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Gates of Heaven (1978)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,443 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 45 critic

A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

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Title: Gates of Heaven (1978)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Lucille Billingsley ...
Herself
Zella Graham ...
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Cal Harberts ...
Himself
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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Documentary

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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

Cried a little, laughed a lot!
1 July 2003 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

As an animal lover I found many poignant moments here. The woman who would sometimes forget her dog was dead--I went through that myself in my teens with my beloved childhood dog, so I know how painful it is. And the cemetery owner's theory that pets are more important now because of the pill makes a lot of sense. Nevertheless, I feel certain Christopher Guest MUST have had this film in mind when he made "Best in Show"! Oh my god there is some unintended hilarity here. On the part of the interviewees, that is; I'm sure Morris knew what he had. The cemetery family, the rendering plant manager...hoo boy! The overall feeling, though, is that we love our animals and they are indeed very special and precious.

The elderly woman talking about her ungrateful bum of a son was very sad...I'm going to go call my mother right now.


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