The Deer Hunter
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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… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Is it as good as its advance word and nine Academy Award nominations suggest? Yes."
‑ Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune
"A disgusting account of what the evil Vietnamese did to poor, innocent Americans stands at the center of this Oscar-laden weepie about macho buddies from a small industrial town."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"This multi-Oscar winner from Michael Cimino remains one of the finest and most controversial movies about the Vietnam War."
‑ Adrian Turner, Radio Times
"Cimino's daring elegy to a war-torn community may be a long haul, but the extravagant running time is a small price to pay for such gut-wrenching performances and Vilmos Zsigmond's rich cinematography."
‑ , Total Film
"Largely Ambitious, and not without flaws, Cimino's Oscar winning film is nonetheless an effective chronicle of the impact of Vietnam on a clique of close friends"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"This excruciatingly violent, three-hour Viet Nam saga demolishes the moral and ideological cliches of an era: it shoves the audience into hell and leaves it stranded without a map."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"This is probably one of the few great films of the decade."
‑ , Time Out
"Robert De Niro is, once again, explosive in this stunning Vietnam movie."
‑ Ralph Novak, People Magazine
"The film's depiction of a senseless war remains relevant as long as power-hungry leaders continue to play Russian roulette with the lives of young soldiers."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"The friendship between the three central characters, as well as their shared association with the men from their small hometown, is truthful and realistic in a way that most guys will find impossible to resist."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"The film is ambitious and it succeeds on a number of levels and it proves that Cimino is an important director who deserves to be watched carefully."
‑ Charles Schreger, Variety
"It is a heartbreakingly effective fictional machine that evokes the agony of the Vietnam time."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Michael Cimino is better remembered for bankrupting United Artists Studios with "Heaven's Gate" (1980) than he is for making the highly-praised war picture that put him in a position to do such a thing in the first place."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Held together with a phenomenal cast, The Deer Hunter is a powerful film but also controversial in many ways."
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"The first half and second half of the film couldn't be more different but that is the genius behind the film."
‑ Kevin McCarthy, BDK Reviews
More reviews for The Deer Hunter on Rotten Tomatoes

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