The Deer Hunter, the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1978, is now available on 4K Ultra HD with a new collector’s edition from Shout! Factory.
In addition to taking home Best Picture, the film won another four Academy Awards, including Best Director (Michael Cimino), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Christopher Walken), Best Sound, and Best Film Editing. Meryl Streep would also take home her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The film would also be honored by the American Film Institiute in their initial list of the top 100 films of all time. During the ten year anniversary of the top films, the film would take honors once again.
Without the casting of De Niro, we can only wonder what would have happened with Meryl Streep’s career. Of course, De Niro signed on late in the process and only after Jaws star Roy Scheider due to creative differences. It’s like the dominoes falling. You have one of the biggest screen stars of the mid to late 1970s and he’s able to bring on Meryl Streep and then some.
Shooting the film on location in Thailand helps to bring about the authenticity. Replicating the war on a soundstage just wouldn’t be the same. It’s a credit to the filmmakers for making this decision. After all, this is a film that truly depicts the psychological trauma caused on American troops that fought in Vietnam. Not all films set during the era are able to capture the trauma but this one certainly does. Showcasing the trauma and conditions during the war led to a controversy upon release and during awards season. Say what you will about the war but this was the first Vietnam War-set film to reach a wide audience.
It’s certainly a bit long and could use some trimming. Some scenes could possibly be shortened. But all of that said, it’s an epic film–one that would be a harder sale today because of the shortened attention spans in the streaming era.
When it comes to The Deer Hunter, the Academy Award-winning film would influence a number of films set during the Vietnam War. War films in general would never be the same.
- Audio Commentary with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and journalist Bob Fisher (both discs)
- We Don’t Belong Here – an interview with actor John Savage (NEW)
- The War At Home – an interview with actress Rutanya Alda (NEW)
- A National Anthem – an interview with producer Michael Deeley (NEW)
- This is Not About War – interview with post-production supervisor Katy Haber and Universal Marketing executive Willette Klausner (NEW)
- Interview with film critic David Thomson
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Theatrical Trailer
- Radio Spots
- Still Gallery
DIRECTOR: Michael Cimino
SCREENWRITER: Deric Washburn
CAST: Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken