The Deer Hunter Ending Explained: What Happened To Nick?

The Deer Hunter Ending Explained: What Happened To Nick?

This text incorporates point out of graphic violence, suicide, and drug use.


  • “The Deer Hunter” is a battle epic that exposes the atrocities of fight and its results on the human thoughts, notably for the delicate character Nick.
  • The ultimate emotional scenes, together with the Russian roulette recreation, have stirred controversy however stay impactful after forty years.
  • The movie’s ending, that includes the tune “God Bless America,” showcases the characters’ deep connection to their nation regardless of their emotional scars from battle.

Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter was a Finest Image winner and battle epic that adopted three childhood associates from a blue-collar city in Pennsylvania, Michael (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage), and Nick (Christopher Walken) over the course of the Vietnam Conflict. The Deer Hunter is a real story for troopers who lived its harrowing narrative, with an ending that continues to be probably the most shattering items of cinema forty years later. The film doesn’t maintain again from exposing the atrocities of fight and their results on the human psyche, notably for Nick, its most fragile character who disappears into the underground playing world of Saigon after the battle.

Previous to going to Vietnam, Nick made Mike promise to not go away him behind, one thing which haunts Michael when he returns to the USA. When he finds out that an nameless benefactor has been sending cash to the VA hospital the place Steven is receiving therapy, he suspects it have to be from Nick. Mike tracks Nick down and finds him enjoying Russian roulette for money, however the Nick throughout the sport desk is way faraway from the attractive laughing man he was within the Pennsylvania backcountry. Regardless of their dramatic efficacy, the ultimate emotional scenes have stirred up lots of controversy that is saved The Deer Hunter in dialogue since 1978.

Nick’s Loss of life & Ultimate Russian Roulette Recreation Defined

Regardless of Mike’s finest makes an attempt to get by means of to Nick with reminiscences of their house, his outdated good friend would not appear to register any of it, they usually every take turns spinning the chamber and pulling the set off, touchdown on empty chambers. The icy tone of the sport is in sharp distinction to the time they performed within the jungle throughout the battle, when a assured Mike instructed a frightened Nick that every one he wanted to do was “put an empty chamber in that gun.” Each roulette scenes are intense however have completely different underlying functions; one highlights the indomitable hearth of the human spirit, and one exhibits when it is gone out.

Right here, he desperately pleads with a indifferent, reptilian Nick to indicate any signal that he remembers him and the place they arrive from, greedy at something he can do to set off Nick’s connection to humanity. He nearly has his likelihood when Nick repeats the phrases, “One shot, one shot,” moments earlier than pulling the set off, however the hole smile on his face is short-lived as he fires and succumbs to the one bullet within the chamber. “One shot” refers back to the technique Michael used when the pair hunted deer collectively, signifying the optimum solution to kill with out the animal struggling, and now, on some stage, Nick is aware of that one shot frees him.

Caught within the grip of PTSD, the place all he can do is relive his trauma, Nick turned to a recreation that represented the horrors he’d seen and was nonetheless consumed by. He knew that upon returning house, troopers grew to become shells of their former selves with a fragile psychological state that wasn’t simply reintegrated into mundane society, and whereas it is debatable how lucid Nicky was when pulling the set off, it is clear he did not need that destiny for himself again on American soil. He accepted that the person he was once already died in Vietnam and there was no going house, one thing Mike would be taught for himself in a while.

What The “God Bless America” Coda Actually Means

Mike and Linda at a funeral in The Deer Hunter

The “God Bless America” coda that performs on the finish of The Deer Hunter is each inspirational and bittersweet. The tune is among the United States’ most patriotic anthems, and by together with it on the finish of The Deer Hunter, the movie is reaffirming American values. Regardless of the trauma skilled by Michael, Nick, Steve, and the remainder of the boys who served abroad in Vietnam, they every have a deep connection to their nation and its id, even when it is left them every emotionally scarred for all times in methods they’ve solely begun to grasp and take care of.

By singing it collectively, the primary characters in The Deer Hunter are in a position to not solely bond by means of their shared experiences but in addition launch a plethora of advanced feelings to attain some kind of catharsis. Listening to the melody, it is inconceivable to disregard the innocence that all of them shared earlier than going to battle in distinction with the profound transformation it put them by means of. The battle robbed them of their idealism and changed it with cynicism and nihilism, however the act of uniting collectively over a patriotic tune about America’s virtues reminds them that no less than they’ve solace in one another after every little thing they have been by means of.

Why Mike Lets The Deer Stay In The Deer Hunter’s Ending

Robert De Niro with a hunting rifle in The Deer Hunter

There is a second in The Deer Hunter’s ending the place Michael has the possibility to shoot a deer however would not take the shot, a easy act that carries nice significance. After every little thing he is skilled in Vietnam, he is realized an appreciation for all times, and searching would not carry the identical enchantment that it used to. Like his associates, he is undergone profound adjustments after witnessing the atrocities of battle firsthand, so the act of killing a deer, as soon as one thing that introduced him fond reminiscences together with his buddies, is not the carefree pursuit that it as soon as was and now feels overshadowed by the lives of the boys he took abroad.

RELATED: 10 Nice Motion pictures That Are Too Emotionally Intense To Watch Twice, In accordance To RedditCapturing a wonderful, harmless creature would not align with how Mike sees the world now. The place as soon as the deer represented a problem or a prize, it now embodies the innocence of his pre-war life that he can by no means get again. There’s solely the best way issues have been, and the best way issues are, and by not taking pictures the deer, Mike is giving credence and recognition to the truth that he’ll by no means be the identical once more. Lastly, not killing the deer exhibits private progress on Mike’s half and the truth that violence is not as interesting as a extra peaceable existence that is symbiotic with the residing issues round him.

How Nick Sends Steven Cash Regardless of Dropping His Reminiscence

A Vietnamese man loads a pistol with one bullet in The Deer Hunter

Probably the most complicated points of The Deer Hunter’s ending is the truth that Nick is the individual sending Steve cash from Saigon regardless of shedding his reminiscence. When Michael finds Nick, he is clearly turn into hooked on heroin and has been residing in a stupor for a while, solely to regain items of his reminiscence in what show to be his remaining moments. Nick barely registers Mike’s presence, a lot much less an outdated good friend from his hometown, making it onerous to consider that he is been Steve’s mysterious benefactor all this time.

The best clarification is that at one cut-off date when he began enjoying Russian roulette for cash, he had rational thought sufficient to search out Steve’s hospital and ship him the winnings. Slowly over time, he grew to become depending on heroin to deal with the trauma of his wartime experiences, and his remaining in a stupor suited the boys making a living off the American soldier keen to play the harmful recreation. It exhibits that Nick wished his life to have been for one thing, and that he nonetheless had a small connection to his good friend even when he may by no means go house and even when he overlooked it alongside the best way.

The Deer Hunter’s Historic Inaccuracy Controversies & Impact On America’s Veteran Relations Defined

Mike plays Russian roulette in The Deer Hunter

The Deer Hunter is taken into account one of many prime Vietnam Conflict movies, however its accuracy has lengthy been debated by Vietnam historians who’ve maintained that there is not any proof of the Vietcong ever forcing American prisoners of battle to play Russian roulette. As well as, the movie has been cited for its racist portrayals of the Vietnamese folks, notably throughout the Russian roulette scenes. So far as the narrative of the film is anxious, the sport represents the gamble that troopers take going to battle, notably childhood associates who grew up collectively and had completely different concepts about what serving their nation would appear like.

The Vietnam Conflict wasn’t seemed upon favorably by the American public, and American troopers weren’t handled nicely each throughout and after the battle. Many returned to a rustic that did little or no to rehabilitate them or present sources for his or her psychological well being, leading to some selecting to self-medicate in ways in which resulted in dying. Taken as a complete, The Deer Hunter’s ending highlighted the injury the battle did to people, and helped the American public deal with troopers with extra empathy and compassion for the sacrifice they made for his or her nation.

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