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Overall Rating
4.31

Awesome60.71%
Worth A Look: 22.14%
Average: 5.71%
Pretty Bad: 10%
Total Crap: 1.43%

5 reviews, 110 user ratings


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Deer Hunter, The
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by Slyder

"A Nerve-Shattering Experience"
5 stars

The tragedy of The Deer Hunter is a full-blown, mind-shattering experience that will leave you shocked for a long time. I was shocked and traumatized by this film, and totally blown away by it. Itís immense power left me in total grief and pity for the characters in the film, however, that power is what makes this film a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A controversial, but powerful masterpiece in modern cinema, the movie was to be director Michael Ciminoís peak, and go on to win 5 academy awards, for Best Director, Picture, Screenplay, and Supporting Actor for Christopher Walkenís absorbing performance. This film is a total must, but you better be prepared for the shock.

The film consists of three parts: The life, the war, and the aftermath.

The life: In the small town of Clairton, Pennsylvania, we meet the main characters of the film, a group of 6 friends consisting of Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Walken), Steven (John Savage), Stan (John Cazale), John (George Dzundza) and Axel (Chuck Aspergren), all workers Ėexcept JohnĖ at a blast furnace factory, and from Russian ethnicity. Michael, Nick, and Steve have volunteered for the Vietnam War, but before, they are to celebrate life with Stevenís wedding (grandiosely staged, and lots of fun), and the first deer-hunting trip in the cool grounds of the Alleghenies Mountains. For Michael, deer hunting is a religious ritual, the perfect killing, and the search for the holy right of killing in one single shot. Nick follows him on this, while the rest are unskilled and often irritate Michael, especially Stan. After the hunting, the celebration brings the ritual into a natural full circle.

The War: None of the three expected the horrifying disaster that was to hit and change their lives forever. In just their first tour, they are greeted with the explosions and firefights that form the lethal cauldron of Vietnam. The three friends are captured and imprisoned in a POW camp, and there, their worst nightmares come true, and so do ours as weíre introduced to the brutal game of the Russian roulette. Logically, the three, after a death-defying struggle, manage to escape the camp and are rescued, but get separated in the effort. Steven gets seriously injured, and Michael stays with him to protect him, but later they separate, while Nick is taken to the hospital.

The aftermath: Their lives are scarred. Steveís injuries, Nickís zombie ness, and deep submerge into the Russian roulette game, and Michaelís moody and repulsive attitude with his friends and his sudden relationship with Nickís girlfriend Linda (Meryl Streep), will lead into a clash that will change their friendship forever.

Whatís interesting about the movie is itís unusual style of filmmaking, which includes a sometimes-uneven storyline, loose editing, unusual camera shots and length, and makes the final product raw, bold and brassy. Still, the film never looses any of its power, and tackles on the many subjects of patriotism and manhood and how theyíre destroyed by the cruelty of war without forgiveness. A little flaw is that it tries to deal with several subjects, and despite achieving the most important ones; it leaves many of them behind in thin air. These unfortunately press the film into being at times indulgent and pretentious. It tries to deal with the issues of the Vietnam War, and itís criticized for that, since it portrays the Vietnamese as one-sided and sadistic people. Historically inaccurate, yes, but one can tell closely enough, that Cimino is trying to aim sadist people that just live for killing each other. There will always be good people and bad people. Vietnam isnít covered with much detail, since the film concentrates on our friends and places the Vietnam War in the background, but again the film makes the mistake of forcing the issue with the political side of the War, which pushes the film to be defined as a war movie. It never really achieves that, and again another subject is left in the air, hence adding the pretentiousness.

But still despite that, the film isnít practically affected by these flaws and makes its controversy explode in the now-famous sequence Russian roulette scene, which is one of the most brutal scenes ever to be put on film. At first it isnít noticed, but the roulette scenes tend to agree with the deer hunting. Michael sees deer hunting as a religious philosophy of a perfect kill with one shot, while the Russian roulette is played as a ritual of a perfect kill, a perfect kill of oneís conscience (Notice the metaphor of deer-hunting?). The roulette scenes at times may border on the extreme, but still the emotional effects hit on the mark, and make your wonder about things in your life, about friendship, about your wits, and how far can you take them, and your own emotions. Itís just fucking powerful.

The performances are flawless. Robert De Niro is perfect as Michael, and is known to be his favorite role, and you can tell, since he adds a special charisma to itís character. Walken is superb and so is Meryl Streep as Linda. The rest of the supporting cast is excellent, sadly it was to be John Cazaleís last film, since he would die later of bone cancer. Michael Ciminoís direction is spellbinding and hits it on the spot. He had lots of talent, too bad his career was to be ruined by his next project, Heavens Gate, but thatís another story.

In the end, this film is raw, and unusual, but still, itís pretty much powerful stuff, and deserves a casual, but prepared view, and unquestionably ranks amongst the greatest films of all time. Be prepared to be challenged emotionally by this film, since it is one hell of a ride, and an experience that you wont forget. See it. 5-5

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1366&reviewer=235
originally posted: 01/17/02 16:40:39
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User Comments

9/11/13 Kymberly Pray In a word: classic. Well cast, and best performance of career for many. CW for president! 5 stars
4/24/12 Monday Morning David Hollands, are you on drugs, you moron? Get a frigging life. 3 stars
8/14/10 the dork knight Tons of metaphors, some of them pushing the boundries of common sense. 4 stars
6/08/10 Flathead King One of the best movies that I have ever seen 5 stars
3/02/10 PAUL SHORTT ENGROSSING, WELL MADE WAR DRAMA WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES 4 stars
8/10/09 Jeff Wilder Not as cutting as Platoon. But it still takes a piece out of you. 4 stars
9/06/08 John Winlow Brilliant portrayal of the affects a war has on everyone involved 5 stars
3/15/08 AMIR SHRY I AM SAFE 2 stars
11/29/07 Mike Hunt Deniro's is messed up because of his homo feelings toward walken 3 stars
11/18/07 Deer Hunter Critic David Hollands said, "Thereís absolutely nothing sacred about DEER HUNTING!" - Duh! 5 stars
8/12/07 Gaza bored me to death; nice projectile blood though 2 stars
5/29/07 truth Vronsky is NOT A HOMO, idiot. In love with Linda the WHOLE MOVIE. Watch again. 5 stars
2/17/07 G Sherfy Saw it only once and the images still linger today; masterful performance by Walken. 5 stars
2/15/07 I Gluck Uneven but extremely watchable 4 stars
2/14/07 Jack Sommersby Direction and phoptography, first-class; the writing, however, is abysmal. 2 stars
12/05/06 David Cohen Foget this overrated pap and watch Platoon instead 2 stars
10/01/06 Carol Dellandrea Brilliant film. A classic. The contrast between the beautyof human love relationships and t 5 stars
9/13/06 Bitchflaps Interesting character study, despite serious problems with pacing and banal symbolism. 3 stars
8/16/06 Josh Racine Wow! 5 stars
5/05/06 Uri Lessing keen 4 stars
5/03/06 MP Bartley Walken is tremendous, the Russian roulette is devastating, the rest is flimsy. 4 stars
5/03/06 Matt Seaver Hard to argue with this one 4 stars
5/02/06 Ryan_A Flawed - but still fantastic - fantastic film. 5 stars
5/02/06 PaulBryant No problems with the movie, just misinterpretations. Astonishing film. 5 stars
5/02/06 David Cornelius Problematic but very effective 4 stars
5/02/06 William Goss A decent flick, if mildly overlong and overrated. 4 stars
5/02/06 EricDSnider Great Vietnam scenes, otherwise troubled 4 stars
5/02/06 Alex Paquin Not particularly memorable except for the Russian roulette scene. 3 stars
5/02/06 HBS-SH "L" 3 stars
1/22/06 CGR Excellent non-partisan movie - take note Hollywood. 5 stars
8/14/05 Ben With it 5 stars
8/05/05 Indrid Cold Excellent, but several slow and/or overdone parts. Platoon is still the best Nam movie. 5 stars
6/28/05 sa good, yeh...but noway great, nothing spectacula//stil good well told film tho 4 stars
3/31/05 Cindy Sheeks This film was beautifully made from start to finish. 5 stars
3/26/05 Denise great 4 stars
2/20/05 Angolmois Overly sentimental claptrap about 2.5 hours too long. Wedding scene was a snooze. 1 stars
12/13/04 Mrs. BrandyWool I really enjoyed this movie. I loved it. 5 stars
10/23/04 UMER deniro is stunning even without scorsese 5 stars
10/23/04 ODH Great movie, a little long (over 3 hours), but films don't get any better than this! 5 stars
8/28/04 Goggman Very Very depressing and sad. Worth watching multiple even with its 3 hour run time. 5 stars
5/11/04 Kevin Gut-wrenchingly sad, a great film. 5 stars
3/24/04 Alan Well deserved Oscars. The jump from a blissful Chopin Nocturne to the hell of war is a jolt 5 stars
1/24/04 CC Yep....Great 5 stars
1/07/04 Rajneesh Pratran Intakhab IV Worst animal documentary I've ever seen 2 stars
12/24/03 Joel W. De Sario Anti-war movie. Who in the hell likes war? 3 stars
11/27/03 John insightful and stunning in its first hour but ultimately too in love with its own grandeur 3 stars
10/28/03 Sergio A. Stunning performances. 5 stars
9/10/03 Gelasia Prewitt an evocative...a gripping film about friendship and survival!! 4 stars
8/06/03 Meggie Davis Cazale is great and gave his all for the movie 5 stars
6/29/03 DW Wildmore The story brought De Niro to tears, and me too. A Great motion picture. 5 stars
6/17/03 Rakesh Sudra very powerful film which evokes a variety of emotions 5 stars
2/25/03 Monster W. Kung Not the best Vietnam movie out there. 3 stars
2/08/03 mwildema long, it seems very very long 4 stars
1/21/03 bill An american classic... one of the best acted movies ever.. Deniro, Streep, Walken, Savage 5 stars
1/16/03 mattyfresh you gots to love the russian roulette scene. 5 stars
12/31/02 Rakesh Sudra favourite film to date 5 stars
12/31/02 Jack Sommersby Great visuals, but a disgraceful, incoherent scripting. Zsigmond's lighting is brilliant. 2 stars
11/21/02 Milarepa Jones Excellant movie 5 stars
10/29/02 Charles Tatum I defy you to hate this film 5 stars
9/15/02 Procrastinator Breathtaking and powerful. I'd have to say this is the best-acted Vietnam film ever. 5 stars
8/25/02 Turkish great movie, and semore buts is a fuckin idiot if he never heard of russian roulette before 5 stars
4/30/02 Semore Buts Weird as hell game me a headache 1 stars
4/04/02 Cuntlicker Fantastic 5 stars
3/20/02 jazz this is but the best movie robert de niro and christopher walken could offer 5 stars
3/04/02 Girl 9 Awesome? I think not...truth is bad movies can happen to good actors. Pretty bad. 2 stars
2/17/02 Clarance WOW! Holy fuckin shit! Watch this amazing movie...man war was/is/and will always be hell!! 5 stars
2/17/02 Marcin Moczulski One of the best movies at all 5 stars
2/14/02 John Nado Beautiful, truly a cinema gem 5 stars
2/05/02 Allan Brown Excellent, tragic: a view of the vietnam war as it was - useless and good for nothing. 5 stars
1/19/02 wintermute Here's an awkward question: Hey Michael, What happened? 5 stars
11/10/01 Rein J. VanderZee, Jr. Best DRAMATIC American movie in Film History. 5 stars
10/18/01 Miguel E. Rodriguez Shattering...Zarathustra should check his pulse 5 stars
9/18/01 Shams Huque Famous for its Russian Roulette scene... 5 stars
9/10/01 angeles a searing trip to the surreal 5 stars
8/13/01 Edwin Menguin 'How the farmers grew their moustaches' is the song 5 stars
8/08/01 Enrique de Pedro what's the well known song everybody sings while they are in the bar and during the hunting 5 stars
7/21/01 Andrť Grisell Engaging, calm, beatiful. Wonderful soundtrack! 5 stars
7/03/01 jacqui best depiction of life, death and relationships as we live them; Walken is a relevation! 5 stars
6/15/01 Law Firm of Dewey, Cheatam & Howe Despite a wedding shot in real time, movie has much value 5 stars
6/04/01 Basil The best russian rullette scene you will ever see. 5 stars
4/24/01 Spetters Quite good. 4 stars
4/23/01 PaulVal A real look at what the before and after of any trajedy feels like. 5 stars
3/05/01 The Bomb 69 could have cut an hour out of it but the acting and ending were riveting 5 stars
3/01/01 Walkenwoman I kneeled in the middle of my living room floor and cried. Christopher Walken is a GOD 5 stars
2/25/01 Tim Gee Flawed but powerful and engrossing - 8/10 4 stars
2/14/01 Peter Carolla Packs an emotional wallop; must be seen many times. 5 stars
12/14/00 Fluff I rented this movie to stare at Christopher Walken, and I got to. He is brilliant. 5 stars
12/06/00 Sacco Thamuz In no way was this film epic. It was overly long and too stylized to be enjoyable 2 stars
11/15/00 salvo toscano boom 5 stars
11/03/00 Cristopher Revilla my dad cryed after seeing this movie, personally, and emotionally powerful movie!!! 5 stars
5/20/00 Elvisfan the first hour drags & feels like four; after that it gets WAAAY intense 5 stars
4/06/00 perverted pixie "You see this. This is this. This ain't something else. This is this!" 5 stars
3/24/00 Bruce Two Words: Russian Roulette, abolutely amazing 5 stars
11/22/99 Tim Leary A complete masterpiece 5 stars
11/08/99 jeff frolupi this film is as powerfull and intense as motion pictures get 5 stars
10/12/99 joe good show 5 stars
9/25/99 CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ AWESOME, POWERFUL, AND A STUNNING VISUAL CINEMATIC WORK OF ART!!! BRILLIANT YET SHOCKING! 5 stars
9/19/99 Popa Chulo an extremly boring intro. the ruusian roulette is well worth it, though. 4 stars
7/07/99 Ben Leostein Rating: **** (out of ****) Category: "Excellent" 5 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg This is an amazing film. SEE IT. Moves me every time. Cimino's only good movie. 5 stars
6/24/99 Brad K. One of the best films ever, Walken and DeNiro are brilliant. 5 stars
6/15/99 Dylan De Niro's (& Walken's) finest momemnt. 5 stars
6/10/99 Homer J. Simpson I realy liked this movie,it was well acted plus the vietnam scenes were scary 5 stars
4/09/99 Oli This is one of the greatest films ever, Cimino is a geinius. 5 stars
1/12/99 demon_shredder This is one of the best flicks I have ever seen. DeNiro rules! 5 stars
11/28/98 little jerry The Ist russian roulette scene is one of the all time greats but film is pretty maudlin. 4 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink Brilliant! 5 stars
11/26/98 Vick Di Brecci Much of this grandiloquent picture that doesn't wear well with me, but great middle section 4 stars
11/24/98 Silent Rob Powerful tale, about a fractured nation, as seen from a small steel-mill town. Cast heaven! 5 stars
11/23/98 Lord Of The Dunce An eery classic. Cimino knew how to direct. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Feb-1979 (R)
  DVD: 06-Sep-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Jul-1979 (R)




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