Metascore
73

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

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 91 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: 20 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. 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
  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. Jul 7, 2014
    10
    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.
  4. 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
  5. Jul 23, 2013
    8
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  6. May 4, 2011
    3
    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.
    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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