I submit that, if we are going to be moved to thought and action by The Deer Hunter, it ought to be by the implications of its true subject: the limitations for our society of the traditions of male mystique, the hobbling by sentimentality of a community that, after all the horror, still wants the beeriness of “God Bless America” instead of a moral rigor and growth that might help this country.
The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter has created such controversy as a political entity that I think it would be valuable to consider it, briefly, purely as an aesthetic object. Certainly art affects us in many ways, but many of these effects are brought to the film by ourselves.
The Deer Hunter is a brilliant epic about the simple things of life. To its director Michael Cimino they are ‘friendship, courage, dignity, grace’ and through them the movie’s Vietnam veterans turn into Homeric heroes. Chris Auty pays his respects, but wonders if this catalogue of rituals hasn’t tried to make time stand still.
Something ominous has been going on since The Deer Hunter first made its appearance, and especially since it won an Academy Award: Certain activist groups, in an unfortunate misunderstanding of the film, have protested it as a kind of racist document that, as a New York Post article summarized it, “ . . . contrasts the innocence of American GIs . . . with the savage Vietnamese enemy they meet on the battlefield.”
It is hard to think of a recent American film which has been as classically and persistently misread as The Deer Hunter.
This excruciatingly violent, three-hour Viet Nam saga demolishes the moral and ideological cliches of an era: it shoves the audience into hell and leaves it stranded without a map.
The Deer Hunter has done what The Green Berets could not do more than a decade ago: it has moved audiences to actively root for the American military fighting the Vietnam war.
“Look, the film is not realistic — it’s surrealistic. Even the landscape is surreal. For example, the little steel town we called Clairton is composed of eight different towns in four states. You can’t find that town anywhere — it doesn’t exist. And time is compressed.
For all its pretensions to something newer and better, this film is only an extension of the old Hollywood war-movie lie. The enemy is still bestial and stupid, and no match for our purity and heroism; only we no longer wipe up the floor with him—rather, we litter it with his guts.
Morando Morandini recensisce “Il cacciatore” di Michael Cimino
Vincent Canby reviews Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter” for The New York Times, December 15, 1978
This interview with Michael Cimino by Mark Patrick Carducci took place on the set of The Deer Hunter in Mingo, Pennsylvania, in July 1977
Traduzione italiana dell’intervista rilasciata da Michael Cimino alla rivista francese “Positif” nel 1979
Peter Biskind reviews Michael Cimino’s movie the Deer Hunter
Recensione del film di Michael Cimino “Il Cacciatore”, a cura di Ernesto G. Laura, pubblicata dalla rivista “Bianco e Nero” nel 1979
Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978) review by Gordon Gow for Films and Filming magazine, March 1979
Recensione del film di Michael Cimino “Il Cacciatore”, pubblicata sul quotidiano l’Unita’ il 28/02/1979
Review of Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, written by Pauline Kael and published in The New Yorker, December 18, 1978