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The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter is a 1978 film which tells the story of how the Vietnam War affects the people in the industrial town of Clairton, Pennsylvania just south of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River (although it was actually filmed in Cleveland and Mingo Junction, Ohio). more...

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It stars Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep and George Dzundza.


De Niro, Savage and Walken portray American factory workers and avid deer hunters of Russian ancestry. The first third of the film covers the wedding of Steven (Savage) and Angela. The inference during the wedding is that Angela is pregnant by Nick (Walken) and will end in tragedy. Following a final deer hunting trip the trio leave for a combat tour in Vietnam. The three end up as prisoners but Michael (DeNiro) engineers an escape returning to a significantly-changed country as significantly-changed men...all but one, Nick (Walken), whose fate causes him to remain behind in Vietnam. Once Vietnam vet Michael Vronsky (DeNiro) figures out the truth behind his disappearance, he travels to Saigon (about to fall at any time). There, Michael learns that Nick has become champion at the fatal game of Russian Roulette. He is reunited with Nick, but his brainwashed fate causes both of them to become enemies and face themselves in the fatal contest. During the final match, Michael tries to persuade Nick to come home, but oblivious to his former colleague's words, Nick takes the gun and fires the fatal shot into his head, mortally wounding himself. Michael brings his body back to America, but Michael's fulfilled promise not to leave Nick in Vietnam is an empty one. The film ends on the morning of his funeral, as Michael's girlfriend Linda (Streep) proposes a toast to fallen friend Nick, but the damage caused by the horrors of Vietnam has already been done...the circle of friends forever broken.

Inspired by German First World War soldier and author Erich Maria Remarque's 1937 novel Drei Kameraden (Three Comrades) depicting the lives of a trio of disillusioned World War I veterans in 1920s Weimar Germany, this film attempts to explore the meaning of violence, predation and survival, the often ghastly misuses of patriotism as well as illustrating the concepts of ethnicity, family, friendship and community ties and how they complement as well as clash with one another.


The movie was written by Michael Cimino, Louis Garfinkle, Quinn K. Redeker and Deric Washburn, and directed by Cimino.


  • Joann Carelli - associate producer
  • Michael Cimino - producer
  • Michael Deeley - producer
  • John Peverall - producer
  • Marion Rosenberg - associate producer
  • Barry Spikings - producer

Cast and roles include

  • Robert De Niro - Michael Vronsky, "Mike"
  • John Cazale - Stanley 'Stosh'
  • John Savage - Steven
  • Christopher Walken - Nick Chevotarevich
  • Meryl Streep - Linda
  • George Dzundza - John
  • Chuck Aspegren - Axel
  • Shirley Stoler - Steven's mother
  • Rutanya Alda - Angela
  • Pierre Segui - Julien
  • Mady Kaplan - Axel's girl
  • Amy Wright - Bridesmaid


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