The Deer Hunter script
Synopsis: The Deer Hunter is a 1978 American epic war drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino about a trio of Russian American steelworkers whose lives are changed forever after they fight in the Vietnam War. The three soldiers are played by Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage, with John Cazale (in his final role), Meryl Streep, and George Dzundza playing supporting roles. The story takes place in Clairton, Pennsylvania a small working class town on the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh, and in Vietnam.

EXT. PENNSYLVANIA STEEL MILL - LIGHT SNOW - DAY

The plant is massive, grime-streaked, squatting in the valley

under five massive stacks, each one trailing a black ribbon

across the winter sky. Fires can be seen flickering through

the windows and long flames weave and dance from the tops of

guyed metal flues. Steam rises in clouds from vents and

chimneys and the sound of it all -- the hissing, the

clanging, the rumbling, the shrieking -- comes faintly, muted

by the falling snow.

In the foreground is a street -- COLUMBINE STREET -- which

inhabits the bottom of a narrow ravine and plunges directly

down the hillside, straight at the mill. Columbine is a sad

looking street, a grim-looking street, a street hanging on by

the skin of its teeth. Dilapidated stores hug the narrow

sidewalks. Battered signs squeak in the wind. Sandwiched

between the stores and scattered on twisting roads along the

hillside are narrow Victorian houses. These houses, which run

to three stories or more in height, all seem on the verge of

toppling over, and undoubtedly would, except that they are

all connected one to another by a mad arrangement of utility

lines which cross and re-cross between them with occasional

aid from a leaning pole.

MUSIC COMES UP -- dissonant, rather frightening music -- as

we watch a car come charging up through the slush on

Columbine Street. As it nears CAMERA the car falters on the

slippery grade and slides out of sight. A figure appears,

huddled against the driving snow. The figure disappears AS

CAMERA HOLDS ON THE STEEL MILL AT THE END OF THE EMPTY

STREET.

MAIN TITLE COMES UP:

THE DEER HUNTER:

INT. STEEL MILL - DAY

A white-hot ingot shoots out of an ejecting mechanism and

comes ripping down a track. Another ingot follows it, and

another and another and another. The ingots are huge,

trembling with heat, and they come on with a terrifying

rumble.

CREDITS ROLL:

UNDER CREDITS we see STEELWORKERS catching the ingots with

tongs and deftly swinging them into troughs. The STEELWORKERS

wear leather aprons and are stripped to the waist. Warped in

heat waves and glistening with sweat they seem like figures

in some hellish ballet. Since they all wear goggles it is

hard to distinguish between them, but there are three, who

are young, who seem to work with particular grace. These are

NICK, SAL and MERLE.

CREDITS END. CAMERA CLOSES ON NICK, SAL AND MERLE. The noise

is deafening, the heat is unbelievable and the ingots come on

with murderous speed. Taking advantage of a slight pause

MERLE jabs NICK and they both make cuckold's horns at SAL.

SAL blushes and waves them off with his hand. MERLE and NICK

make the horns again and now SAL puts both hands on his hips,

gives a thin smile and studies the corner of the shed. MERLE

and NICK begin laughing. SAL can't hold out and he starts

laughing too, but now the ingots begin roaring down the track

again and they all grab their tongs.

INT. GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH - ALTAR - DAY

A very old PRIEST is making preparations for a wedding

ceremony. SAL'S MOTHER hovers around him as he unlocks a

cabinet and takes out white tapers and a golden crown which

will be used in the service. The PRIEST moves with agonizing

slowness and SAL's MOTHER is in the midst of a bad case of

nerves.

SAL'S MOTHER

It's all ready? Everything's ready?

PRIEST:

Yes.

SAL'S MOTHER

Are you sure everything's ready?

Are you positive?

PRIEST:

Everything. Yes.

SAL'S MOTHER

It would snow... Everything's going

to slip. Everything's going to

slide... All the cars are going to

crash!

SAL'S MOTHER puts her hand to her mouth and bursts into

tears.

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Deric Washburn

Deric Washburn (born June 2, 1937) is an American screenwriter. Washburn was born in Buffalo, NY and grew up in Providence, RI. He graduated from Harvard College, A.B. English Literature, in 1959. His early career was that of a playwright, penning the off-Broadway plays Ginger Anne and The Love Nest. He is best known for co-writing the original screenplay of The Deer Hunter with Michael Cimino. more…

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"The Deer Hunter" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 18 Nov. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_deer_hunter_846>.

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