The Deer Hunter

Trivia: Roy Scheider was originally cast as Steven but quit the production two weeks before filming began.

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Trivia: To acquire the withdrawn, hollowed-out look of his character, Christopher Walken ate nothing but bananas and rice.

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Cubs Fan

Trivia: During the helicopter stunt, the runners caught on the ropes of the suspension bridge and as the helicopter rose, it threatened to seriously injure both Robert De Niro and John Savage. The actors gestured and yelled furiously to the crew in the helicopter to warn them. Footage of this is included in the film.

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Trivia: John Cazale was very ill when filming began and because of this his scenes were filmed first. The director Michael Cimino knew that Cazale was dying of cancer but the studio did not. When they found out, they wanted to replace Cazale. The actor sadly died after filming was completed.

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Trivia: The wedding scene at the church took five days to film and the producers used an actual priest.

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Trivia: The scene where Nick spits in Michael's face when they play each other at Russian Roulette towards the end of the movie was improvised by Christopher Walken. Director Michael Cimino convinced Walken to do this, and Robert De Niro was completely surprised by this, as evidenced in his reaction. In fact, De Niro was so furious about the unscripted improvisation that he almost quit the production.

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Trivia: The scene where John Savage gets thrown into the pit, he shouts "Michael, there's rats in here, Michael!" Savage has a real-life fear of rats, and he was actually yelling at director Michael Cimino. Because of his genuine reaction, they kept it in the film.

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Trivia: Robert De Niro wanted a live cartridge to be in the gun when he plays Russian Roulette with John Cazale. Cazale agreed, but understandably checked the gun carefully before each take to ensure the live round wouldn't be fired when the trigger was pulled.

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Jon Sandys

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