Who will go to hell
Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), three American steel workers of Russian descent in Pennsylvania, were called up for military service in Vietnam in 1968. Before that, Steven celebrates his wedding to Angela (Rutanya Alda); the morning after, Michael and Nick go hunting again with friends.
Hell awaits them in Vietnam. Steven is seriously injured in the jungle fight, Michael and Nick are forced by cruel guards in captivity of the Viet Cong to play "Russian Roulette": They take turns holding a drum revolver loaded with a bullet to their own head and pulling the trigger; the guards make bets on who will survive.
After they managed to escape by a daring ruse, Michael returns to his homeland, disillusioned, where he finds Steven, who has lost his legs, in a nursing home for war veterans. Nick lost his mind and stayed in Saigon, where he continues to play the roulette of death, now for money. When Michael tries to get him out of there, Nick is killed.
Michael Cimino's harrowing description of human deformation from war won five Academy Awards in 1979, including awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Walken), Best Sound, and Best Editing.
Alongside Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now", Cimino's epic war drama is one of the most important debates on the Vietnam War and its aftermath. When it was presented at the Berlinale in 1979, however, it caused a political scandal at the time. The representatives of the Soviet delegation saw the film as an insult to the Vietnamese people and left the festival in protest. In the US, too, Cimino's film polarized the critics, whose reactions were either condemnation or enthusiasm. Cimino's nightmarish Vietnam film could not leave anyone indifferent. Today it is considered to be one of the masterpieces of "New Hollywood" cinema of the 1970s.
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