• Frys.com #6968557
  • Manufacturer: Universal Studios
  • UPC #025192128356
  • Model #MHV61121108BR



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    Detailed Description
    (Manufacturer # MHV61121108BR )

      One of several 1978 films dealing with the Vietnam War (including Hal Ashby's Oscar-winning Coming Home), Michael Cimino's epic second feature The Deer Hunter was both renowned for its tough portrayal of the war's effect on American working class steel workers and notorious for its ahistorical use of Russian roulette in the Vietnam sequences. Structured in five sections contrasting home and war, the film opens in Clairton, PA, as Mike (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken), and Stan (John Cazale, in his last film) celebrate the wedding of their friend Steve (John Savage) and go on a final deer hunt before the men leave for Vietnam. Mike treats hunting as a test of skill, lecturing Stan about the value of "one shot" deer slaying and brushing off Nick's urgings to appreciate nature's beauty. As Mike ruminates post-hunt, the film cuts to the horror of Vietnam, where the men are captured by Vietcong soldiers who force Mike and Nick to play Russian roulette for the V.C.'s amusement. Mike turns the game to his advantage so they can escape captivity, but the men are permanently scarred by the episode. Steve loses his legs; Nick vanishes in the Saigon Russian roulette parlors. Mike returns alone to Clairton a changed man, as he rejects the killing of the deer hunt and finds solace with Nick's old girlfriend Linda (Meryl Streep). Disgusted by the antics of his male cohorts at home, Mike decides to bring Steve back from a veterans' hospital, and he returns to Saigon to find Nick. As Saigon falls, Mike discovers how far gone Nick is; the survivors gather in Clairton for a funeral breakfast, singing an impromptu rendition of "God Bless America." ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
    Movie Type
    Movie Level Themes
      Haunted By the Past, Home From the War
    Movie Level Tones
      Cathartic, Melancholy, Visceral, Harsh, Poignant, Sweeping

    DVD Features

    • Deleted and Extended Scenes
    • Feature Commentary with Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and Film Journalist Bob Fisher
    • 100 Years of Universal: Academy Award Winners
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • 1979--British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Michael Cimino-Nominee
    • 1978--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Michael Cimino-Nominee
    • 1978--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Michael Deeley-Winner
    • 1978--Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Deric Washburn-Nominee
    • 1978--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Wiliam L. McCaughey-Winner
    • 1978--New York Film Critics Circle, Christopher Walken-Winner
    AMG Rating


      Realizing that the three-hour film would need to be a prestige event to draw public interest, Universal followed Grease producer Allan Carr's advice and opened The Deer Hunter for one week for Academy Award consideration in December 1978, putting off the national opening until February 1979. The gambit succeeded. The film won the Best Picture prize from the New York Film Critics' Circle and got nine Academy Award nominations as it went into national release, including Best Picture, Best Director, and acting nods for Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep. The movie went on to beat Coming Home for Best Picture and Best Director and also picked up Oscars for Walken's performance, Sound, and Editing. As the film's acclaim grew, it also aroused objections to the depiction of the Vietcong as racist from, among others, Coming Home star Jane Fonda, as well as criticisms from numerous Vietnam reporters that director Michael Cimino was ill-informed about real Vietnam experience, not having served in the war himself. Regardless of the disputes over the veracity of the Russian roulette scenes, they create an indelible metaphor for warfare and its atmosphere of sudden, random violence. While the press notes suggest that the final song was meant to be affirmative, the searing sense of loss that builds up throughout the film renders it profoundly ambiguous. This combination of ambivalence, brutality, and controversy echoed American culture's experience of Vietnam, making The Deer Hunter an even more telling cultural artifact than may have been intended. The film's awards and acclaim manifested Hollywood's willingness finally to reckon one way or another with a war that had been all but absent from movie screens while it was happening, leading the way for such later films as Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Oliver Stone's Platoon (1986) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989). With the prizes and dissension, The Deer Hunter became a popular hit, enabling Cimino to have full artistic freedom for his next film, the financially disastrous Heaven's Gate. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi


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