The Deer Hunter is one of the classics with regard to anti-war movies. But it is far more than just focusing on one guy and his inevitable downfall. It is a story of friendship and loyalty. Even when we don’t see the soldiers we served with for years, there is a link that will never be broken, a comfort that immediately takes hold even before the first bottle cap is released. It is also what makes it so hard when these same friends don’t make it.
The Deer Hunter won several Academy Awards, though to be honest this neither makes it a great movie, not does it denigrate other movies of the time. I was surprised to learn that one of the most memorable aspects of the movie, Russian-roulette gambling games, were not part of the Vietnam war, I learned that Director Michael Cimino used them as a metaphor for the futility of war. The connection between what happened in Vietnam and what happened to their families back in Pennsylvania, gives the movie a needed perspective that is so often ignored.
This might be the age of the Internet when news is old by the end of the day, but The Deer Hunter is 41 years old, and still as relevant as it was then. ——————————————————————————————————-
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com