7.5/10
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27 user 51 critic

Gates of Heaven (1978)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Comedy, Drama | October 1978 (USA)
A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

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Credited cast:
Lucille Billingsley ...
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Zella Graham ...
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Cal Harberts ...
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Dan Harberts ...
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Phil Harberts ...
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Scottie Harberts ...
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Mike Koewler ...
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Floyd McClure ...
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Ed Quye ...
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Florence Rasmussen ...
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Storyline

The men who run a pet cemetery, and the men and women who bury their pets, become the subject of this documentary. We first meet Floyd McClure, a paraplegic with a dream to create a pet cemetery. One inspiration is the death of his collie years before; and the other is the local rendering plant, which turns animals into glue. He realizes his dream, only to see it fail. Then we visit a successful pet cemetery, run by a father and his two sons. One is a frustrated musician, nursing a broken heart. The other is joining the family business after selling insurance in Salt Lake City. Throughout, we also meet the people who have buried their pets. Written by J. Spurlin

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Not Rated

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October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A mennyország kapui  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

German film director Werner Herzog had made a bet with fledgling director (and current film student) Errol Morris that if Morris made a film about pet cemeteries, Herzog would eat his shoe. Morris went on to make this film, so Herzog kept his promise. The meal is documented in the film Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980). See more »

Quotes

Pet cemetery investor: Death is for the living and not for the dead.
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Connections

Featured in A Brief History of Errol Morris (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best films ever made!
28 September 2000 | by (Waterloo, Ontario) – See all my reviews

GATES OF HEAVEN is one of those fascinating films that no matter how many times you see, the mysteries contained in it only get deeper. The film is a documentary about pet cemeteries, but what may have turned into a freak show- a movie about people who value pets so much they pay thousands of dollars to bury them- becomes an inspection of the human soul. The film is a deep, dark chasm of human emotion. Errol Morris starts his famous documentary style of just letting people talk. Unlike Michael Moore or Nick Broomfield, who are as much the subject of their own documentaries as their directors, we never see or even hear Morris' voice. He just lets the people tell their story their way. The film is haunting and will stay with the viewer long after it's over. It truly is a landmark film in movie history. Roger Ebert was not overstating this movies genius when he named it one of the ten best films of all time. My Grade: 10/10


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