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8,098 Ratings

The Deer Hunter

Directed by Michael Cimino
United States, United Kingdom, 1978
Drama, War


A group of working-class friends decides to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam War and finds it to be hellish chaos. Before they left, Steven married his pregnant girlfriend—and Michael and Nick were in love with the same woman. But all three are different men upon their return.

Our take

A classic of New Hollywood cinema, Michael Cimino’s powerful anti-war epic summons a trio of intense, terrific performances from its stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep. Cimino’s breakthrough, and winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

The Deer Hunter Directed by Michael Cimino

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1979 | 4 nominations including: Best Actor in a Leading Role

1979 | 5 wins including: Best Actor in a Supporting Role

It is a raucous revelation to be sure, but behind the combustible ball of macho energy, there is an elusive vulnerability, equally unstable and perpetually unsettled.
December 31, 2018
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It’s a work whose qualities change dramatically depending on the spectator’s position relative to it. Often described as fascist for its crude depiction of the Northern Vietnamese as sadistic, psychotic and animal-like, it’s also been exalted for its richly sketched portrayal of a small Pennsylvanian factory town and the people who inhabit it… Cimino tears away the placidity of proletarian Anywheresville and brusquely resituates us in a numbing world outside common-sense morality.
November 30, 2016
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Like Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, Cimino composed his masterpiece in parts––allegro, andante, and con moto––though in Cimino’s case the execution is not necessarily in that order. Both works use notes unfamiliar to the art form, yet The Deer Hunter’s visceral, bloody take on the Vietnam War, which begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral, is seamless.
September 28, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • Lights in the Dusk's rating of the film The Deer Hunter

    Less dramatization of history than a figurative exploration of the American psyche; with class, religion, friendship &war as an ideology explored throughout. In this sense the three-act structure of home, combat & after becomes symbolic of heaven/hell/purgatory; Vietnam as 'Dantean' inferno? Yes, it's indulgent on the part of Cimino, but he's reaching for a kind of emotional authenticity here that's rarely seen.

  • Jake Cole's rating of the film The Deer Hunter

    Cimino, who would destroy Griffith's co-founded United Artists within two years, makes his version of BIRTH OF A NATION. Perpetuating visions of the U.S. in Vietnam it seeks to dismantle, it is nevertheless an audacious film of the American myth, albeit one of Fordian ambiguities, even outright contradictions. There are aspects of it I just can't bring myself to forgive, but I also can't deny it is monumental.

  • Joks's rating of the film The Deer Hunter

    It has its flaws, but i'd argue that its gritty depiction of working class life is the most authentic in American cinema. The feeling of community and camaraderie that is ultimately shattered by the war rings totally true at every moment. and that is precisely where the emotional core of the film lies, and ultimately the key to its success. I can take or leave the war scenes.

  • Richmond Hill's rating of the film The Deer Hunter

    Does length alone confer importance? No, but you’d think so here. Nor does it provide much insight despite ample opportunity. The film seems to have half an envious eye on the scale and structure of The Godfather but still manages to reduce a series of brilliant vignettes to being stranded miniatures in an epic of running time alone. Schisms of excellence are not reward enough when you have too much of not a lot.

  • Ethan's rating of the film The Deer Hunter

    This is one of the most human films ever made about Vietnam. Michael Cimino creates an intimate epic here that shows the before, during, and after of the Vietnam War for this close knit group of steel workers. DeNiro and Walken are exceptional in this film and the ending is one of the most powerful. Also Vilmos Zsigmond really knew how to shoot epics.

  • ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS's rating of the film The Deer Hunter

    Cimino's fascist film would make Riefenstahl and Griffith proud. The controversial roulette scenes and the depiction of the Vietnamese are the least of this films problem. For the first 2 hours, I was annoyed by its chauvinism which, at times, borders on homoerotic and the complete disregard of the females. Near the end, it almost began to criticize these traits but still couldn't stop sentimentalizing everything.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film The Deer Hunter

    The performances man... the performances are just painfully raw and touching. We are yet to find this level of acting in contemporary cinema (except, perhaps, when Joaquin Phoenix is involved). The '70s not only stripped away convention that liberated filmmakers but ultimately transpired a sense of realism embraced by the performer who started to blur the line between fact and fiction.

  • João''s rating of the film The Deer Hunter

    Only a genius would remember to use the russian roulette as a metaphor for war in the actual warzone. What some call inaccurate, I call the greatest dramatical depiction of war ever filmed; Through the roulette, Cimino reaches the highest level of war film realism in Cinema, maximizing the viewer's experience of the terror of the soldier's mind - that tenseful yet thin line of chance between life and death. Genius.

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