Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
United Kingdom/USA, 1978. EMI Films, Universal Pictures. Story by Michael Cimino, Deric Washburn, Louis Garfinkle, Quinn K. Redeker, Screenplay by Deric Washburn. Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. Produced by Michael Cimino, Michael Deeley, John Peverall, Barry Spikings. Music by Stanley Myers. Production Design by Ron Hobbs, Kim Swados. Costume Design by Eric Seelig. Film Editing by Peter Zinner. Academy Awards 1978. Golden Globe Awards 1978. New York Film Critics Awards 1978.
One of the very best films of the seventies and one of the best war films ever made, this excellent drama captures the frustration and rage that the Vietnam war created on the homefront. A group of young friends, all workers in a Midwestern steel factory, celebrate their pal’s wedding before heading off to the war in search of glory and heroism. Only one of them (Robert De Niro) comes back in one piece (and that’s only physically), and now must contend with the betrayal he feels at seeing his injured friend (John Savage) ignored and his best friend (Christopher Walken) gone insane. Meryl Streep has her breakthrough role as the girlfriend who is left behind to tend the home front, though even she seems to have participated in some kind of battle by the time the men get home. Superbly written and magnificently directed by Michael Cimino, not to mention top-notch acting that includes one of De Niro’s best performances, this one’s drama takes you over subtly and holds you until the very end.