A controversial film about a misguided America, the film uses the Vietnam War as a backdrop for a group of young smalltown soldiers and their families, loves, and friends who battle the realities faced when separation and conflict come between them. Epic in scope, but gripping in its delivery, the film is a tragically beautiful masterpiece from New Hollywood.
Cimino's fascist film would make Riefenstahl and Griffith proud. The controversial roulette scenes and the depiction of the Vietnamese are the least of this films problem. For the first 2 hours, I was annoyed by its chauvinism which, at times, borders on homoerotic and the complete disregard of the females. Near the end, it almost began to criticize these traits but still couldn't stop sentimentalizing everything.
It has its flaws, but i'd argue that its gritty depiction of working class life is the most authentic in American cinema. The feeling of community and camaraderie that is ultimately shattered by the war rings totally true at every moment. and that is precisely where the emotional core of the film lies, and ultimately the key to its success. I can take or leave the war scenes.