36 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2005
(Heavy sigh). Yes, they finally got the transfer "right", with a rich anamorphic sheen. Yes, the restored audio is a marked improvement over the original DVD releases. Yes, this film is a classic. (Why do you think I bought it twice?!) What I am addressing here is how the studio can justify calling this the "Legacy Edition"? Let's see, what "extras" do we get for the bloated price tag...uh, well, nice packaging (think I'll frame it). Er, a second disc. Oh boy-a SECOND disc, probably CRAMMED FULL OF EXTRA FEATURES!!! Let's see what's on it. Uh, "deleted and extended scenes", OK, hmmm, about 18 minutes if outtakes randomly strung together with no commentary or chapter headings. Oooo-look-"Production Notes". Oh. One of those House of Chintz "read only" slide shows that you find on prototype DVD's released circa 1997..uh, stunning. And here's the original trailer (what a bold innovation for a DVD extra!). OK, carry the "6"...that's ummm, about 20 minutes of "extras" total. Oh, I almost forgot the cinematographer's commentary track (yes he is one of the greats, but for a 3-hour film I'm going to listen to endless minutia regarding f stops and filters?!) You would think for a definitive "Legacy" edition, you would want to hear from,oh, I don't know, the DIRECTOR, perhaps? Too bad no one at Universal had taken note of Warner's recent 2-disc edition of "The Big Red One"-they could have learned how it's done. Memo to the brass at Universal: Boys, the next time you want to bend me over the retail counter-at least take me to dinner first (I'll pass on the movie).
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2014
Watch ed as a young man and thought it was great , 20 years later I couldnt get through it, actors ad libs , over draging scenes, became to much to handle. nreeded editing, lest dialouge.
4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2014
The Deer Hunter, 1979 film
It starts with a view of a factory (steel works), Men wear protective clothes. The shift ends, the men leave. [The automobiles are from the 1960s.] One worker will be married. People prepare for the wedding. [Padding to fill up time.] Some men will go deer hunting. [To keep in touch with nature?] Is their behavior plausible? There is an Eastern Orthodox wedding for Steven and Angela. [The crowns over their heads are part of the ceremony.] Rice is thrown (a symbol of abundance). People do a traditional folk dance with shouts of happiness. Stanley hits a woman! A soldier visits. “What’s it like over there?” The newlyweds drive away. What is Michael doing? Some kind of mental problem? The next day they drive along a county road. “That’s not funny.” [Personality conflicts?]
Is all that drinking a good preparation for hunting? Do they act friendly? They shoot a buck on a hilltop. [Where would the bullet go if they missed?] Then back to town with a deer on the hood of the car. [The heat could spoil the meat.] Beer cans are opened in the lounge. Then we see warfare in Vietnam. A grenade is thrown into a shelter! A flame thrower hits a soldier! Captured American soldiers are held in a hut. Enemy soldiers play a game with a revolver. Steve is forced to play this game. [Believable?] “Don’t worry, kid.” Three rounds in a revolver? Who will laugh last? [They leave unarmed?] Can they be rescued by a helicopter? Only if they can hold on to the skids. Refugees are shown traveling along a road. They recover at the US Army Hospital in Saigon. Steve goes to a bar and meets a girl, but leaves. He meets a man outside who brings him to a gambling place. Is it fixed?
Steve throws money into the air and is driven away. Michael returns home. Where is Nick? AWOL. Its still a small town where people walk on the street. Stores are owner-operated. Michael is greeted. Life hasn’t changed much. “Where’s Steven?” Michael has to leave. [Why?] They visit a bowling alley. Stash tells about his girl friend. One man does a stupid trick. Later men go deer hunting again. [Shooting on a hill top means a miss can hit somebody.] Stash plays with his revolver. [There is hostility among these “friends”.] Linda is unhappy. “I don’t know.” She stamps prices on canned goods. [Remember that?] People play BINGO in a hall. [Still a social event in care centers today.] Michael calls Steve. “Great.” Then he visits him.
Steve gets money from Saigon, Nick is still alive. Next its Vietnam in 1975, just before its fall (or liberation). People rush iron gates. Michael has returned to search for Nick! He wants to play that game; it takes a lot of money. [This is a sick movie!] Is Nick doped up? Money talks. The bout is on. One bullet in a revolver. Michael takes his chances. So does Nicky. “Remember that?” We see the TV news. Helicopters are pushed off an aircraft carrier. [Destruction of government property?] There is funeral service. [Only four pallbearers?] Do people cry at funerals because it reminds them of their own mortality? People don’t have much to say. They sing “God Bless America”. And so this movie is finally over.
This is one of the worst movies that I remember. It has almost no “redeeming social value”. Was it meant to be a “buddy picture” about Nick and Michael? The amount of drinking could have made the title “The Beer Hunters”. Note the “product placement” for advertising.
45 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2005
With five Academy awards and over two hundred Amazon reviews, it's clear that this is a significant film. It is also an embarrassingly bad film. The plot makes no sense, the dialogue is incoherent, the actors, who are, for the most part, very good, struggle to retain their dignity and credibility.
The characters are all mentally deranged in one way or another before they even go to Vietnam. Perhaps Cimino felt this was typical of American small town life, but it seems patronizing now.
The wedding scene lasts forever. Too bad the camera didn't focus more on the girl with the long blond straight cut hair doing the Polish folkdance, instead of on the cast making fools of themselves pretending to be drunk and disorderly. De Niro and Streep shamelessly play to the camera, like amateurs, although obviously they know better. They must have been extremely bored making those scenes. And what is that Green Beret doing in the bar, saying "f--k it"?
The scene in the bar afterward with the sensitive piano playing by Dzundza is ridiculous. It couldn't happen that way, all those drunken rowdies dreamily mooning over a piano sonata.
Next we see "the guys" in the mountains, supposedly on a deer hunt. There is no terrain like that within 2000 miles of Pittsburg, and sure enough in the credits it says those scenes were filmed in the Cascades. Now, deer hunting is taken very seriously in Western Pennsylvania, so there's no need to go out to the Cascades for that. Cimino must have liked the scenery in the Cascades better than the Alleghenies, so the heck with verisimilitude. "One shot, one kill" is indeed a purist's approach to deer hunting, as in sniping, but it's a lot more difficult than is portrayed in "The Deer Hunter", so again, the heck with verisimilitude.
The "combat" sequence is nonsensical. Yes, combat, according to those who've participated in it, often makes no sense, but this is simply ludicrous. A VC throws a grenade into a shelter filled with civilian villagers, then De Niro kills the VC with a flame-thrower (where the heck did THAT thing come from?), some mortar rounds land in a nearby field, and the next thing we know De Niro et. al. are prisoners on a river boat playing Russian roulette. They shoot everyone, are rescued, then lose touch with each other. Even a bad dream would make more sense, but then sense isn't what Cimino was after, if he was after anything.
Why does De Niro walk around in his uniform all the time? And how on earth does he get back to Vietnam during the Fall of Saigon?
Meryl Streep really can't put herself into the role of a sincere American blue-collar female, no matter how hard she tries. And the last scene, of the cast singing "God Bless America" in the kitchen after Walken's funeral comes across as condescending, definitely not a sincere statement of patriotism by Cimino. We are meant to think, "Even after all this, the poor slobs are still patriotic."
The only well-played scenes are those of De Niro and Walken together. De Niro is especially good. They are the only dramatically credible scenes in the film, even though they make no more sense than anything else.
The theme song, Stanley Myers' "Cavatina" is very beautiful and evocative, but bizarre and pretentious in the context.
Everyone with an interest in America and American history should see this movie, for its portrayal of the depth of American misunderstanding, confusion, and emotional trauma in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The fact that this really bad film received five Academy awards says a lot about where America was in 1978. Jimmy Carter was president, so we had gas lines and "malaise". Nixon had resigned in disgrace. Vietnam had been left to the tender mercies of the Communists, Pol Pot was killing millions in Cambodia, inflation was rampant, the Soviets were starting trouble in the Caribbean and Central America, and the Iranians were soon to take over our embassy in Tehran, holding the staff, and America, hostage. It was a very bad time, and everyone knew it. "The Deer Hunter" tapped into that feeling, that something very, very bad had happened in Vietnam, and that our troubles weren't over.
General Bernard Montgomery, of El Alemain and Arnhem fame, is reported to have said that the American military in Vietnam was "insane". (He was referring to the American high command and the lack of war goals, not to the American troops.) Looking back on those years, it seems as though the whole country was driven insane by that war, and "The Deer Hunter" was a symptom of that madness.
6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2005
1) I would like to say that the British and the French editions (zone 2) of this present double DVD have on disc 2, in place of cut parts of the movie, two interviews of Michael Cimino and John Savage, which I heartly recommand to those who love The deer hunter. If you can read zone 2 DVDs on your computer or DVD set, you can buy one of those editions (in English with optional subtitles) on amazon.co.uk or amazon.fr, and I bet you will prefer that.
2) Though I really love Meryll Streep, I feel bad that her picture has replaced John Savage's one on the cover of this edition. Doesn't make sense.