This is one of the most human films ever made about Vietnam. Michael Cimino creates an intimate epic here that shows the before, during, and after of the Vietnam War for this close knit group of steel workers. DeNiro and Walken are exceptional in this film and the ending is one of the most powerful. Also Vilmos Zsigmond really knew how to shoot epics.
The film itself is not very valuable by narrative structure or any technical thing except maybe sound levels. In my opinion, I thought that the Vietnamese were depicted in a very negative, racist way and the jumps between the three major plot lines (before, during and after the war) were inconsistent. But hell, I can't deny that Walken and De Niro made a pretty good fucking job acting. And the dialogues were neat too
Jumbled, unfocused, and absurdly over-long. The Russian roulette scenes are absurd and cringe-worthy, not in a good way. Streep's character is such a blank nothing that you could remove her entirely without changing the movie, yet the movie keeps focusing on her like she matters. It's a huge mess. But the weirdly long pre-war wedding scene is a lot of fun so it's not a total waste of time. I give it a C.
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.