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Days of Heaven (1978)

PG | | Drama, Romance | 6 October 1978 (USA)
A hot-tempered farm laborer convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Directors: Charles Laughton, Robert Mitchum, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish


Cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Manz ...
The Farm Foreman (as Robert Wilke)
Jackie Shultis ...
Linda's Friend
Mill Foreman
Timothy Scott ...
Harvest Hand (as Tim Scott)
Gene Bell ...
Doug Kershaw ...
Vaudeville Leader
Frenchie Lemond ...
Vaudeville Wrestler
Sahbra Markus ...
Vaudeville Dancer
Bob Wilson ...
Muriel Jolliffe ...


Bill and Abby, a young couple who to the outside world pretend to be brother and sister are living and working in Chicago at the beginning of the century. They want to escape the poverty and hard labor of the city and travel south. Together with the girl Linda (who acts as the narrator in the movie) they find employment on a farm in the Texas panhandle. When the harvest is over the young, rich and handsome farmer invites them to stay because he has fallen in love with Abby. When Bill and Abby discover that the farmer is seriously ill and has only got a year left to live they decide that Abby will accept his wedding proposal in order to make some benefit out of the situation. When the expected death fails to come, jealousy and impatience are slowly setting in and accidents become eventually inevitable. Written by Theo de Grood <tdg@xs4all.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You've got to go through Hell before you get to Heaven See more »


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

6 October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Días de gloria  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Despite the film's commercial failure, Charlie Bluhdorn, who ran Paramount's parent company Gulf+Western, loved it so much that he offered Terrence Malick $1 million for his next project, whatever it was. See more »


The two WWI aircraft in the film had their first flights in December 1916 (the Sopwith) and July 1917 (the Fokker Triplane) so it's highly doubtful that either one was flying in Texas in 1916-17, when the story takes place. See more »


[last lines]
Linda: I was hopin' things would work out for her. She was a good friend of mine.
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Staying Alive (2015) See more »


Carnival of the Animals - The Aquarium
by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performed by Wiener Philharmoniker (as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)
Used by permission of Polydor International GmbH Copyright 1975
Conducted by Karl Böhm (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

You're a peripheral character in someone else's dream
7 July 2011 | by (Nova Scotia, Canada) – See all my reviews

Days of heaven is exactly what this is. The magic hour (when much of the film was shot), those moments before dawn and after dusk when everything is indirect, dreamlike, breathless, heartwaking. There's no real story, as such. Sure, there's a general plot line which should satisfy any casual viewer. This isn't, after all, a hard film to follow. It is simply that the environment is the main character as opposed to the human elements. Linda Manz's young character narrates the story sporadically, like a sleepy traveler beside the campfire telling you of half-forgotten memories, and wonderful, casual observations that will seem clearer in the morning light, but no longer worth mentioning. Her voice is halting and uncertain, belying a personality that is confident in all other respects. Other actors, good (Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard) and not-so-good (Richard Gere) blend in perfectly. Their performances are so understated that you forget they are actors playing characters. Even Richard Gere, who never learned subtlety and would never again employ it, is almost invisible here.

This is not a long film. For all its leisurely pace, ninety-six minutes is all it needs to tell its tale. Terrence Malick is out for sight and sound. There is nothing lost to unneeded expression, nothing not shared in the space in front of you. That leaves cinematographer Néstor Almendros with the freedom to photograph, to observe without opinion whatever seems to be happening most openly before him.

When I first finished watching "Days of Heaven" it felt like waking from a dream. I couldn't be sure how much time has passed. It seemed so long, but the silence was the same, and little had changed outside my window. Nothing but the heavy quiet was all around me, and I felt the desperate desire to move. Everything beneath my feet felt moving, quietly slipping past and all I had to do was put soles to earth and start walking. This is a film of photographs, images of the purest sort. Open your eyes.

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