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: 93%

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
"A powerful film made with impressive style, and one of the key films of the decade."
‑ Paul Huckerby, Electric Sheep
"Heart-on-sleeve stuff that works despite some of its more egregious impulses."
‑ David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"It's an American tragedy indebted to Russian literature, alive with detail and ritual and embedding viewers in the souls of men, the heart of a community and the spilled guts of a nation."
‑ Jamie Graham, Total Film
"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
"Michael Cimino's Oscar-winning epic The Deer Hunter brought the emotional, homefront legacy of the Vietnam War vividly to life for audiences around the world."
‑ Allan Hunter, Daily Express
"Impressively, Cimino manages to fluctuate involvingly between cynicism and compassion in what feels like a three hour cinematic ache."
‑ Juliet Buchan, The Skinny
"This multi-Oscar winner from Michael Cimino remains one of the finest and most controversial movies about the Vietnam War."
‑ Adrian Turner, Radio Times
"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
"The idea of sacrifice permeates everything, along with the cruelty and horror. This is Cimino's masterpiece."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Art is long, we Cimino champions go on hopefully asserting. Life and injustice are short."
‑ Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
"Robert De Niro is, once again, explosive in this stunning Vietnam movie."
‑ Ralph Novak, People Magazine
More reviews for The Deer Hunter on Rotten Tomatoes

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