Universal Pictures | Release Date: December 8, 1978
7.4
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Generally favorable reviews based on 169 Ratings
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Positive:
130
Mixed:
15
Negative:
24
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10
jeannieFeb 15, 2012
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.
3 of 3 users found this helpful30
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7
BlakeJ.Mar 26, 2007
Ask me: "Blake, does this movie stand the test of time?" And I will be forced to honestly say, "No, in my opinion it does not." The Deer Hunter is a serious movie, filled with serious ideas, and serious actors. In his most endearing Ask me: "Blake, does this movie stand the test of time?" And I will be forced to honestly say, "No, in my opinion it does not." The Deer Hunter is a serious movie, filled with serious ideas, and serious actors. In his most endearing performance ever on scree, Christopher Walken molds Nicky into precisely the desensitized warriror Cimino must have wanted, or at least dream about. The entire supporting cast adds to the movie's sparkle and gleam of greatness. But, it is in it's lack of cohesion, and it's, ultimately, slow pacing. There is a scene that will make your heart explode, but you wont make it to that scene if you have a short attention span. Expand
2 of 2 users found this helpful
10
kk10Aug 24, 2010
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 hasA 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 of 2 users found this helpful20
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10
bugsbunny2109Jul 5, 2014
This site has grossly underrated The Deer Hunter. The performance by De Niro is the second best I've ever seen (after Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood). Of course, the supporting roles are fantastic too - just look at the names: Walken andThis site has grossly underrated The Deer Hunter. The performance by De Niro is the second best I've ever seen (after Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood). Of course, the supporting roles are fantastic too - just look at the names: Walken and Streep! I've seen people terrified by the portrayal of war and then teared-up by the impact the war had on the characters. Directing, acting, writing and even cinematography; it uses them all to perfection. It is my 8th favourite movie and will never lose it's incredible impact!
If you plan on watching it, please watch past the first hour (many people think it's boring) and I guarantee your enjoyment for the remainder of the movie!
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2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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10
D-SliceJan 23, 2011
This movie is potentially the most powerful film I have seen in my life. Amazing performances from Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken that surely raised them to stardom. The Russian roulette scene absolutely tore me apart. That scene isThis movie is potentially the most powerful film I have seen in my life. Amazing performances from Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken that surely raised them to stardom. The Russian roulette scene absolutely tore me apart. That scene is potentially the most emotionally powerful scene of cinema I have ever seen. The amazing thing about this movie is that, while not only touching on issues of war and post-war syndrome, this movie shows us classical themes of friendship and brotherhood. I pretty much felt like I had just been punched in the face by a wave of awesomeness when it finished. This is, by far, one of the best movies ever made. Period. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
OpFreeManJul 7, 2014
Easily the best movie ever made and completely underrated on this site.
As can be seen in the reviews, the controversialists have attacked yet again.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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6
TheWaffleSep 29, 2017
A long slog in need of a good editor. There's a great movie in here about friendship, war, and the wounds that soldiers carry long after the battle is over. But The Deer Hunter spends a huge stretch on an overlong wedding scene at theA long slog in need of a good editor. There's a great movie in here about friendship, war, and the wounds that soldiers carry long after the battle is over. But The Deer Hunter spends a huge stretch on an overlong wedding scene at the beginning and then gives short shrift to critical dramatic moments. The war elements feel like vague flashbacks, we never see the characters' transformation through the war, just a kind of before and after. Hard video cuts also rob several dramatic moments of their tension. I feel that a good editor could make this film much better. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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3
LolcanoMay 4, 2011
My expectations were high. I had heard so much about this film - THE defining Vietnam film. Gritty, unnerving, fearless and provocative, and with a wide scope that broached all the mores of the times...

What a load of guff. I'm serious.
My expectations were high. I had heard so much about this film - THE defining Vietnam film. Gritty, unnerving, fearless and provocative, and with a wide scope that broached all the mores of the times...

What a load of guff. I'm serious. Perhaps when the film was released in 1978 it was such a great achievement to even attempt a film about Vietnam that it got a by on artistic merit. Here's the lowdown (no spoliers): *An incredibly long wedding scene that has no particular bearing on the plot (including the memorable line "f**k it" which nicely defines the movie). *Lot's of irrelevant hunting scenes (is killing a stag like... killing a man? Am /I/ the stag?). *A combat scene in Vietnam that lasts 20 seconds (when we had to sit through the wedding scene for a half hour). *A lot of repetition of the Vietnamese word 'Mao' (and slapping) *An unrealistic firefight. *Survivor guilt *Lots more survivor guilt *A bit of amnesia and one of the characters who couldn't get enough of the Vietnamese word 'Mao' in the first place. It might seem unfair to sum up a movie like this - but the fact that the movie believes its irrelevance is portentous makes it merely pretentious. Besides some very good acting from De Nero and co. the film in reality has very little to say apart from the overarching theme of "f**k it". It does not look at America in any real way, and certainly makes a determined effort to not look at all at Vietnam. It comes in at the very tail end of the Vietnam conflict, makes some overarching gesture saying: well war makes you go mad, and then stands back at a distance marveling at the tragedy of it all. If you are going to have irrational characters, at least give their irrationality due cause. If you are going to make a film, hire an editor at some stage. If you are going to write a story about war, attempt to the utmost of your ability to feature that war. If you are going to make a film about deer-hunting, make a film about hunting deer. Do not give it an hour of screen time just to facilitate some tenuous symbolic meaning.
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5 of 7 users found this helpful52
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10
ScottBDec 4, 2010
My favorite movie of all time. This movie will take grasp of you and show you what a real friend is for. however it is long and somewhat slow, their is a story behind it that is dark and makes you feel like the characters are "true". iMy favorite movie of all time. This movie will take grasp of you and show you what a real friend is for. however it is long and somewhat slow, their is a story behind it that is dark and makes you feel like the characters are "true". i challenge to any contender. A true film!! Expand
2 of 4 users found this helpful22
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8
JJLawOct 22, 2005
Gritty, Vietnam-era movie about the relationship between close friends and how time and war affect their relationships. Excellent cast including Christopher Walken's best performance and Robert DeNiro.
1 of 2 users found this helpful
8
khalid01703Jul 23, 2013
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1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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4
DaveC.Sep 24, 2005
Plodding, laborious and pretentious. It supposedly gave Heaven's Gate a high standard to live up to and while I would never rate the Deer Hunter as low as that five hours of agony, I fail to see what this film did to convince producers Plodding, laborious and pretentious. It supposedly gave Heaven's Gate a high standard to live up to and while I would never rate the Deer Hunter as low as that five hours of agony, I fail to see what this film did to convince producers that Cimino could be trusted with $40 million. It does however deserve four points for a typically superb performance from De Niro. Expand
2 of 5 users found this helpful
1
sinadoomJun 22, 2013
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 poorlyI 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
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
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10
DaveJun 29, 2006
The best, period. But, only if you are capable of appreciatiing and understanding such quality.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
8
DoubleFeatureSep 25, 2011
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,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
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0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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2
MrKnowitAllFeb 17, 2012
Because the Russian roulette image is even on the poster, verisimilitude has to be a major consideration -- even more important than the film's basic entertainment value. Near as I can tell from shallow research, there is no credible recordBecause the Russian roulette image is even on the poster, verisimilitude has to be a major consideration -- even more important than the film's basic entertainment value. Near as I can tell from shallow research, there is no credible record of the Vietnamese cruelly forcing American POWs to play Russian roulette for fun and profit. That kind of made-up accusation in a movie made for popular release is just propaganda plain and tall. And it was used as propaganda by others to beat the war drum for Vietnam, though Cimino swears he never had a clue as this outcome. You might enjoy a movie that has big scenes showing French resistant fighters killing Nazis with a guillotine, or one featuring Napoleon's soldiers squeezing Austrians through a laundry wringer, but when the big scene is just made up, perhaps out of ignorance, the film can't be considered good.

It's pointless to claim that the Russian roulette bits were not intended as criticism of the Vietnamese soldiers or that the portrayal of NVAs as grinning fiends was unintentional: That's what is on the film that millions of people saw. And, sadly, millions of American believed it -- still do.

Look, Leni Riefenstahl was at first praised in Hollywood for her Nazi propaganda films. And there may be some cinematic merit in them. But you'd have to at least share some of her sympathies to arrive at the opinion that her 'Victory of Faith' was worth four stars.
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10
JonathanOct 2, 2005
My favourite movie of all time. GREAT!!!!!
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
D.T.Sep 20, 2005
This is to Vietnam what "Best Years of Our Lives" was for World War II. An excellent telling of war affecting a small town. Lives are changed for those who go as well for those who stay behind. Acting is at the peak of it's period - This is to Vietnam what "Best Years of Our Lives" was for World War II. An excellent telling of war affecting a small town. Lives are changed for those who go as well for those who stay behind. Acting is at the peak of it's period - along with Dog Day Afternoon, the best of the 70's. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
UCLASep 16, 2005
Great movie. Not Deniro's best but still one of his great movies.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
ERG1008Aug 24, 2010
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
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.
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10
VidsRuleSep 27, 2012
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 camerasThis 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
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9
SpangleNov 29, 2014
The Deer Hunter truly lives up to the hype and more for me. Absolutely brilliant film. Entirely sombering and one of the most emotionally distressing films I have ever seen. I honestly feel as though I may have PTSD after watching this one,The Deer Hunter truly lives up to the hype and more for me. Absolutely brilliant film. Entirely sombering and one of the most emotionally distressing films I have ever seen. I honestly feel as though I may have PTSD after watching this one, it was just that emotionally powerful and resonant. Many claim that this one is a little slow and overlong, but I never saw that honestly. One of the main points of criticism is the wedding sequence, but if you cannot tell that the joy and happiness in that sequence is meant to directly juxtapose the sadness and emotional turmoil of the rest of the film, I am honestly sad for you, because that is one of the most brilliant pieces of this one. An entirely beautiful sequence, I could honestly watch the wedding for the entire three hours, because at least I would not leave this one feeling emotionally defeated. The Russian Roulette elements, and the characters' transformations from the first one to the final one, are immaculately filmed and just so impactful throughout. The direction from Michael Cimino is truly remarkable, as is the acting from the two true stars here; Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep. Walken steals the show throughout, but Streep's emotionally vulnerable performance (especially considering what was happening in her personal life with John Cazale at the time) is heartbreakingly beautiful and stands tall as one of the best performances in a film littered with them. Finally, the final half hour is pitch perfect filmmaking and, while entirely distressing, just so mesmerizingly perfect you cannot look away. However, in spite of all this, it is a touch long and in terms of war films, I do think Downfall and Saving Private Ryan are superior, though I would rank this one over other Vietnam films such as Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. As a whole, The Deer Hunter is not for everyone, but I can entirely see why it is a classic and, to me, it deserves to be 100%. Expand
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8
jalindApr 1, 2013
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 itI 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.
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9
peterbJun 21, 2013
Ironic, well thought out portrayal of how the working class become cannon fodder in times of conflict. A refreshing change from the usual Hollywood propaganda, this film makes a good point about the inanity of war in as much that the mainIronic, well thought out portrayal of how the working class become cannon fodder in times of conflict. A refreshing change from the usual Hollywood propaganda, this film makes a good point about the inanity of war in as much that the main characters are Russian descendants that end up fighting for American interests in Vietnam during the Cold War. The tone is sarcastic, and mood is sombre with a theme tune by Stanley Myers that does it justice. Good acting from Meryl Streep along with the main cast. It is a pity that the film does not propose any solutions but it stands well as a criticism of war, American patriotism and empire-building at the expense of the others. Expand
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3
MovieGuysFeb 21, 2014
The Deer Hunter doesn't have such a bad premise, or acting, for that matter; in fact, it pretty much succeeds in those categories. But the movie drags on and is way too long. A good 45 minutes could've been cut from the film, easily. Also,The Deer Hunter doesn't have such a bad premise, or acting, for that matter; in fact, it pretty much succeeds in those categories. But the movie drags on and is way too long. A good 45 minutes could've been cut from the film, easily. Also, the movie is unrealistic, banal, and horribly scripted. Expand
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10
talisencrwJul 18, 2016
With director Cimino's recent death and his reputation in tatters since the debacle of 'Heaven's Gate', I decided to visit 'The Deer Hunter'. Though over three hours long, it's astonishing, paced so achingly right and I can see why heWith director Cimino's recent death and his reputation in tatters since the debacle of 'Heaven's Gate', I decided to visit 'The Deer Hunter'. Though over three hours long, it's astonishing, paced so achingly right and I can see why he rightfully earned the 'carte blanche' that would unfortunately lead to his downfall (as well as an entire studio's) as soon as he made his next film. But to reach such heights and to have such ambition--as well as undeniable talent--is a victory in and of itself. Just armed with the main five actors alone, at the zenith of their craft, a fine script (really the first interesting and well-deliberated Vietnam film to hit the big screen) and Vilmos Zsigmond behind the camera meant that this would prove something special. Scenes that will haunt you forever. My favourite shot is the incredible 360-degree pan shot around Linda's bedroom when she realizes she's given up on Nick and is going to declare her love to Michael--extraordinary stuff. What's YOURS?

Many film lovers who despise Cimino's work instantly clam up when 'The Deer Hunter' is mentioned...and there's a reason for that. It's deservedly considered one of the finest American films of the 70's--a decade that was chock-full of great ones.
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10
MoneyMaker101Jan 31, 2015
One of the greatest movies I have ever seen.The plot is interesting and characters are really emotional and this movie shows all problems of war and how war meaningless is.
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9
TributeManJan 4, 2016
What do you think you are, God?

Łowca jeleni... co za film... co za genialny film. Jest baaardzo dużo filmów wojennych, które pokazują nic poza wybuchami i darciem mordy żołnierzy. W przypdaku Łowcy jeleni jest na odwrót. Nie ma wielu scen
What do you think you are, God?

Łowca jeleni... co za film... co za genialny film. Jest baaardzo dużo filmów wojennych, które pokazują nic poza wybuchami i darciem mordy żołnierzy. W przypdaku Łowcy jeleni jest na odwrót. Nie ma wielu scen akcji, a historia powoli się rozwija. Mamy dużo czasu na poznanie bohaterów i wzajemnych relacji. Robert De Niro jest genialny w tym filmie. To prawdopodobnie jedna z jego najlepszych ról. Polecam każdemu kto lubi długie filmy, które są nastawione tylko na głęboką i wzruszającą historię, a nie wyłącznie odmóżdżającą sieke.
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4
WillMarshallJul 8, 2017
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. "The Deer Hunter" is full of powerhouse performances, foremost among them Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro's war vets, and its Vietnam scenes are extremely intense and harrowing. BUT, the film is pushing three hours, and its plot doesn't support its runtime. It isn't some Apocalypse Now-style war epic - it's a very personal and psychological drama. Because of this, we're not jumping from set-piece to set-piece, but rather watching a collection of well-acted and simultaneously profoundly uninteresting characters meander about doing nothing-in-particular for several hours. The set-pieces it does have - the very long wedding sequence at the beginning, and the Vietnam segment that makes up the middle of the film as examples - are hit-and-miss. The wedding scene runs far too long, while the Vietnam segment is the highlight of the film, but nevertheless it is book-ended either side with the tedious "drama" of boring people being very quiet around one another.

The film does manage to be quite compelling up until Robert De Niro's protagonist returns home, perhaps two thirds of the way through the movie. The climactic game of Russian Roulette between Walken's and De Niro's characters is similarly very compelling. The problem is that what bridges this gap is an hour of pure monotony, with Meryl Streep's character doing so little in the film that her inclusion feels meaningless. That's the worst part of the film - you feel as though you've watched a really top-notch war drama and are about prepared to go, but then you realize, oh wait, there's still another hour to go. And that's the crime of this film. It's not in the performances, or in the direction really, or even in the story - the performances are deserving of the highest praise, the film is well, if coldly, directed, and the plot is sound, with parts of it very compelling. The problem is that this story does not support a three-hour epic, and so its runtime is enormously bloated, leaving the film a deeply personal psychological war drama masquerading as a very boring epic.
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9
ahmedaiman9999Jun 14, 2018
Its running length may annoy some, and it's criticized for being self-indulgent, and for having a problematic message. And while I can see that it could have been more shorter, I think that it has this great emotional impact because CiminoIts running length may annoy some, and it's criticized for being self-indulgent, and for having a problematic message. And while I can see that it could have been more shorter, I think that it has this great emotional impact because Cimino took his time in a very long first act that made us dive into the characters, and most importantly, their relationship. This first act with all its very very long scenes that feel as they were unedited is what made us care deeply about his characters when they were thrown inside a terrifically tense, gut-wrenching second act. That's how Cimino made us thoroughly disturbed, and have mixed, and vague feelings that result in creating a great catharsis at the third act. Every actor gave a very realistic performance, needless to say that both De Niro and Meryl Streep shine, but Christopher Walken's Oscar-winning performance is the standout here. All the characters are fully-developed, and fleshed out, but they are incredibly realistic and three-dimensional that can be analyzed as they are Shakespearean or Tolstoyan characters.

I can't believe or describe how emotionally sweeping and overwhelming this epic is.

(9/10)
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