of war casualties -be they physical or mental- as well as the power of true feelings in times of troubles and, most importantly, the need for finding something worth living for. Some of the characters will find it in friendship, or in respecting life, all of them will call it America.

    The story line is extremely well supported by a plethora of top notch actors (de Niro, Savage, Walken, Strip...) that further add to the overall quality of the movie.

    After watching Deer Hunter, the concept of war and freedom will never be the same again....more info
  • lasting impact
    Unforgettable motion picture. Saw it more than twenty years ago and it haunts me to this day. One of the most amazing scores ever. Terrific direction, not to mention fine performances by all the actors. Puts Coppola's
    Apocalypse Now to shame.

    As someone else pointed out: You truly give a damn about the people in this film, as opposed to the cold fish of a character in Citizen Kane, etc.--and when you don't give a damn about the characters in a movie...guess what? Your audiance just might be left feeling indifferent about it.

    Regarding the single star reviews (not that many, actually--so that ought to tell you plenty), they come across as being too young (read: shallow), with a possible touch of ADT--to appreciate anything this worthwhile.

    Go live through a war, any war, surive combat--and then tell me a powerful film like THE DEER HUNTER does not move you, better yet: Go sit through something as idiotic as SpiderMan vs. Doc Oc., or maybe that animation flick about the rat who wants to be a chef. There you go. How about Ocean's #39? Die Hard #56? While we're at it, let's not forget Tarantino's latest shallow/mindless (they all are) Death Proof!

    Entertainment for the easy to please. ...more info
  • Well-filmed but Slow
    Nice cinematography and scenery, there is some gorgeous, haunting natural scenery during the deer hunting sequences. The portrayal of a group of rowdy raucous steel-workers in a Russian part of town does seem to go on and on (and on) though I wasn't sure I completely bought their friendship. It seemed somewhat forced at times, although perhaps some friendships do, I don't know. One could argue about how well the Viet Nam scenes were portrayed, the country's seeming fascination with roulette in particular. Whether or not that bore any historical accuracy, it gets it point across (regarding the utter lack of value human life was given during the war). Comparable to reading the classics, it's not always riveting stuff; but it's required viewing almost for anyone wanting to be 'film literate' - or for those with an interest in Cimino's work or the work of Deniro and company. You can decide for yourself what exactly this movie was trying to say, and if it truly desverved all the awards it was given. If nothing else it pays tribute or memorial to an era which should not be forgotten....more info
  • Not to Be Confused with a War Movie
    I love movies, but I've never liked war movies and have generally stayed away from them. Even some of the most acclaimed war movies have been some of my least favorite films. "The Deer Hunter" bills itself as a war movie and points everyone in the direction that it's going to be a war movie. The movie is 3 hours, no one ends up in Vietnam until a little past the hour mark, and they're only there (in the war zone part of Vietnam anyway) for a few minutes. "The Deer Hunter" is not a war movie, but it is a great film with great performances, great direction, great cinematography, and solid, tense script...Several reasons why it probably won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and is on The American Film Institute's Top 100 List (#79). Anyway, it's 1969 in Clairton, Pennsylvania where a group of friends work in the blast furnace of a steel mill before hitting the bars. This day is different for the group...One of them is getting married and three of them are heading out to Vietnam. The group consists of Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken), Stanley (John Cazale), Steven (John Savage), and Axel (George Aspegren). The movie's first hour is very well done in the way it lets us get to know the characters, but never seems to rush it. We watch all the guys' drink, while preparing to go to Steven's wedding. We see his Russian mother chase him out of the bar and protest the marriage. We meet Linda (Meryl Streep), Nick's girlfriend who lives with a crazy/alcoholic(?) father and asks Nick if she can move into the house he shares with Michael when they leave. We watch the group of men go deer hunting and then, without warning, the film jumps to a war-ravaged village in Vietnam. Many of the shacks are on fire and Vietnamese women and children are hiding in an underground shelter. A Vietnamese soldier throws a grenade into the shelter, but is killed by Michael with a flame-thrower in one of the most famous shots from the film. Soon, Michael is reunited with Nick and Steven and the group soon find themselves as prisoners-of-war. In the realm of taut, suspenseful scenes in war movies...The scene on the boat is one of the best. There, the Vietnamese soldiers force Steven, Michael, and Nick (separately) to play a game of Russian Roulette. This scene is the most important scene in the film because it parallels with many later scenes. The movie has a strong message and is very entertaining, but I really want to make it clear to people that this is not a war movie. While war does affect many of the people in the film, it only takes up about 25% of the film. De Niro is absolutely incredible (as usual), while Walken won an Oscar for his role and deserved it. Cazale, Streep, Savage, and Aspegren all turn in terrific supporting work. This is a film that belongs in the top 100, because it truly is one of the best films ever made.

    GRADE: A...more info
  • Michael Cimino's Vietnam Masterpiece
    There have been plenty of films made about the Vietnam War, Platoon (Collector's Edition Steelbook), Apocalypse Now - The Complete Dossier (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition), Full Metal Jacket (Deluxe Edition). But there's something about The Deer Hunter that stands out as one of the best. Not only does it have the distinction of being the first, it's a movie that deals with the effects of the war, more than the war itself.

    There's not much actual fighting, but the scenes are definitely intense. The Russian Roulette scene, which many peole have commented on, is absolutely superb. But I want to focus on the wedding. Grand in scale and long in length, this scene makes the movie. Although it is long, it is a wonderful scene, one that sets up the movie perfectly. It lets you get a feel for the characters before you see the gruesomeness of war effects them.

    One of the most underrated movies about Vietnam and of the 70's when you compare it to others that came out in that decade.

    Also, the cast is phenomenal. Robert De Niro is the headliner, followed by Best Supporting Actor winner Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, John Savage, and John Cazale in his very last film role.

    This release, the two disc Universal Legacy Series releases, features a commentary with the cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and film journalist Bob Fisher. Also included sre a few deleted and extended/alternate scenes and a few production notes.

    A Definite Must Have in any collection....more info
  • An American masterpiece
    I dont think I've ever seen a film that is more tapped into the American spirit of the time than this film. The film spreads out before the viewer, you can almost smell the soot in the industrial town. The world here lives and breathes. Its masterfully crafted and its beautifully subtle. From the innocence and kinship of small town life to the mania and simmering anger being locked into factory work causes. Its all shown masterfully.
    Of course the thing the film explains most vividly is the mental and spiritual damage war inflicts on both the individual and the community. Through the main analogy that runs through the film, it shows how people can get trapped in a cycle of anger and hatred. Reliving old situations over and over and over. This film brings this internal struggle that many soldiers go through into stark reality. It helps the casual viewer understand people who have gone through severe trauma, and how they get trapped in their own minds.
    The film is just as relevant today as it was in the 70's. This should be required watching for anyone who is pro-war.
    One of the great American films, that despite its intense content, never loses its humanity or love of life....more info
  • Much more than a college drinking game
    Most customers purchasing this dvd will have already seen The Deer Hunter, perhaps many years ago. Whether one has seen it or not, it is a film everyone should have in his/her library. Not only is it among the best Vietnam movies (rivaled only by Platoon), it is among the best dramas of the past 50 years. Plus, it meets an important criterion for having it in your library: you will pull it out every 9 months and enjoy it anew. This is an important point many buyers ignore: Caddyshack? Yes, you'll watch it all the time and laugh your butt off. Kramer Vs. Kramer? Great movie, but how many times do you want to see it? The Deer Hunter is one you'll watch many times.

    The story is tight, though the movie is long (but not so long you start looking at your watch). The acting is transcendant: De Niro is in his prime, and is understated perfectly; a young Meryl Streep offers a glimpse of the greatness ahead; and of course, there is Christopher Walken. What can you say about Walken? He is Walken, one of the most unique actors of our time. In The Deer Hunter, he is superb.

    Buy this movie and watch it over and over for the next 15 years....more info
  • The Deer Hunter
    I lived though this time period, with my husband drafted, and also some of this film was shot in my husbands old neighborhood.It sometimes hard to watch this film when it shows what happened to these group of friends and the impact on their lives and those around them.This would be true of any war, any place, but very memorable and well scripted. The actors come into your hearts and minds, and stay there. ...more info
  • Skip it
    I nearly fell asleep three times in the first hour alone. The last thirty minutes was a contrived joke and I hardly understand why it's called The Deer Hunter-should be plural. I like Deniro, Streep, and Walken but this movie is pretentious and boring....more info
  • One of my wife favorites
    My wife top five movies.I was not very crazy about it.Once again it tried to make fools out of us and what we did in the Vietnam war....more info
  • Mesmerizing
    I've watched over 100 movies in HD-DVD. Some movies are marginally enhanced by HD but this isn't one of them. HD takes DH up to another level. It is easy to be consumed by this drama because it's moving story and arguably has the best ensemble cast ever put together for a movie. In HD presentation the visuals almost steal the show. This is an incredibly beautiful looking movie. I was mesmerized from the get go. The opening scenes of wide shots of the steel town and then going into the steel mill with sparks flying, gargantuan machines in motion, and molten lava frothing and flowing creates an immediate intimacy with the movie before any dialogue is spoken or actors seen. This movie is about intimacy, the struggle to find it and the struggle when you lose it. It's about the importance of intimacy in small towns life. These steel town men, all they have in life is their way of life. When that is taken away and disrupted there is a chain reaction that is felt throughout the community and it underscores the old saying, "you can't go home again". In HD all the details you didn't notice before bring you in that much closer to the characters, you become one of the group as a viewer, sharing in their joys and miseries. The wedding scenes are phenomenal. The priests vestments and the gothic interior of the russian orthodox church, the bar where they drink, the mill where they work, the little trailer house where they meet, the white caddy they pile into for their bonding rituals, hunting in the Adirondacks, HD allows you to see all the marvelous detail that exists in these scenes. The Vietnam scenes are effective but don't quite live up to the visual splendor of the steel town. This is where the actors carry the film. Walken's transformation from a happy go lucky newly wedded working class guy to damaged and disturbed veteran of war outcast is superb and the heart of the movie. DeNiro's enigmatic character is who we identify with but it's Walken who takes us on the journey. Meryl Streep is a sight to behold and carries her own in the scenes with the men. Savage and Cazale and the other supporting actors round out a great cast. None of these are throw away characters, they all contribute to the high level of intimacy that is created between the film and the viewer. Bravo! ...more info
  • Good film
    What probably struck me the most is the length. Its 3 hours long. It starts slow and there are many slow stretches in between. This might be a test of patience but it has its rewards. In the first hour, we see six friends horsing around and hamming it up. I understand the purpose but it could have been much more concise.

    Unfortunately, the dialogue is redundant and plain. Interesting dialogue would have been an improvement.

    I liked the overall concept. Here is a short synopsis:

    Life is good among six friends living in a small, blue collar town. 3 of the 6 men leave to fight the war in Vietnam. They undergo change. In the aftermath, things will never be the same. 2 of the 3 men return home where they have difficulties adjusting. Meanwhile, those that stayed home, by contrast, have, for the most part, remained the same.

    I also liked the use of metaphors that run throughout (deer hunting, russian roulette, wedding, etc.). These resonate with the meaning.

    This is a story about the ramifications of the Vietnam war in the lives of a handful of characters. It contains little in the way of combat which wouldn't serve this story.

    Had the story been condensed into 2 hours, it would have had greater impact, in my humble opinion. I give it 4 stars....more info
  • Where are the extras from UK version?
    They went through the trouble to pinch out a Special Edition,(now I can make another ashtray out of another first version DVD), but where is the directors commentary? Over in England, thats where, along with other informative interviews, that would have fleshed out this Special Edition nicely. "The Year Of The Dragon" has Michael Cimino`s commentary but the money just was`nt there for this one, probably the most important work of his career. I really care for the people in this film, a lot more than I give a hoot about anybody in "Citizen Kane". So thanks Universal, maybe one day a Super Duper Special Edition will come out....more info
  • A SENSITIVE AND DISTRESSING PIECE ABOUT VIETNAM
    The Deer Hunter
    A close-knit group of American mill - workers are suddenly thrust into war, a war about which none of them knew much about till they arrived. Their awakening is a rude one. The best of director Michael Cimino's much varied out-put was clearly a hard act to follow for all - concerned. At the time, the players, were relatively unknown - Rober de Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken ( as Nick, who's subjected to Russian roulette). The yearning theme music is brilliant. ...more info
  • The Deer Hunter
    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. The tension and acting and message are terrific...more info
  • Dont Use Moviemars
    I'll never know how I liked the product: Moviemars took so many weeks to deliver ( a DVD?) that when I finally received an email from the shipper that the product couldnt be delivered because the shipping address I supplied was not usable, the purpose of buying the DVD became irrelevant.

    I absolutely recommend staying away from Moviemars. TOO SLOW!!!...more info
  • YOu can never go back home
    The Deer Hunter home scenes was filmed were I have worked for the last 35years,Mingo Jct, Ohio.I even tried out for an extra in the movie.I remember coming out of work,and smelling fall,and it was the begining of summer.There were leaves everywere down town Mingo,and there's not a single tree on the block. I saw Meryl Streep walking out of one of the stores,and didn't even know who she was.This was one of her first big films.My older girl cousin,Stella,who is 6 foot tall walked into De Niro's trailer and asked for an autograph.He told her to "Get the hell out"but she wouldn't back down,and told her "if it wasn't for people like us,you'd be no one."I still enjoy this film,and still think John Savage was the greatest actor in his time.You can tell this movie had alot of Metod acting,and sometimes its over done,but "The Deer Hunter" is a classic.{A guy I work with in the Steel Mill,Denny Anderson,who served in Vietnam ,still loves to watch this film }...more info
  • Mindless drinking to mindless killing
    The wedding scene. What's with the hour long wedding scene that goes nowhere? My time is worth more than listening to a senseless script. Maybe the plan was to show senseless American life of roughhousing, drinking and merrymaking next to senseless burning alive Vietnamese? If that's the point than I find this movie lacking.

    I can get that hollywood thinks that American's are a bunch of rednecks in under a five minute scene. There is no need to paint a degrading and mindless hour long intro picture of the brave men and women that make up the vast majority of this country as being rediculous drunks.

    how is this an Oscar winning movie?


    ...more info
  • An editing room paradox
    EDIT: After writing this review, I did a little research, and the makers were very aware of the problems that I point out in act one of the movie. They knew it was too long, etc. But the interesting thing is that they audience tested 2-3 different cuts of it, with much of the first hour trimmed down -- especially the wedding. And what they found, EVERY single time, was that they had solved the audience complaints about the first hour dragging, but that the the meat of the movie, and the powerful ending effected people a lot less. So, they obviously made the choice to keep the overly long 1st act for the benefit of the rest of the movie, and eat the complaints that it generated. I just wish that they had been able to find the right balance of the two, which kept eluding them. (Oh, I put it at 4 stars, the stupid interface won't let me change the 3 rating)
    ...............................Original
    The first hour of this 3 hour movie, seemingly meant to build the dramatic framework for the rest of the movie by showing good old boys in their hometown doing all the normal things and does this well enough, but could have been a LOT shorter. I mean a lot shorter. (I also find it amusing that somehow their drive from Penn to the Washington Cascades to hunt seems to take only one night, but that is Hollywood)

    The 'middle section' seemed a lot weaker than it should/could have been. It shows them in combat for five minutes, literally, but in a way that you are not even sure what is going on, and have absolutely no idea how they get captured. You have them against all possibility reunited (or maybe they were in the same unit to begin with, it doesn't tell, but that would be even worse as they almost totally stopped making regional units with whole famalies/towns in them after the civil war, and totally stopped during WW2.) Here, they should have cut a lot less. I concede that this part is not overly central to the narrative drive of the film and its purpose is merely setting up the key situations, but a film of this magnitude should not have weaknesses like that.

    It is from their capture onwards that this movie gains strength and power, and eventually culminates in a VERY powerful ending -- the best best picture ending that someone could ask for.

    As an aside: the plot synopsis above mentions that the Russian Roulette is a symbol for the futility of the war as a whole. After thinking about this, I can not see any real evidence for this in the story. I certainly agree that the war was futile (in the strongest possible way), but if the synopsis is correct and that symbolism was intended by the film makers, they did not portray it strongly enough for me to pick up on it.

    For me it is a 'get used at a great price when you see it, film'. Unfortunately, I have to put it midway down the field of Viet Nam movies. I rate Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, and Born on the Fourth of July, as better all around movies, even if the magnitude of the emotional blast at the end is not as poignant in many of them. I rate it as much better than Hamburger Hill, Heaven and Earth and Once Were Soldiers.

    The Deer Hunter has the potential to be almost/just as good as these the top ones; the story is strong enough, but the editing paradox they suffered severely hampers it, taking it from 5 to 4 stars....more info
  • WORTH WAITING FOR
    This film takes an investment of attention that most modern films do not require. The payoff however is unique and lasting.
    In the story we follow a group of friends, some who go off to war in Vietnam, some who stay behind. The characters here are not flashy, but they grow on you as people do in real life. We get closer and closer to who people really are without relying on a hero. Solid performances all around.
    The contrast of the mountains and the town and the struggles in Vietnam are startling. In all three places, people decide, each in their own way, how to deal with a season of madness.

    ...more info
  • Great Performances
    Excellent performances by Streep, De Niro, and Walken. It's a long (3 hours) and slow movie, but well worth the time. You can't go wrong with a Academy Award Winning movie for Best Picture. The russian roulette scenes are by far one of the most intense and memorable moments in cinema history....more info