The Deer Hunter 1978

director: Michael Cimino  


Genre

Country

United States

Cast

Synopsis

At the end of Michael Cimino's epic film The Deer Hunter, all the characters spared the Vietnam War to return home drift unsentimentally, but movingly, into a rendering of God Bless America. It's more than a requiem for their dead comrade: it's an anthem for a living American tradition of making mistakes, rueing them and starting afresh. When this film appeared in 1978, it struck a national nerve. It sealed an era of guilt, remorse and political division caused by America's involvement in Vietnam and the haemorrhaging of tens of thousands of young lives. It was a healing of the wounds at home as much as a horrifying depiction of the wounds, physical and spiritual, inflicted on four boys from a backwoods steel community plunged into a hell beyond their understanding, or bearing. It isn't a rancorous film: it doesn't encourage Americans to ask 'Where did we go wrong?', but instead celebrates the thing so many felt they did right - their duty. 'Serving God and Country, Proudly' reads the dance-hall banner as the film opens with the wedding of Stevie (John Savage), the rough-housing of his groomsmen-buddies led by Mike (Robert De Niro), and the impromptu sortie of the pals for a deer hunt at dawn which reveals their Hemingway-like attitude to life and death. Then in a billow of napalm flame, we move to Vietnam and watch the capture, torture, escape, separation and homeward journey they all make - some in a box. Out of this grim material, hewn off the macho block of men's suffering and male bonding, Cimino fashioned a huge movie that operates on the senses even more than on the mind. It won many Oscars and immense praise, not least for Meryl Streep's appearance as a war bride. If Vietnam could be said to have produced a Gone With The Wind, proving that courage, love and heroism are still forces in human affairs, this movie would be it. ALEXANDER WALKER

Other Releases

Formats

Available on VHSAvailable on BetamaxAvailable on V2000

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Distributor EMI
Catalogue Number EVH 20230
Release Series
Release Date April 1981
Duration: 175m 02s
Printed Classification
Notes
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