''Deer Hunter' Coming Home wasnt the only Vietnam-themed movie released in 1978. Michael Ciminos uncompromising and graphically violent drama Deer Hunter picked up numerous Academy Awards including best picture, director and supporting actor, Christopher Walken. The three-hour epic focuses on three buddies from a Pennsylvania steel town Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage) and Nick (Walken) who go off to fight in Vietnam, only to be captured and forced to play a tormenting game of Russian roulette. At one point, Michael and Nick are forced to play each other. Back home, Michael is no longer able to kill a buck while deer hunting. He finally reunites with Steven who is rehabbing in the VA hospital after losing his legs. He tells Michael that someone is sending him huge amounts of cash. The cash is coming from Nick, who is playing Russian roulette professionally in Saigon and has become addicted to heroin. Michael travels to Saigon, where he pays the club manager to allow him to play the game with Nick. He begs Nick to return home with him, but Nick ends up blowing out his brains in the game. Vietnam vet Jan Scruggs got the idea for building a national memorial for Vietnam veterans after seeing the film in 1979. Scuggs, who was a counselor with the U.S. Department of Labor, established and operated the fund that paid for the memorial. Numerous critics decried the inclusion of the Russian roulette sequences in the movie, saying that such incidents never happened during the war.
Orion Pictures Corp.