"The Deer Hunter" (1978)
Directed By: Michael Cimino
Written By: Deric Washburn, Michael Cimino, Louis Garfinkle, Quinn K. Redeker
Released: December 8th, 1978
Runtime: 183 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel town, prepare to ship out overseas following Steven's elaborate wedding and one final group hunting trip. In Vietnam, their dreams of military honor are quickly shattered by the inhumanities of war; even those who survive are haunted by the experience, as is Nick's hometown sweetheart, Linda (Meryl Streep).
This is not an easy watch by any means. In fact, it's quite a traumatic affair. There is so much sadness, so much violence, and so much devastation. It's not one that will leave your minds very easily after viewing and if you think you'll come away from it unaffected in some shape or manner, think again.
I think the fact that it is so long makes it that bit tougher. I did have to get through it over two sittings to be honest. But it’s one of those films that you kind of can’t go without seeing. Well, you could. But if you’re a film enthusiast like myself, it’s such a well-thought of film and built up so much as one of the greats. It’s fair to say that none of that hype is over the top. It’s all deserved.
The story is very character-orientated and I like those kinds of movies. It’s amazing to watch Christopher Walken, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep as they’re all so young in this. As talented and amazing in this as they’ve ever been but their performances in this are not ones you would easily forget. Particularly in the scene between Christopher Walken and Robert DeNiro playing Russian Roulette. It was so heart-breaking. For me, that’s a moment that sticks out quite a bit more than others. They’re just scarily talented. What more can you honestly say that hasn’t been said already? It’s amazing to think that this film came out 40 years ago this year.
With five out of nine Academy Awards under its belt, it’s no wonder this film has struck such a big cord in the film industry for so many years. It's certainly not for everyone, and probably for a lot of people, including myself, where one viewing is all it needs. Phenomenal.