The Deer Hunter is a 1978 film directed by Michael Cimino and starring Robert De NiroChristopher Walken and John Savage.

The scenario of the film is based on the scenario of the never produced film The Man Who Came To Play by Louis Garfinkle and Quinn k. Redeker about Las Vegas and illegally played Russian roulette. The scenario was rewritten by Michael Cimino and Washburn and Bryant of Las Vegas moved to Viet Nam during the Viet Nam war.

The Deer Hunter was a gigantic success in cinemas and spent nearly 49 million dollars. the film won five Oscars. The film also has 16 other awards and received 19 nominations. In 1996, the film because of the historical, cultural and aesthetic importance for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of CongressAmerican.


[hide]*1 Story


Read warning: text below contains details about the content and/or the end of the story.

Pennsylvania, 1968. Six friends, Michael, Steven, Nick, Stanley, John and Axel go on deer hunting. The six are from the town of Clairton, near Pittsburgh and worked in a steel mill. Most of the inhabitants of Clairton are of Russian origin and true to the Russian Orthodox Church. The hunting party is also a kind of stag party, a support for the upcoming Steven groom. After the deer hunt marries Steven with his Angela, who is pregnant by another man. Michael let during the wedding party that he feels more for Linda, the girlfriend of Nick. Although the men have fun at the party and get drunk, there's also a dark side to the festivities, any time they can be called up for military service. Since the us now is involved in the Viet Nam war means that almost automatically broadcast to this conflict area. In the bar where the reception is held a ' green beret ' sees Michael, an American soldier of Special Forces that already from the beginning involved in Viet Nam. Michael tries to chat and learn more from Viet Nam, but the soldier does not respond. When he hears that Viet Nam should also to Michael, laughs the man alone. The next day the six once more on deer hunting.

Months later, Michael fights as sergeant at the Green Berets in Viet Nam. He is stationed in a village that is under attack by North Vietnamese soldiers. A helicopter of the US Army dropt American infantrymen as relief unit. Among them are Nick and Steven. However, Michael is wrong and it runs with his two friends imprisoned. The sadistic guards of the POW camp have devised a game to while away the time. It's Russian roulette, played by the prisoners, the guards bet on whether or not the player or by the head shoot. As a aims too high and only Steven s shot incurs is imprisoned in a cage in the water, full of rats and corpses. If Michael and Nick have to play the first, know that there is only one solution is, taking risks. He claims that there is played with a revolver loaded with three bullets instead of one. After a nerve-wracking game of Russian roulette by Nick, he gets the revolver in hands and shoot the guards. Free them Steven and flights the River on. not long after trying an American helicopter to save them. Nick climbs on board, but Steven falls and breaks his legs. He is saved by Michael who swims with him to the side. They know eventually escape with the help of South Vietnamese soldiers. Meanwhile, Nick in Saigon arrived, he is psychologically traumatized and suffers from memory loss. He let himself into a gokhol in the whores to play Russian roulette for money nearby. But Nick, the weapon on an opponent and then himself and caused a riot. the occasional Michael present wants him help, but touches of Nick separated as they flee.

Michael returns to the us but he dodges his friends and takes a hotel room rather than to go home. There he tries to get his feelings back into line. He is convinced that Nick and Steven are dead. Eventually he visits Linda and mourns with her to Nick. Later he also to Angela and hear from her that Steven will stay in a home for veterans. If he later goes hunting, he can muster at the last moment not to kill the animal. Enough is enough. Back from the hunt he goes to Steven. His friend has lost his both legs and is partially paralyzed. By Steven he hears that someone has made about large amounts of money from Saigon. Michael realizes that Nick comes. He travels to Saigon and goes looking in the whores around. There he finds Nick in a gokhol, but his friend does not recognize it. Michael then sees the scars of hypodermic needles in the arms of Nick and realizes that his friend has become a junk. He sits at the table and participates in Russian roulette. Meanwhile, he tries to get in touch with Nick, but as a spirit going all the way. However, something breaks suddenly by Nick, he smiles at Michael to accompany him and as the last urges, he refers to Michaels talent for the deer hunting: one shot...! Michael is pleased but it is too late: Nick expresses the weapon against his sleep, extracts the trigger and shoots himself in the head. Later, Nick in the US buried and take his friends goodbye with the singing of God Bless America.

Division Of Roles[Edit]Edit

For History[Edit]Edit

Barry Spikings gets In 1968 along with Michael Deeley in charge of the newly founded cinematographic branch of EMI, EMI Films. It is Deeley who later encounters a scenario by Louis Garfinkle and Quinn k. Redekerunder the title The Man Who Came To Play. Garfinkle and Redeker describe an illegal gokpraktijk in Las Vegas, where gambling can be the results of a game of Russian roulette. It is the first version but Deeley is impressed and buy the scenario for 19,000 dollars. Converting the scenario in a film, however, was less easy. According to Deeley there still failed on the screenplay, such as credible characters. He went looking for a good screenwriter and came via various agents from William Morris Agency in the. One of their agents, Stan Kamen, Michael Cimino, represented a young screenwriter and Director. Cimino had some commercials directed and collaborated on the film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. As a scriptwriter, he was partly responsible for the screenplay of the science fiction film Silent Running. Deeley to read the scenario early Cimino. Not long after got Deeley told that Cimino also felt that the main characters had to be worked out better. Cimino was hired and he invested by Deely Garfinkle and Redeker a consultation with equal. There it turned out that Cimino actually also wanted the idea of Russian roulette, which almost on his bare knees begged Redeker to maintain this element.


The controversy[Edit]Edit

After Cimino had adopted the job to the scenario to work, there was a controversy over the intellectual property of the scenario. Except Cimino also worked on the screenplay Bryant Washburn , but the latter was fired after some time. It is never quite resolved who is actually what has written. Cimino hired Bryant Washburn in and together they worked six weeks to scenario. Washburn was the screenwriter of Stephen Bochcotogether Cimino was the scenario of Silent Running. Producer Deeley officially knew nothing of the cooperation between Washburn and Cimino. It was not clear whether the two men worked together on an equal basis or that Washburn was taken by Cimino in service. He had hired the scenario according to Cimino Washburn to work out on the basis of the notes, dialogues and story lines that Cimino dictated over the phone while he visited potential film locations. After he had got the first version of the scenario Cimino feel that the scenario came from an insane. He confronted Washburn this, on which these according to the voltage indicated that he no longer could handle Cimino and home wanted. He was fired by Cimino. Cimino would have rewritten the scenario all alone then. When Washburn was confronted with this said that Cimino lied to own the copyright on the scenario to obtain. He also gave another version of the story. According to Washburn he had together with Cimino worked three days in a hotel on the plot. Then there were different versions of the screenplay written. Washburn said did no research and got a month to write the screenplay. He got his inspiration from the tv news to see where the real Viet Nam war still was. He worked 20 hours a day in their own words to the scenario. After Washburn was finished with the scenario he was at a dinner party by the producer of Cimino, Joanne Carellli, fired. There was no reason for it. Said he was too tired to protest.

The changes[Edit]Edit

The new scenario, whoever it might have written, became to Deeley presented. As Deeley had asked, in particular, further developed the characters had Cimino. In the first twenty minutes of the movie are the characters of the main characters, Michael, Steven and Nick explained. In the scenario of Redeker and Garfinkle was also only one main character, Merle, a man who by the Viet Nam war is psychologically damaged.Nevertheless, it is a hard and courageous man. Cimino and Washburn broke down Merle apart into three characters, Michael, Nick and Steven who all share something by Merle on board. Michael stays with Cimino/Washburn the courageous hero, but in the original scenario was the Nick who returned to the us, while Michael remained in Viet Nam and by the head shot. Cimino and Washburn made it to Las Vegas from the scenario and shifted the action largely to Viet Nam. This gave the necessary problems, since the mid-1970s, when the movie studios was no interest for movies about the Viet Nam war. The us still faced with the hangover of a lost war, in which the country in the eyes of the rest of the world had been the villain. The Deer Hunter would be one of the first films are those with a critical eye to the Viet Nam war looked. In 1978 the year the movie came out, there were still three films on the Viet Nam war, Coming Home of Hall AshbeyThe Boys in Company C by Sidney Furie, and Go Tell the Spartans by Ted Post. The tide was turning. The US began his trauma on the Viet Nam war and the film industry played there on in.


Producer Michael Cimino also hired chernus Deeley. He had a similar problem. EMI Film could never muster the millions that were needed to make the movie. He had a large studio to finance the production. Universal Pictures showed interest but had trouble with the unknown Cimino and the gruesome scenario. Deeley understood that he only made with a big star in the team. That star turned out to be Robert De Niro. De Niro was around 1977 one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including the Taxi Driver and The Godfather Part II on his palmares. Deeley could his luck when De Niro also started to interfere with the selection. He drew attention to Meryl Streep. Stripe was not yet well known, but did have the attention with her role in the television series Holocaust. Was her then boyfriend John Cazale also by Deeley chosen. He selected Chuck Aspegren also a real steel worker from Gary, Indiana for the role of Axel. De Niro and Cimino visited a number of steel plants for inspiration and encountered Aspegren that if foreman worked in a factory in Indiana.De Niro was deeply impressed with the man and persuaded him to contract Deeley. It would remain the sole role of Aspegren. The role of Nick gave some problems, Roy Scheider was initially chosen, but two weeks before the shooting started, was fired because of "creative differences" Scheider. At least that was the official communication. Scheider was repatriated to the Universal set of Jaws where he would play the role of Chief Brody.



Director Michael Cimino began with Robert De Niro with the search of suitable sites for the scenes that take place in the steel shop. To prevent them were pursued by fans and journalists suggested Cimino De Niro for "Harry Ufland" as his assistant. No one recognized him. De Niro was used to prepare thoroughly for his role. In preparation for his role in Taxi Driver , he had worked as a taxi driver in New York a few weeks. He went for The Deer Hunter with workers from steel mills and visited their pubs. Some workers, he went home and spent the evening with them and their family by. For Cimino was such a preparation is crucial. The six actors who play the workers from the steel plant, had to develop a bond of friendship. They got all six of a picture they were depicted as children. Create a photo ID for them also showed Cimino on behalf of their character, supplemented by a driver's license and a map with medical data. Producer Michael Deeley that it itself had too busy with the production of the film Convoy wanted Robert Relyea he knew of the movie Bullitappointing as a supervising producer. But Relyea said he was unable to perform this task. He refused to tell the reason, but Deeley had no confidence in Michael Cimino suspected Relyea. By the refusal of Relyea filmed Cimino without supervision of a supervising producer. John Levee was finally appointed as a supervising producer of the recordings.


The Deer Hunter was the first film about the Viet Nam war that on location was recorded in Thailand. All in Viet Nam playing scenes were recorded there. There was still doubt as to the recordings in California to record on the outside areas of the studio but in the end it was decided to set above cost realism. It was filmed on the banks of the River Kwai, especially the scenes in the POW camp and the cage at the river.Patpong in Bangkok was a model for the whores near Saigon. Also was filmed in Sai Yok in Kanchanaburi province. For the scenes that play in Clairton was filmed in eight different cities in four States, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington and Ohio. The wedding scene was filmed in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, Lemko Hall, the reception in Cleveland, Ohio. In Cleveland were also the scenes in the steel shop included in U.s. Steel Central Furnaces. Other scenes were filmed in the steel plant in Steubenville, Ohio and Weirton, West Virginia. The deer hunt was filmed in North Cascades National Park, Washington.


Michael Cimino began on 20 June 1977 with the recordings. The original budget was 8.5 million, but in the next several months would amount to 15 million. Because actor John Cazale was seriously ill, Cimino began with his scenes. Cazale had cancer at the final stage and knew he would not live much longer. When the studio heard this, wanted to dismiss one Cazale. This threatened his then-girlfriend Meryl Streep, and Cimino to leave the production. The studio then began to bond, but whining about the insurance, the insurance costs were extremely high because of Cazale's cancer. Robert De Niro on the insurance of Cazale solved this out of his own pocket to pay for it. The shots with Cazale were then completed without problems. The actor, however, the film would never see, he died before the premiere date.

In Limko Hall in Cleveland filmed Cimino the wedding of Angela and Steven in the summer of 1977. Since the scene in the film were played by a number of trees in the autumn the leaves removed. To emphasize the realism drank the Extras real spirits and beer. Commissioned by the producer himself had the same Extras wedding gifts taken. To the surprise of the film crew after the recordings showed that many parcels contain real gifts such as tableware and silver napkin rings. Producer Deeley came here only when the content of the gifts already on ' mysterious ' manner was gone. Cimino spent a great deal of attention to the wedding-and bruiloftscènes that were either from 21 to 51 minutes into the movie. Deeley began to suspect that Cimino stretching wanted these scenes to an hour and saw that the Director already had gone over budget of 8.5 million. He exhorted Cimino to stop and to concentrate on the rest of the movie.

In Mingo Junction, Ohio, built the film crew a café in an empty storefront. The costs amounted to $ 25,000 and later the bar really be opened and be a local pub by workers in the steel shop. In the factory, US Steel Central Steel Furnaces, if recordings are made. The six actors were filmed for the furnaces, after an additional insurance was cut off from five million dollars. Other recordings were made in steel mills in Pittsburgh.

The hunting scenes was filmed in North Cascades National Park, Washington. The deer that shoots Michael, was put to sleep with a tranquilizer. The make floor then brought the gruesome-looking wound on. Another deer that Michael let escape became a real star. it entered later on in a tv commercial by the Connecticut Life Insurance Company.

At the River Kwai In Thailand was filmed for the scenes in the POW camp. The actors Robert De Niro, John Savage and Christopher Walken sat in cages made of bamboo which were under water. The mosquitoes and the rats were real, just like the disgust on the faces of Savage or walking. For the scenes around the Russian roulette was a Thai Extras hired that the prisoners had to save. But the guy couldn't bring to the famous actor Robert De Niro store. The team then found a Thai Extras who hate had to Americans who had no trouble getting a lot out of it. Christopher Walken was not warned that the Thai would strike hard and really and that gave a very real and natural reaction to the actor. The shots with the helicopter requirements that De Niro and Savage had to do their own stunts, including a fall of ten meters from the helicopter. This scene had to fifteen times over and was in a period of two days. The crucial recording in which the character of Christopher Walken himself by his head shooting at the Russian roulette was completely improvised and at one time turned.


After six months of filming the costs were already up to $ 13 million. Then had to be mounted, and the movie still of sound and musical composition and performance. Peter Zinner who was going to do the Assembly gained nearly 183,000 meters film shots, showing a feature film had to be mounted. The first Assembly was 3.5 hours long and the producers Spikings and Deeley were enthusiastic about the result. This enthusiasm, however, was not shared by the studio. Managers Lew Wasserman and Sid Sheinberg were sincerely shocked, especially by the funeral scene where God Bless America was sung. They found it anti-American. Also it was found the film too long. President Thom Mount 's Universal called The Deer Hunter, "a nightmare, there seemed to be no end to the film to come". Deeley was with the studio that 3.5 hours was too long. Could a movie with a length of 2.5 hours at an average cinema be turned three times a day, but a film that lasts longer than 3 hours meant that there is certainly a third of the revenue would be lost. Zinner went back to the mount table and brought the film back to almost 5500 metres (2.5 hours). He was fired by Cimino who discovered that Zinner in the wedding scenes to cutting was. He himself brought the movie from 2.5 hours to 3 hours and three minutes. He would Later insist that the film had Cimino mounted despite the Oscar that Zinner got for best editing. Eventually the version of 183 minutes (just over three hours) are released by EMI.

History and fiction[Edit]Edit

There was much criticism of the film in relation to the scenes in which the captured Americans are forced to play Russian roulette. Reporter Peter Arnett who experienced the war in Viet Nam as a journalist of near and the Pulitzer Prize won for his articles about this war, was sure that North Vietnamese soldiers not applied these practices. According to him, there were also no scientific evidence thereof. He accused the makers of the film by a one-sided view of the Viet Nam war in which North Vietnamese were depicted as sadists, racists and murderers. Michael Cimino brought forward that his film was not political or designed to stigmatize populations. Though he defended the use of Russian roulette during the Viet Nam war by referring to newspaper clippings from Singapore in which these practices were described. However, he has never let see the clippings or said where the items are located. Actor Christopher Walken said later that the Viet Nam war only the background formed. If there is genuine by North Vietnamese soldiers was bet on Russian roulette of prisoners of war, is not important. Also Robert De Niro was this view. If it's all really happened is not important, it could have happened. Producer Deeley also shared this view. He found The Deer Hunter a film about the way individuals respond to stress and pressure, it was a parable about inhumanity, where the North Vietnamese prisoners of war played the bad guys and the good guys. Russian roulette than the allegory of fate and the inhumanity. On the other hand, had producer Spikings regret the way the Vietnamese soldiers be brought into the picture. He blamed himself, Deeley and Director Cimino an arrogant look on the population there.


Stanley Myers wrote the music for the film. In addition to the compositions of Myers are a number of other songs to hear.

  • In the scene In the bar during the wedding reception the song Can't Take My Eyes Off You (1967) by Frankie Valli to hear. The actors in the film singing the song along with the soundtrack.
  • During the marriage of Steve and Angela are to hear songs from the Russian Orthodox Church, as Slava and Russian folk songs as Korobushka and Katyusha. During the funeral of Nick is to hear the songVechnaya Pamyat .
  • The number Cavatina (also known as He Was Beautiful) of Myers was the theme from The Deer Hunter. It was originally written for the movie The Walking Stick (1970) and the producer of The Deer Hunter had to the producers of this film still pay a royalty fee.

Awards and nominations[Edit]Edit

Academy Awards 1979[Edit]Edit

  • Best supporting actor (Christopher Walken)
  • Best Director (Michael Cimino)
  • Best editing (Peter Zinner)
  • Best film
  • Best sound

There were nominations for:

  • Best actor (Robert De Niro)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep)
  • Best cinematography (Vilmos Zsigmond)
  • Best original screenplay

Golden Globe Awards[Edit]Edit

  • Best Director (Michael Cimino)

There were nominations for:

  • Best film
  • Best actor (Robert De Niro)
  • Best supporting actor (Christopher Walken)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep)
  • Best original screenplay

BAFTA Awards[Edit]Edit

  • Best cinematography (Vilmos Zsigmond)
  • Best montage


  • Gilbert Adair, Hollywood's Viet Nam, 1989
  • Albert Auster, Albert and Leonard Quart The seventies. American film and society since 1945, 2002
  • Michael Bliss, Martin Scorsese and Michael Cimino, 1985
  • Douglas Brode, The movies or Robert De Niro, 1999
  • Mark Patrick Carducci, John Andrew Gallagher, Michael Cimino. Film Directors on Directing, 1979
  • Garrett Chaffin-Quiray and Stephen Jay Schnider, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
  • Michael Deeley, Blade Runners, Deer Hunters, & Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: My Life in Cult Movies (2009)
  • David Gregory, Realizing ' The Deer Hunter ': An Interview with Michael Cimino, 2003
  • George Hickenlooper, Michael Cimino: A Final Word. Reel Conversations: Candid Interviews with film's Foremost Directors and Critics, 1991
  • Robert Mitchell, and Frank n. Magill, Frank n. The Deer Hunter. Magill's Survey of Cinema, 1980
  • John Parker, Robert De Niro: Portrait of a Legend, 2009.
  • Robert S.r., Christopher Walken A to Z: The Man-The Movies-The Legend, 2008
  • David Thomson, David Have You Seen...?: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films, 2008
  • Robin Wood, From Buddies to Lovers and Two Films by Michael Cimino. (Hollywood from Viet Nam to Reagan and Beyond) 1986.

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