The Deer Hunter (1978) Movie Review

The Deer Hunter is a 1978 movie. Winner of 5 Academy Awards

The Deer Hunter is a film starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep. It is directed by Michael Cimino.

I remember being impressed watching it as a kid. Now, less of a kid, I still love it.


Several friends celebrate a wedding before going off to the Vietnam War. When they return, nothing is the same.

The Deer Hunter (1978)
The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Movie. Review

One of the best war movies I’ve ever seen? Yes, it uses zoom (not a cardinal sin in another era) and there are no war scenes, and it’s not even about the war or its causes, it’s directly about ordinary gentlemen who go to war, come back, and don’t mention the president once. Then there’s the final chant with God Bless America and a feeling, like a narrative leitmotif that runs through the entire movie: we’ve been screwed.

It’s a movie that says just that, in an artful, accurate and even brutal way (we all know the famous Russian roulette scene), but it does it straightforward and without too many concessions. The message is crystal clear and free of political entailments. We’ve been screwed, end of discussion (the colonel in one scene puts it another way, exclusively with the word “shit”).

Wonderful performances, great beyond-extraordinary actors in one of the best films (perhaps) in the History of Cinema. If you haven’t watched it (it could be) give it a shot. It is cinema from another era, when watching a movie implied to expect “something else” from it and that something else, although well told might be bitter, terrible, and, even so, it stayed with you forever.

The Deer Hunter (1978)
The Deer Hunter (1978)

Our Opinion

A film you can’t escape from.

A marvel (and I know not everyone agrees).

A marvel and already a classic. One of the first to say something coherent: we’ve been screwed.

And boy, we have!

Movie Reviews

“Its view is limited and its narrative at times sketchy (…) Both deeply troubling and troublesome (…) but its feelings for time, place and blue-collar people are genuine” Vincent Canby: The New York Times

“This bravely innovative, kingsized movie (…) enables one to fully understand why this particular war not only destroyed the hopes and dreams of America’s young men, but why it left so many of them permanently shattered and alienated from society.” Kathleen Carroll: New York Daily News 

Movie Trailer

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Movie title: The Deer Hunter

Movie description: A group of working-class friends decide to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam War and finds it to be hellish chaos -- not the noble venture they imagined. Before they left, Steven married his pregnant girlfriend -- and Michael and Nick were in love with the same woman. But all three are different men upon their return.

Date published: January 20, 2022

Country: United States

Duration: 183 mins

Director(s): Michael Cimino

Writer(s): Deric Washburn

Cinematography: Vilmos Zsigmond

Music: Stanley Myers

Actor(s): Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, John Savage, John Cazale, George Dzundza, Chuck Aspegren, Amy Wright, Joe Grifasi

Genre: Drama

Companies: EMI Films, Universal Pictures

Our Opinion

A marvel and already a classic. One of the first to say something coherent: we’ve been screwed.


Martin Cid
Martin Cid
Writer, pipe smoker and founder of MCM
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