The Deer Hunter, a 1978 military drama that won numerous Academy Awards, is directed by Michael Cimino and is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam military. Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, John Savage, John Cazale, and George Dzundza are a few of the outstanding actors in the cast. In the movie, Michael (De Niro), Steven (Savage), and Nick (Walken) are three friends who enlist in the military for the respect and honour it should offer them but end up suffering its horrors and even being captured by the Viet Cong, a communist group operating in North Vietnam. Even when they manage to flee, it is insufficient to free them from their traumatic events.
The film’s central motif—the horrors of war—is surrounded by the themes of love, friendship, and life, which show us how the former influences the latter three. The following suggestions are for you if you enjoy watching such narratives and consider yourself an avid fan of war films. The majority of these films like “The Deer Hunter” are available on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
In the Sam Mendes-directed and co-written film “1917,” Lance Corporals Schofield and Blake (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) are sent into hostile territory to deliver a message that might potentially save 1600 lives. The movie also stars Richard Madden, Andrew Scott, and Benedict Cumberbatch in addition to MacKay and Chapman. The race-against-time theme in both of these films is what connects them.
If Walken’s Nick is even still alive, De Niro’s Michael will have to make the same hasty trip back to Vietnam that Schofield and Blake did to find him. While we wait for the outcome, things are kept moving by both the stress and the patience. One would object that comparing one life to 1600 lives is absurd, but let’s not forget the quote found on the ring Oscar Schindler is given before running away in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List,” which reads, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”
All Quiet on the Western Front (2022)
Netflix’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which was directed by Edward Berger, utilises the idea of a military hero’s honour only to shatter it by exposing it to the realities of battle. ‘The Deer Hunter’ can be compared to it because of this. Paul Baumer and his companions Albert and Muller, who enlist in the German army during World War I with aspirations of being patriots, are the main characters of the 2022 film. However, as soon as they start fighting, they realise their error. People are being killed all around us like cattle, and bravery seems to be the last thing from anyone’s thoughts.
In “The Deer Hunter,” Michael and his companions go through a similar feeling while in Vietnam. The Edward Berger film is more graphic, but that alone very much sums up a war. The epic anti-war movie, which also has a compelling plot and superb photography, boasts outstanding performances from its remarkable cast, which also includes Daniel Brühl, Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Aaron Hilmer, Moritz Klaus, and Edin Hasanovic.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Francis Ford Coppola’s film “Apocalypse Now,” which highlights the savagery of the Vietnam War, deserves to be included on this list. The story follows an American Captain Benjamin Willard’s (Martin Sheen) journey through a river from South Vietnam to Cambodia on a covert mission to kill Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a crazy man who is worshipped as a god by a particular tribe and uses his influence to kill innocent people. The narrative also stars legends like Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Harrison Ford, and Jerry Ziesmer. This movie is sure to frighten you if you thought the Russian roulette in “The Deer Hunter” was terrible.
The Korean War is the setting of J. D. Dillard’s film “Devotion,” which highlights the bond between navy aviator Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) and the first Black aviator in US Navy history, Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors). The story leads us on a study of Jesse’s mental condition and how Tom is able to access it, ultimately establishing a bond that will live on in history.
Tom stays by Brown’s side until assistance is sent to the scene where Brown’s plane crashes in the North Korean mountains, much like De Niro’s Michael goes back to Vietnam to hunt for Walken’s Nick. Thus, the friendship concept in “Devotion” parallels that in “The Deer Hunter” and highlights the love that is present in battle.
I’m waiting to die. ‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘Dunkirk’ are related by this. The biographical war picture, which Christopher Nolan directed, successfully depicts how more than 300,000 Allied soldiers were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk during World War II after being surrounded by the German army. Civilian boats and yachts were used in the evacuation to transport the British soldiers back to their country of origin.
But the evacuation is only shown to us at the very end of the movie. Because survival looks like a far-off dream, the remaining time is just spent waiting to die. Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, and others are part of the ensemble cast. It starts to feel like you’re stuck, helpless, and just waiting to die. This is very similar to the experience Michael and his buddies had after being taken hostage by the Vietnamese guerilla.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
This military drama was co-written and directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, and it featured Ronald Lee Ermey, Matthew Modine, Arliss Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Adam Baldwin among others. Young soldiers Cowboy (Arliss Howard), Joker (Matthew Modine), and Gomer (Vincent D’Onofrio) become friends while through gruelling training at a Parris Island facility with the other recruits. However, only Cowboy and Joker survive the war, while Gomer commits suicide after losing his mind as a result of abuse received throughout the training. During the assault of Hue, Joker and Cowboy meet up once more in Phu Bai.
The Vietnam conflict serves as both the microcosm and the macrocosm of conflict in this movie, which makes it comparable to “The Deer Hunter.” Young troops like Cowboy (Arliss Howard), Joker (Matthew Modine), and Gomer (Vincent D’Onofrio) are innocent on the one hand, and the Vietnam War is at one of its bloodiest phases on the other.
The first of Oliver Stone’s three films about the Vietnam War is titled “Platoon,” and the director is a veteran of the conflict. The other two are Heaven & Earth (1993) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989). The tension that exists both inside and outside of man is demonstrated in the story. It concerns a soldier who must choose between two sergeants—one who is, to put it mildly, cynical and another who is more compassionate—while managing the physical and psychological effects of the war as a whole.
Similar to “The Deer Hunter,” the violence of the conflict is maintained in this 1986 movie, though possibly in a more appropriately unsettling way. Of course, the soldiers’ brotherhood is present, but once again, the innocent suffers, just as it did in the Michael Cimino film. The outstanding performances by Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker, Tom Berenger, and Kevin Dillon, in addition to the excellent camerawork and plot, significantly raise the film’s calibre.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Our best pick is Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” which emphasises the need of looking for a comrade, much like Michael did in “The Deer Hunter.” The story takes place in France during World War II, and Captain John Miller leads his soldiers on a search for Private James Ryan, who has lost his three brothers to the conflict.
The cast also features Tom Sizemore, Vin Diesel, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, and Tom Hanks as Captain John Miller and Matt Damon as Private James Ryan. The hunt for a fellow soldier is the main plot in this movie, in contrast to “The Deer Hunter,” where it is one of the subplots. Spielberg spares no effort to present a perfectly rendered depiction of battle and to delve deeply into the individual experiences of each soldier.