AFI Top 100: No. 53 The Deer Hunter

There is something special about growing up in the same town and having the same friends from childhood into adulthood. They are the ones you love, the ones you know will always have your back. The Deer Hunter was separated in three acts, the first taking place in the main characters’ hometown outside of Pittsburgh. A community of Russian-Americans, the group was shown in great length to being your standard posse of young adults. They got way too drunk at (and before) weddings, there was jealousy among relationships, there was frustration and friction within certain friends. The wedding scene was long, but fun and propelled you to identify with the characters. For the most part, their life was pretty good.

With this said, at some point we all get hungry and desire an adventure outside of our comfort zone. Unfortunately for Michael, Nick and Steven, their desire to leave their hometown for awhile took them to the heart of the Vietnam War. While the wedding in the first act was the symbol of the comfort of the community they lived in, the brutal situation of Russian Roulette was the metaphor for the uncertainty of their lives. Critics were angry at the fact that the Russian Roulette torture scene, one Tim said was the most intense out of all the movies we have seen on this list, was not factual. While I do consider myself a bit of a history nerd, I also love literature and Russian Roulette portrays a true analogy that much of your survival in war is based on chance.

The final act is a coming home again, realizing what you have lost, and realizing what you still have. The final scene between Christopher Walken (who, deservedly so, won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Nick) and Robert De Niro is heartbreaking, and the final scene shows how a group moves forward…

This was an extraordinary movie. Long, yes, but it drew you in, you connected with the characters and you felt several of the same feelings they felt.

Next up: another film featuring the great Robert De Niro: Taxi Driver


One comment

  1. […] movies on this list. No war has been as controversial and there were so many new horrors of war. The Deer Hunter, Platoon, and even Taxi Driver and Forrest Gump have already highlighted how the Vietnam War […]

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