THE DEER HUNTER
1978, Universal, 183 min, USA, Dir: Michael Cimino

From the opening scenes of hunter Robert De Niro and friends Christopher Walken, John Savage and John Cazale stalking deer in the mist-shrouded Pennsylvania hills, to the shattering prisoner-of-war games in the jungles of Vietnam, director Michael Cimino's masterwork is a sprawling, ambitious epic of men wounded by pride, country and friendship, struggling to drag each other back to a place of safety. Co-starring Meryl Streep. Winner of five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor (Walken).


TRUE CONFESSIONS
1981, MGM/Park Circus, 108 min, USA, Dir: Ulu Grosbard

Circa 1948, Robert Duvall is a hard-nosed cop and Robert De Niro is his brother, an enterprising monsignor rising behind the scenes with high-powered Catholic members of Los Angeles’ political elite. When a young actress is gruesomely murdered (à la the Black Dahlia), Duvall believes one of De Niro’s high-profile parishioners, pimp-turned-building contractor Jack Amsterdam (Charles Durning), may be involved. Issues of family, guilt, moral responsibility and hypocrisy collide in screenwriter John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion’s screenplay from Dunne’s novel. Director Ulu Grosbard focuses on character and the personal terrain of missed emotional and spiritual opportunities, rather than making a standard whodunit, something that led critics to damn the movie with faint praise. One of the great lost films of the 1980s.


HEAT
1995, Warner Bros., 170 min, USA, Dir: Michael Mann

In Michael Mann’s searing L.A. crime epic, Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) hunts Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and his professional crew of thieves as they prepare for one last big “retirement” bank holdup. The thin blue line between crime and law proves as ambiguous as ever in this brilliant work of parallel storylines and character doubling. With Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman and a host of other ace supporting players.


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