The Deer Hunter
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Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and one of AFI's Top 100 Films of All Time, The Deer Hunter follows a group of Pennsylvania steelworkers from their blue-collar lives, hunting in the woods of the Alleghenies, to the hells of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Academy Award winners Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken star in this unforgettable saga of friendship and courage. Experience the brutality of war and the depths of emotional strain on the human spirit in this all-new special edition.
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There are so many scenes to admire. The Russian Roulette sequence is particularly violent and disturbing, unleashing a dark cloud upon the rest of the characters' lives. The deer hunting scenes are beautiful. I love how upon Deniro's return from Vietnam he finds he no longer needs to hunt deer for sport, tossing a revolver to the wind, realizing his experience in the war has made him repulsed by violence of any kind.
I love the scene where Walken is in the hospital, post prison camp. A doctor asks him his name and Walken is so full of grief he is unable to speak, and he sobs, muttering softly, struggling for the words. The camera lingers on this pain for quite a while. I have a feeling it is the scene that won Walken the Oscar--it's quite astonishing.
The ending where the entire cast sings God Bless America will simply knock you off your feet. Roger Ebert said some interesting things about it in his review in 1978: "What The Deer Hunter insists is that we not forget the war. It ends on a curious note: The singing of 'God Bless America.' I won't tell you how it arrives at that particular moment, but I do want to observe that the lyrics of "God Bless America" have never before seemed to me to contain such an infinity of possible meanings, some tragic, some unspeakably sad, some few still defiantly hopeful."
To me, this is The Deer Hunter, in a nutshell. It is not Pro-war. It is not Anti-war. It is simply a record of how war enters a group of people's lives. "It is a progression from a wedding to a funeral. It is one of the most emotionally shattering movies ever made", Ebert.
Could the film have benefitted from a stronger sense of editing? Yes. And no. Some folks say the Wedding Sequence drags on far too long. They may have a point. But when the film is finished, all of the events included in their entirety bring the film to a satisfying conclusion, I believe. As I said, this movie is simply concerned with people, its' characters, the ensemble. And you have to be prepared to view it through such a lens.
It's not a movie EVERYONE adores. Some viewers will find the film frustrating, artsy, confounding and unsatisfying. Others will find it poignant, sincere and beautiful. I am in the latter category.
First hour of watching this, I almost forgot that it is a Vietnam war movie. Think of it as 3 parts. Each one lasting an hour (This movie is 3 hours long by the way). First hour is kinda for the audience to get the know these characters, second part is the war in Vietnam, and the last part is coming back from the war... I do not want to ruin the rest. Just for you to know that it is a very well made movie!!
When I finally did- I was shocked how good it is - and why I waited so long. I was 8 when it came out. The movie is so intense- the 3 hrs fly by- and leave you changed forever in some way after it. It is not for kids under 18- pls - that cannot be expressed enough as some scenes are extremely hard to watch but you do and you will always bond with others who love this poignant, greatest movies of all time.
To now own it on Blu-Ray is complete. Once again- you will be changed In some way after seeing it. 5 Stars isn't enough.....
Each character handles that experience differently, but all are profoundly affected by the practices and atrocities committed to them during a short period of captivity. This is the consistent theme of the movie and the sharing and commitment of brotherly love.
The movie garnered top honors, and deserved just about everything it received. But perhaps the secret of this picture is that you cannot walk away from it without being affected by it in some manner. In the end, you share in the loss, because the depth of character study is so deep.
This movie is not suitable for young viewers. But it is perhaps very important to be seen as an adult. Never in the field of psychological study has a picture so effectively dramatized post traumatic stress disorder in this fashion.
The details can be discovered among the hundreds of other reviewers here as to the how and why. I cast this review for the purpose that in the many films recommended that you see during your life if possible, this is certainly one of them.
Most recent customer reviews
had to stay therefore for the entire movie. 3 hours
of Cimino was enough for a lifetime.Read more