6.8/10
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201 user 113 critic

Heaven's Gate (1980)

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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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3,824 ( 460)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Nathan D. Champion (as Chris Walken)
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Mr. Eggleston
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The Reverend Doctor
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Mayor Charlie Lezak
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Trapper Fred
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Rosie Vela ...
Beautiful Girl (as Roseanne Vela)
Mary Catherine Wright ...
Nell (as Mary C. Wright)
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Small Man
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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:

What one loves about life are the things that fade. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

19 November 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$44,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,032, 19 November 1980, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,484,331, 31 December 1981
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Willem Dafoe, in his feature film debut, appears briefly as a cockfighter. According to Dafoe, his role was supposed to be much larger, but during a long lighting set-up, Dafoe laughed out loud at a joke that an extra told him. Michael Cimino was so annoyed, that he fired Dafoe, and he is uncredited in the final film. He would later narrate the documentary of the making of this film, Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's Gate (2004). See more »

Goofs

The opening establishes the year as 1870. Harvard's Commencement Day for 1870 was Tuesday June 28. James Averill runs past a bulletin board advertising baseball games bearing the dates "Friday May 28", "Saturday May 15" and "Wednesday May 19". The day and date combination correspond to the year 1869. 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.
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Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The Battle Hymn of the Republic
(uncredited)
Music by William Steffe
Played by the marching band
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Masterpiece - I Thought There Were Only Three Of Us
15 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

Until today, I thought there only three people, including me, who considered Heaven's Gate (1980)to be a masterpiece and perhaps the last great western, (since the 1970), after, Little Big Man (1970), Jeremiah Johnson (1972), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and The Long Riders (1980).

I was stunned and pleased to see that 22.5% of those voting at IMDB rate this movie a 10, as do I. A recent book, the Worst Movies of All Time, includes Heaven's Gate. Through it's production and release it was vilified, as no movie since Cleopatra, almost twenty years before. At one time it was considered the most expensive over-budget movie of all time, surpassing even Cleopatra. It was blamed for the downfall of its studio, United Artists, until everyone finally saw all the studios were falling. Michael Cimino, fresh from his glory with the Deer Hunter was hated and despised for his success and movie making excess, but clearly, that was petty jealousy at its worst.

Cimino ended up fashioning one of the great expositions of the American experience. This film is not to be missed but any serious student of American filmmaking.


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