Robert De Niro opens his archives for One Shot: The Making Of The Deer Hunter

2019 marks forty years since the UK release of a cinematic masterpiece The Deer Hunter; a film that defied odds and changed the face of filmmaking history. Featuring a stellar cast (Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, John Cazale and John Savage) and directed by Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter was one of the earliest Hollywood films to process the traumatic memories of the Vietnam war.

This is an award-winning piece of cinema that still chimes with a global audience and is passed down through the generations as a rite of passage. This year, a limited-edition hardback One Shot: The Making Of The Deer Hunter will be released by Coattail Publications on 9th December in celebration of this iconic film.

Written by film enthusiast and The Deer Hunter expert, Jay Glennie, this precious book features exclusive interviews from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, John Savage, among others, plus a collection of extraordinary archives and a treasure trove of preproduction materials; original script with denotations, unseen photographs, early posters and adverts, cast contracts, costume lists, letters, scouting reports, budgets, De Niro’s research books and much more.

The road to making this invaluable book began when Glennie, having always been a De Niro enthusiast, fought to get in contact with him about the project in 2018. Glennie is undoubtedly a cinema expert, having written a previous behind-the-scenes book about the cult classic Performance starring Mick Jagger and James Fox. Performance – The Making of a Classic (December 2018) is the last word on this counterculture classic, dissecting the background and development of the film in great detail. As with his previous endeavour, Glennie’s passion and enthusiasm for the book rang true with its protagonist. Glennie and De Niro met in February 2018 and the project flourished.

Glennie said of his reason for making the book, “First and foremost I am a huge Robert De Niro fan. His films were, and are, my holy grail growing up… The Deer Hunter was a particular favourite of mine from Bob’s early films. I knew of the controversy of the politics and also regarding the length of the film but it wasn’t until I began to interview the producers that I understood the making of the film had been almost as bloody as the actions depicted on the screen – I knew there was a bigger story to tell. Knowing that it was forty years since the film was awarded the Best Picture Oscar it seemed the right time to explore a book on the film, in particular a large format book festooned with imagery.

There was an instant mutual respect and understanding between the pair. De Niro became emotionally invested in the project. The famous recluse amazingly gave Glennie unparalleled access, throwing open the doors to his incredible archives. The book even includes De Niro’s annotated scripts and images of his ‘I survived The Deer Hunter’ medal, awarded to him and the cast by producer John Peverall.

I always felt that The Deer Hunter was going to be a good movie; otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. It had its flaws, but there was something very special about it. I responded to Mike, I responded to his passion and how serious he was about the film and that is the same reason I responded to you and your book.

I just knew that you were going to do such a great job, and that you care so much and I am very impressed with that. I saw right away that you were serious and knowing how hard you are working at producing this book makes me want to talk to you and it would be the same for Meryl, Chris, John, all of us.” – Robert De Niro

The timely book release couldn’t be more topical; De Niro is widely recognised as being one of the greatest living actors who remains in the spotlight. His recent anticipated movie The Irishman was released this month and won the praise of the critics once again.

Plus, forty years on from The Deer Hunter’s creation, the under-current of the film is a bitterly divided America which has many parallels with today. First released in December 1978, the film tells the story of a trio of steelworkers and how their lives were changed irreparably by their Vietnam war experience. The film was critically acclaimed and nominated for an incredible nine Academy Awards, five of which it won, and was a big commercial success, grossing US $49 million – an extraordinary figure for a film released in that era.

The cast remain close friends and have since had numerous reunions for other film roles. The love and loyalty is still apparent between them and this is reflected in process of making the book. De Niro’s involvement encouraged others such as Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken. Now, the film that moved a generation can be enjoyed in the form of a beautifully made hardback.

Making the perfect collector’s item and festive gift, One Shot: The Making Of The Deer Hunter will be released 9th December and is available to pre-order now, visit The book is limited-edition, only 1979 copies will be printed.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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