Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 85 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: The Deer Hunter tracks a group of steelworker pals from a Pennsylvania blast furnace to the cool hunting grounds of the Alleghenies to the lethal cauldron of Vietnam. Robert De Niro gives an outstanding performance as Michael, the natural leader of the group. The Deer Hunter is a searing drama of friendship and courage - and what happens to these qualities under hardship. (Universal) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. 100
    What distinguishes The Deer Hunter most is its many rich characters and the size of its vision. This is a big film, dealing with big issues, made on a grand scale. Much of it, including some casting decisions, suggest inspiration by "The Godfather." [9 Mar 1979]
  2. A big, awkward, crazily ambitious, sometimes breathtaking motion picture that comes as close to being a popular epic as any movie about this country since "The Godfather."
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    90
    Among the considerable achievements of Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter is the fact that the film remains intense, powerful and fascinating for more than three hours.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    90
    Brutally memorable, The Deer Hunter is an emotionally draining production that draws a vivid portrait of its characters and their milieu--and succeeds in showing the devastating effect of the war on their lives, as well as their brave attempts at renewal. Unfortunately, the film falters when it comes to the larger questions of America's involvement in Vietnam.
  5. Overlong, but with moments of greatness.
  6. While the results are far from unprofessional--the cast is uniformly good, including a characteristically slapped-around Meryl Streep...The male self-pity is so overwhelming that you'll probably stagger out of this mumbling something about Tolstoy (as many critics did when the film first came out in 1978) if you aren't as nauseated as I was.
  7. 50
    A romantic adolescent boy’s view of friendship.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 23
  2. Negative: 4 out of 23
  1. Aug 24, 2010
    10
    A great movie. The movie has three parts, a wedding, the war and at last afuneral. In the first we discover the characters. In the second we fear for their lives and in the third we sympathize with them. It is a powerful movie. and also has strong performances. Expand
  2. Sep 27, 2012
    10
    This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and it's even better on bluray. With this movie you are witnessing this people, places, and circumstances; you are not watching a bunch of actors read a script. It is like they placed cameras aroung a small steel towm, and around vietnom and simply observed. I am there with these characters and I lose friends when they die or withdraw. Oh, and Robert D's character Micheal is the most powerful character ever put on film. This movie always competes for the #1 spot for me. Expand
  3. Feb 15, 2012
    10
    The Deer Hunter is a masterpiece. It is the most powerful film to ever be created, PERIOD.
    The acting of DeNiro and Walken, and Streep is
    flawless. I am so grateful this movie was made, and I have it to enjoy throughout my lifetime. Expand
  4. Aug 24, 2010
    8
    People in a small working class town, friend gets married, go to Vietnam, get capture, Russian roulette, escape, Two go back home, one doesn't.
    It takes a while to get going but builds the characters up & you get a feel of where these people are from & who they are.
    Brutal in parts (the capture scene is very intense) but also some excellent cinematography in the hunting parts.
    Really strong cast & I'd say one of De Niro's best films.
    Slightly long but a very good film indeed.
    Expand
  5. Apr 1, 2013
    8
    I agree with some of the criticisms about the pacing of the film, particularly the drawn out wedding scene. Perhaps it was done to subtly define details in some of the characters and the relationships with each other, which I would concede it does, but feel there might have been some less lengthy ways to accomplish this.

    I do not see The Deer Hunter as a "Vietnam War" film per se. So many either expect or want it to be just that, and therefore fault it for failing to "define" that war historically, politically or morally, and for not having a high level of historically factual accuracy. Those who want to see films about that would be better served by We Were Soldiers, Platoon, and Full Metal Jacket (these three have some flaws; take them in aggregation). I believe Deer Hunter is more a broader commentary about war in general and what it does to those directly or indirectly affected by it, either by having been in combat or in close relationships with those who were. The Vietnam War was the immediate societal and cultural experience of the time to use as a vehicle for it, and a number of aspects of the film are metaphorical. I do believe it captures with some insight, the (heavy) industrial, blue collar small towns in middle America that are much more heavily laced with provincialism and blindly unquestioning "zealous patriotism" compared to the more critical, cosmopolitan attitudes found in major metropolitan regions (patriotism without the zealotry).

    The most poignant of the metaphors are the deer hunting and the controversial Russian roulette. I don't believe the latter was ever intended to be historically accurate. It is an extremely powerful means to carry self-destructive aspects of PTSD and "survivor guilt" in particular with the seeming randomness of death in warfare, not knowing if one will survive from one moment to the next at times with each combat action being yet another round of Russian roulette. Instead of watching the film expecting it to portray "what" happened in Vietnam, view it from a perspective of how war indelibly changes those who were drawn into it, and their relationships with others as participants, family and close friends. As one of those who is part of the Vietnam War generation and served quite a few years in the army, I saw it when originally released. It was unsettling and took me a few days to realize this is what the film is about. Each viewing since then, including very recently, has confirmed it.
    Expand
  6. Sep 25, 2011
    8
    Terribly rated, also the metascore not accurate, this film deep and so aualitive about true friendship, the best story about Vietnam how the cinema reviewers dare to give it 50 points?! or 60 looks a lot of people don't even finish to watch, in my matter of taste very strong film with fantastic casting / acting and direction.

    My Rate: 8 and half out of 10
    Expand
  7. Jun 22, 2013
    1
    I am astounded at how a film can be so long yet only have about half an hour's worth of actual professionally directed content. The first hour is completely pointless and bares no relation to the next half an hour. The characters are poorly developed and have no real personality. The film starts with an hour-long (seemingly) unedited wedding video. Then some guy shoots a deer. Then it immediately jumps into a Vietnamese battlefield, with no explanation whatsoever or anything to make a link between the most boring hour in the history of movies and the next half an hour. Even the bit which actually has some action can pretty much be summarised by a one minute cutscene in the game Call of Duty: Black Ops. So the only bit that's actually exciting or eventful in this film features half an hour of Russian Roulette. That's it. So my advice: if you want to watch this film, just find a 20 minute clip of it and there's the entire film for you. There's no story behind it at all. Expand

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