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Time for a reappraisal of this war drama regarded by many as a classic, and it is another dvd that is still available in multiple editions and is still often watched and reviewed on Amazon. The edition I'm reviewing is the 2 disc Special Edition. Sadly it clearly states that there are NO English subtitles. Disc 1 has the film at 2 hours 56 minutes with director Michael Cimino's audio commentary as an extra. Disc 2 has all the bonus features as listed by Amazon.
Superb widescreen presentation, acclaimed cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond ( yeah, me neither ) but be aware that huge segments of the film are set in industrial Pennsylvania and it's not meant to look pretty. Certainly yer man has captured the dourness of that part of the world extremely well. So too the excruciating chaos of the fall of Saigon and in-between the awful prison sequence that set our three protagonists on their road to the irrevocable change to their lives. The contrast of these settings is outstandingly handled by Cimino and his writer of the screenplay, Deric Washburn.
As I saw the film the first hour tries to be jovial and is set around the wedding of one of the three. There is always an edge and it didn't work entirely for me but I admit that I knew what was coming ---- like many others we were expecting a war film and needed to go there. Perhaps reflecting over the overall plot the wedding segment could have been shorter, but for some it probably was the best part of the film. A good part of the next hour is set in Vietnam ---- the Russian Roulette game may be a total invention and fanciful as some have criticized the film for that content, but let me say that as a young many I met some ex- soldiers who served in Vietnam who claimed that an American could be filmed shooting a Vietnamese on camera......... for a price. I have never read confirmation of that service offered by unscrupulous Vietnamese. Perhaps that too was an invention but I believed the guys who recounted their experiences.
The final part of the film shifts between both countries and is so desolate, leaving this viewer very sad and confirming the powerful performances of De Nero, who has never looked and sounded better in a film, Walken and Savage.
Sad to say again this 2 disc Special Edition with the Studio Canal logo has no English subtitles.
The film stars Robert de Niro and Chris Walken, and is about a group of friends from Pittsburgh PA, who are totally unaware of the horrors of the war that is going on in Vietnam. They are sent there when they are conscripted into the US Forces, who are fighting the Vietnam war against the Vietcong in a guerrilla war. The war really comes home to them when some of them are captured as POWs by the Vietcong, and are forced to play Russian roulette for their captors entertainment. Two of them manage to escape from their captors, and when the war is over they go back to try and find one of their friends who was left behind, and try to get him to return to the USA. The film brings to the screen the horrors of the Vietnam War.
This film has been criticised for being over-long and I can understand that critique. However, for me anyway, the portrayal of the Pittsburg area steel workers Orthodox community was brilliantly done over an extended time; I've watched it a few times ... outstanding ... I'd have to draw a veil over the Russian Roulette sequences in VN, though, so 4*... the steel workers are not there anymore, their government shipped their industry abroad after shipping them abroad to fight a pointless war that it (the govt) started ...
Absolutely classic film, particularly for the way in which it spends most of the movie building up its characters (which most movies don't seem to do anymore) with phenomenal acting and a great soundtrack. Despite some tense scenes and emotional depth to the characters and situations it is not the most exciting film to watch and if you are looking for a 'war film' you will be disappointed with the lack of action and inaccuracy.
Brilliant film and actors. A long film but the storyline keeps your attention. Different emotions emerge as you watch the film, sadness, bravery, stupidity etc. Robert de Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep are great in it.
DVD of this iconic film about the Vietnam war and how it scars the lives of the main protagonists. The acting is superb, particularly Robert de Niro and Meryl Streep. The famous scene of the Russian Roulette forced on the prisoners of war by the VietCong is probably one of the most harrowing in movie history. The detailed study of the lives of the men before they go off to war, getting married, going hunting and working in the Pennsylvania steel works is important in terms that you really do care what happens to these guys once they go to war. A real Hollywood classic.