July 5, 2022
The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American war film directed by Michael Cimino, which revolves around Ruthenian-American steel workers and their military service during the Vietnam War. Starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Savage, John Casale, Meryl Streep and George Zundza. The film takes place in Clairton, a small industrial town located on the Monongahila River, south of Pittsburgh, and then in Vietnam and towards the end in Saigon during the Vietnam War. The film is based in part on a never-produced screenplay called The Man Who Came to Play, by Louis Garfinkle and Quinn K. Redeker, about Russian roulette. The film's producer Michael Dilley, who found the script, hired writer/director Michael Cimino, who along with Derrick Washburn reworked the text using the Russian Roulette element and setting it in the Vietnam War. The shooting of the film was not without problems, since the allowed budget and shooting schedule were exceeded; the film ended up costing $15 million. At the time of the film's theatrical release, the Russian roulette scenes were considered highly controversial. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won five: Best Picture, Best Director (Cimino), Best Supporting Actor (Walken), Best Sound Mixing and Best Editing. The film marked Meryl Streep's first Academy Award nomination (for Best Supporting Actress). The American Film Institute ranked the film as the 53rd greatest film of all time. In 1996, the Library of Congress selected the film for the National Film Registry, as "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant."