MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 2,978 this week

Gates of Heaven (1978)

7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,348 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 45 critic

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

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Venice Film Festival

See the latest from the 2014 Venice Film Festival


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 22 titles
created 14 Feb 2012
 
a list of 42 titles
created 29 Jul 2013
 
a list of 23 titles
created 3 months ago
 
a list of 38 titles
created 2 months ago
 
a list of 28 titles
created 4 weeks ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Gates of Heaven" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Gates of Heaven (1978)

Gates of Heaven (1978) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Gates of Heaven.

User Polls

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Fred A. Leuchter Jr., Robert Jan Van Pelt, David Irving
Documentary | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose
Documentary | Crime | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis, Ken Davis
The Dark Wind (1991)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A Navajo police officer is mixed up in drug smuggling and murder on the reservation.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Lance Baker, Betty C. Barlow, Gary Basaraba
28 Up (TV Movie 1984)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Director Michael Apted revisits the same group of British-born adults after a 7 year wait. The subjects are interviewed as to the changes that have occurred in their lives during the last ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Apted
Stars: Bruce Balden, Jacqueline Bassett, Symon Basterfield
Tabloid (2010)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A film about the life and work of the cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, who despite his near total paralysis, is one of the great minds of all time.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Stephen Hawking, Isobel Hawking, Janet Humphrey
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film about the former US Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern war.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro
Man Push Cart (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A night in the life of a former Pakistani rock star who now sells coffee from his push cart on the streets of Manhattan.

Director: Ramin Bahrani
Stars: Ahmad Razvi, Leticia Dolera, Charles Daniel Sandoval
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A short documentary in which directors Werner Herzog and Erol Morris make a bet which results in Herzog being forced to eat his own shoe.

Director: Les Blank
Stars: Werner Herzog, Tom Luddy, Michael Goodwin
Documentary | Short | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Short film documentary about the mysterious umbrella man that appears in the Zapruder film during the assassination of president John F Kennedy in Dallas, Texas in 1963, November 22.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Josiah Thompson
El Wingador (2012)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Bill 'El Wingador' Simmons
Edit

Cast

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

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A mennyország kapui  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

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.
See more »

Connections

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A documentary about eccentric people that often seems to cast a condescending eye on its subjects
4 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I picked a bad time to watch this movie. I just finished watching "Napoleon Dynamite," where it's unclear whether we're supposed to relate to the eccentric characters or pity and despise them. That film got me to thinking about other movies that seem to cast a condescending eye on the people involved, specifically "Waiting for Guffman," a fake documentary about small-town folk who want to take their community-theater production to Broadway, and "American Movie," a real documentary about people making a cheap horror film.

And now I watch this documentary, which tells the story of two pet cemeteries in California. And again it's unclear how the filmmaker feels about the people we meet, or how we're supposed to feel about them. Errol Morris, who followed this initial success with several other well-regarded documentaries – like "The Thin Blue Line" and "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control" – has an unobtrusive style here. He simply points the camera at people and let's them talk in long, rambling monologues. We never see or hear him, but of course his attitude is reflected in what material he chooses, how he edits it – and in the subject of the movie in the first place.

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 rages against this hellish factory, not seeing the irony in noting that he couldn't smell the meat on his own table for the stench emanating from the place. 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.

Morris allows a lot of his subjects to cast themselves in a bad or ridiculous light. The man who runs the rendering department admits lying to the public whenever they have a beloved zoo animal. And though he's very defensive about his line of work, he can't suppress himself from calling the people who grieve over their dead pets "moaners." The older son at the successful cemetery is shown in his office, in which trophies line the desk and the shelves behind him. He claims a job applicant was impressed and inspired by the trophies. Throughout, he endlessly spouts clichés from motivational books.

Oddly, I didn't cringe as much at the people who spent thousands of dollars to bury their pets. Somehow they came off as silly, yet ennobled by their love for their animals.

Since this movie we've been treated to an endless stream of reality TV and Christopher Guest mockumentaries and Dave Letterman bits where the average guy on the street is put in the spotlight only to be made a fool of. I know a lot of people see this film as beautiful and full of interesting philosophical questions – Roger Ebert, who puts this on his all-time ten best list, prominently among them. Maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind, but I didn't enjoy it.


10 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Rendering plant owner sticks114
Rorschach test roncerabona
Dan Haberts' music tep24
Discuss Gates of Heaven (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page