‘The Deer Hunter’ Bar Scene Song

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Deer Hunter Bar Scene

The camaraderie in this scene is perfect

You may not instantly recognize the name Michael Cimino. He was the filmmaker who received tremendous acclaim for directing one of the most powerful movies made about the Vietnam War, 1978’s The Deer Hunter. The film starred Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Christopher Walken, John Savage and Meryl Streep and earned five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as Best Supporting Actor for Walken. Safe to say, Cimino knocked it out of the park.

Win a directing Oscar and you can pretty much sit back and field offers for your follow-up. In Cimino’s case, it was for an epic Western starring a long list of big name actors including Jeff Bridges, Kris Kristofferson, Walken (again) and Sam Waterston. The film was Heaven’s Gate and it was a failure of such epic proportions that it nearly destroyed United Artists as the budget spiraled out of control. (Cimino is said to have shot more than 220 hours of film.) News of production issues were rampant even in the pre-social media days and the movie bombed.

But back to The Deer Hunter. The film weaved the camaraderie of Pennsylvania steel workers with many of them heading to fight while others maintained their lives at home. Of course, those that returned would never be the same. The movie is a masterpiece and well deserving of its critical and commercial success.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons were dominant on the pop charts in the early-to-mid-’60s. Their extraordinary lead singer stepped out for the occasional solo release, one of which was “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” which became a #2 pop hit. The song was used brilliantly in one of the bar scenes in The Deer Hunter as a young De Niro, Walken and Savage prepared to head to Vietnam. It’s our Classic Video…

Cimino died July 2, 2016 at 77. Walken was born March 31, 1943.

Some wild info about actor John Cazale, who was born on August 12, 1935. He and Streep met when they acted together in a play in 1976. They fell in love and moved in together. The next year, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The pair were among those cast in The Deer Hunter, which he completed despite his illness. He died the following year on March 12, 1978. The film was released in Dec. 1978 and got wide release on Feb. 23, 1979. It’s available to stream or purchase here.

[A Collector’s Edition of the film was released in 2020 on 4K UHD for the first time. The 2-disc UHD + Blu-ray combo pack is loaded with bonus features including deleted and extended scenes, new interviews with actors John Savage and Rutanya Alda and producer Michael Deeley, and more.]

Cazale appeared in just five feature films: The GodfatherThe ConversationThe Godfather Part IIDog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter. Each was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons continue to tour.

Related: Valli’s song was a 1967 smash. See what else topped the charts that year

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3 Comments so far

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  1. dogpatch
    #1 dogpatch 5 May, 2017, 07:14

    Great film!! And a great and classic song!!

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  2. EoinDS
    #2 EoinDS 24 February, 2024, 02:36

    Cazale was dumped from before filming commenced because no one would insure him with his cancer diagnosis.
    So De Niro personally underwrote Cazale’s insurance to make sure he stayed in the cast. All the scenes with Cazale were shot first because his health was going downhill, fast. As stated here Cazale sadly died before The Deer Hunter hit the screens, in fact he died before the film was completed.

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  3. BMac
    #3 BMac 28 February, 2024, 16:44

    I still remember seeing this as a 19-year old when it was first released. That was the quietest exiting-the-movie-theater-crowd I’ve ever experienced.

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