Who is Like God? The Deer Hunter as Angelic Allegory

  • Author(s): Nicholas J. Schaser
  • When: 2019-04
  • Where: Journal of Religion & Film
  • Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter utilizes Christian contexts and biblical motifs in order to present an allegory in which Michael (Robert De Niro) represents an angelic being. While Michael displays powers that parallel those of biblical angels, his lack of religious reverence and divine self-perception lead to a metaphorical fall in Vietnam. Michael’s friend Nick (Christopher Walken) is also an allegorical symbol for imperiled humanity in need of salvation. When Michael is unable to rescue Nick from a Russian roulette table in Saigon, Cimino’s film emerges as a theological statement about the problem of human violence and the necessity for hope in God.

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