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Heaven's Gate (1980)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  19 November 1980 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 9,037 users  
Reviews: 180 user | 101 critic

A dramatization of the real-life Johnson County War in 1890 Wyoming, in which a sheriff born into wealth attempts to protect immigrant farmers from rich cattle interests.

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Title: Heaven's Gate (1980)

Heaven's Gate (1980) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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An inside look at the hectic production of Heaven's Gate, the media circus that turned it into a synonym for movie flop and how it added to the tectonic change that occurred in Hollywood film studios after it infamously flopped.

Director: Michael Epstein
Stars: Steven Bach, Hal Ashby, Sandy Berke Jordan
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Nathan D. Champion (as Chris Walken)
...
...
...
...
...
...
John L. Bridges
...
Major Wolcott
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Mayor Charlie Lezak
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Trapper Fred
...
Cully
Rosie Vela ...
Beautiful girl (as Roseanne Vela)
Mary Catherine Wright ...
Nell (as Mary C. Wright)
...
Small man
Edit

Storyline

In Michael Cimino's bleak anti-western based on events in 1890s Wyoming, Sheriff James Averill attempts to protect immigrant farmers from wealthy cattle interests, and also clashes with a hired gun, Nathan Champion, over the woman they both love. Both men find themselves questioning their roles in the furious conflict between wealthy landowners and European immigrants attempting to build new lives on the American frontier, which culminates in a brutal pitched battle. Written by Bernard Keane <BKeane2@email.dot.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The only thing greater than their passion for America...was their passion for each other. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

19 November 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate  »

Box Office

Budget:

$44,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1981 re-cut) | (original cut) | (2012 director's recut) | (workprint)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Isabelle Huppert, Michael Cimino decided to cast her after seeing a clip from Claude Chabrol's Violette (1978) while released in the US. The film was actually Huppert's second American picture, Rosebud (1975) had been the first. To prepare for her role as a prostitute, Huppert spent three days observance in a brothel in Wallace, Idaho. See more »

Goofs

Despite music and a yard full of waltzing couples, several 360-degree panning shots at the Harvard commencement ball show that there is no orchestra. See more »

Quotes

Nathan D. Champion: Why don't you come in for a while? You haven't been here for a long time. I fixed the place up inside.
Ella Watson: What have you done to it?
Nathan D. Champion: [whispers] Wallpaper.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 18 June 2015 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314
(as "The Blue Danube Waltz")
Music by Johann Strauß
Performed by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic (as The New York Philharmonic Orchestra)
Waltz danced on the lawn and heard as a theme
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Hell's Gate
20 June 2004 | by (Brick, NJ) – See all my reviews

This is the movie that, pretty much, sounded the death knell for the auteur in Hollywood. At over 40 million bucks, Heaven's Gate is so poorly conceived and executed it would take a lifetime to break down every area of failure. What really galls me the most about it is that technically it's very bad, an unforgivable sin for the money that went into it. John Hurt's commencement speech at Harvard is inaudible, as is a conversation between Kris Kristofferson and Richard Masur at the train station. Some people seem to think Cimino intended this as a "style". He didn't. It's just bad sound recording. The characters are not particularly well-drawn, except for the four or five leads; in the climactic battle scene, it's difficult to tell who's the bad guys and who's the good guys. Even on that level, it's impossible to enjoy the movie. The casting of Isabelle Huppert as the town madam is a joke, her French accent renders the whole character a fraud. The acting is generally stiff, without any range or depth of feeling; even Christopher Walken is bad. John Hurt's character is the only one with any swagger or vitality (although Hurt, in his 40s, playing a fresh-faced Harvard grad with bags under his eyes is patently ridiculous).



I guess to say that it's overlong is overkill. The roller-skating sequence could have been easily cut, the cockfight scene is rapidly becoming a movie cliche, and the final scene on board the ocean liner is right out the Twilight Zone. Having Rod Serling appear before the camera at the end to explain what we just watched would have been the perfect finale. Actually, those scenes in and of themselves are not bad, but Cimino has not earned the right to include them, because what he's given us as the "meat" of the picture IS so incompetently bad. The editing is poor, especially in the grand battle climax. At one point, the same explosion with the same wagon wheel flying from the blast is used three different times. I wish could I say something- anything- nice about this movie: a great scene, a great performance, even one memorable line of dialogue, but I can't. It is all just one big unholy mess. About the only thing I did like was the cinematography and the Montana locations, which are stunning. Even Cimino couldn't screw that up. This is a long, boring, bad movie by all standards. And the people who say that it gets bashed only because of the cost overruns are just kidding themselves. 1/2 * out of 4


23 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Criterion is currently working on releasing Heaven's Gate eskenazi
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