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The film covers the life of the friends in Western Pennsylvania -- at work, at home, at a bar, and at the Russian Orthodox Church. Its apogee is the celebration of the shotgun wedding of Steven and Angela, who is pregnant with what is implied to be Nick's child. The wedding itself is extensively portrayed and fleshed out, complete with various wedding traditions highlighted by the Orthodox Wedding ceremony of crowning. Later on a hunting trip, Mike, who is known for killing the best deer every year, is quite harsh with Stanley for joining them unprepared. During the actual hunting scenes, Orthodox liturgical music is heard. The hunt is successful for Mike, and a deer is brought home on the hood of Mike's Cadillac. The film then cuts directly to an ongoing war scene in Vietnam where Mike, a member of a special forces unit, is reunited with Steven and Nick as he is in the act of killing. The scene cuts to a river pontoon-prison, where the three friends are captives of the Viet Cong. They are forced to play Russian roulette against each other for the gambling amusement of their Vietnamese captors. Mike first considers abandoning Steven (whom he believes has been broken mentally and cannot survive), but eventually engineers an escape for all three men by killing their captors during the game. Soon after an American patrol helicopter appears but is only able to rescue Nick. Steven falls back into the river and Mike jumps from the helicopter after him. Eventually, the two swim ashore with Mike saving Steven's life. Steven's legs are broken by the fall; Mike carries him until they reach a South Vietnamese convoy, with whom he then leaves Steven. Mike then continues his tour of duty and returns home alone.

Meanwhile Nick is recuperating in a hospital in South Vietnam, and goes AWOL when he takes up with a rogue Frenchman in the city of Saigon who promises him riches if he participates in Russian roulette competitions. Back in the US, Mike becomes romantically involved with Nick's girlfriend, Linda. The friends go on a hunting trip again, although Nick and Steven are still missing. Mike gets the opportunity to kill a beautiful buck, but pulls the gun away at the last second; the fun in taking a life gone from his time in the war. While hunting, Stan pulls out his revolver, to which Axel questions Stan if he brought the revolver in case he comes across his girlfriend "sucking on a park ranger's cock?" Stan becomes angry with the accusation and points the gun at Axel while Axel laughs at him. Stan threatens Axel to say that again, to which Mike, who had just come into the room, runs over and takes the gun from Stan. Stan insists the gun is empty, but Mike discovers it was fully loaded. Mike empties all the rounds out of the gun except one and spins the chamber, places the gun against Stan's head and pulls the trigger. The gun doesn't go off, and Mike leaves the cabin to throw the gun into the mountains.

Mike later reunites with Stevie, who has had both his legs amputated and his left arm paralyzed, and recovering in a Veterans' Administration hospital. Stevie shows Mike the large amounts of cash he has been receiving by mail, which suggests that Nick is alive and still in Vietnam. Mike then travels to Saigon just before its fall in 1975, where with the help of the Frenchman he finds Nick and learns that his best friend is still involved in the underground Russian roulette circuit. Nick appears at first to have no recollection of his friend or their lives in Pennsylvania. He is under the influence of heroin, as is indicated by track marks on his forearm. They then face each other in the game surrounded by screaming gamblers. During the final match, Mike "buys" Nick and tries to persuade him to come home. Nick finally acknowledges that he does remember Mike, by repeating a line the two used together while deer hunting ("one shot"). With that, Nick pulls the gun away from Mike, shooting himself right in front of Mike. Mike brings Nick's body back to America, sadly fulfilling his promise from the night of the wedding. The film ends on the morning of Nick's funeral at his Russian Orthodox parish. We see everyone leave the church after the wedding with the singing of the joyous "Mnogaja ljeta" but for the funeral they leave the church with the sombre singing of "Vechnaya Pamyat" or "Memory Eternal". The film ends with the surviving friends having a private breakfast together while quietly singing God Bless America.

Starring ... Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, John Cazale, Meryl Streep, John Savage, George Dzundza, Chuck Aspergren

Director: Michael Cimino

Producers:
Barry Spikings, Michael Deeley,
Michael Cimino, John Peverall


Year Released - Dec. 1978

Length - 182 minutes

Music Composer: Stanley Myers

Movie Distributed by Universal Studios



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MOVIE THEME SONGS

The Deer Hunter - 'Cavatina' (ver. 1) - MIDI
The Deer Hunter - 'Cavatina' (ver. 2) - MIDI
The Deer Hunter - 'Cavatina' (ver. 3) - MIDI
The Deer Hunter - 'Cavatina' (ver. 4) - MIDI
The Deer Hunter - 'Troika' (trad. Russian) - MIDI

The Deer Hunter
'Cavatina'
(Main Theme) - MP3 ... 1.22M




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