Tribute: Christopher Walken

The Deer Hunter

Die durch die Hölle gehen
Michael Cimino
GBR, USA 1978
182 min

Cimino’s masterpiece. This film has a formal elegance, its ambition never overshadowed by its pretensions … It’s regrettable that the movie is best or most often remembered for the gruesome russian roulette scenes. Those moments were perhaps necessary for anyone delusional enough to think, war is a reductive contest of good guys shooting bad guys and vice versa … THE DEER HUNTER does get war, including the lead up and load out, definitively in its sights, but it manages to also nail the beautiful, if banal simplicity of working class existence: the honesty of that industrious lifestyle, sculpted and fueled by sweat and pitchers of beer … It is a war story, but it’s also a human story. It is the type of film that, once seen, is capable of creating the right kind of change. (Sean Murphy)

Prior to 1978, Walken was far from unknown. But it was Michael Cimino’s Vietnam-era drama and Walken’s Oscar-nominated performance that really was the making of the man. He plays Nick, one of a trio of blue-collar steel workers who ship out to Vietnam together, only to end up in a POW camp. It’s the shell of a man that Nick has become by the end not so much breaking your heart as shattering it. (Oliver Lyttelton)

35mm copy from the Metropolis-Filmarchiv Hamburg

  • Robert De Niro - Michael
  • John Cazale - Stan
  • John Savage - Steven
  • Christopher Walken - Nick
  • Meryl Streep - Linda
  • George Dzundza - John
  • Deric Washburn
  • Vilmos Zsigmond
  • Peter Zinner
  • Stanley Myers
EMI, Universal Pictures
35 mm
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