After the release of The Deer Hunter in 1978, Williams' instrumental version became a UK Top 20 hit in 1979. Two other versions also made the Top 20 in the same year: another instrumental recording by The Shadows, with an electric guitar played by Hank Marvin, released on their album String of Hits with the name "Theme from 'The Deer Hunter' (Cavatina)" (number 9 in the UK singles charts and number 1 in The Netherlands); and a vocal version (using Cleo Laine's lyrics) by Iris Williams.
In 1982, guitarist Liona Boyd included it in her "Best Of" Collection, also with arrangement alongside Eric Robertson and Williams.
The tune was recorded in 2004 by trumpeter and flugelhorn player Vaughn Nark on his album Panorama: Trumpet Prism for Summit Records, featuring Nark on flugelhorn and Rick Whitehead on classical guitar.
There is a gospel version set to "Cavatina" called "Beautiful"; the author is Billy Evmur and it appears in the Dove on a Distant Oak Tree collection. Another vocal version with different lyrics was recorded by Vince Hill (released on the compilation The Ember Records Story Vol. +more 2 - 1960-1979).
A full version of Cavatina for solo guitar and symphony orchestra was broadcast by the Faroese Broadcasting Company in 2013. Featuring guitarist Ólavur Jakobsen and Faroe Island Symphony Orchestra.
"Cavatina" was used to accompany "The Gallery" in the BBC children's programme Take Hart, and its predecessor Vision On, during the 1970s. It was also used for some time in the 1970s as the closedown music when BBC Radio ceased transmission at 2 a. +morem.
The song was featured in the 2005 film Jarhead.