The Deer Hunter, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Epic: films on TV today

War in Vietnam, horror in a haunted house, strife in fairyland: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

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BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
The Deer Hunter  ★★★★★ 


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11.00pm-2.40am ITV4
 
This Vietnam War movie featuring the famous Russian roulette scenes was the late director Michael Cimino’s finest work, made before everything went belly up with Heaven’s Gate. The protagonists are three Russian-American steelworkers from Pennsylvania – Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage. It begins cheerfully with Savage’s wedding and then moves abruptly into Vietnam where our heroes, now conscripted into the army, are captured and viciously tortured – cue the Russian roulette. At three hours the film is overlong and by no means flawless but is still a tense, moving story of survival, male bonding and the appalling, dehumanising effects of war on young men. The movie, Cimino and Walken (best supporting actor) all won Oscars. And there’s excellent support from Meryl Streep as Walken’s girlfriend.
 


Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark  ★★★ 


12.35-2.15am C4
An atmospheric and scary Australian haunted-house horror film, co-written by Guillermo Del Toro and with a few dabs from the Pan’s Labyrinth palette.  


Epic  ★★★ 


4.40-6.50pm Film Four
 
If you need someone to defeat the forces of evil and save the world, call a teenage girl. Like, totally! Animated adventure with the voice of Amanda Seyfried.


Tall in the Saddle  ★★★ 


7.10-9.00pm Movies4Men
 
Playing hard to get, John Wayne is wooed by co-star Ella Raines in this fast-moving western with a couple of those all-in fist fights that the Duke loved so much.     


Jigsaw  ★★★ 


8.50-10.55pm Talking Pictures TV
There’s a refreshing documentary approach to this Brighton-set 1950s policier and the reassuring presence of Jack Warner as the cop on the case of a murder. 


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