Wyoming, 1890. James Averill is the Sherriff of Johnson County, a county largely inhabited by foreign immigrants. The wealthy cattle owners view the immigrant farmers as a nuisance and hindrance to them enlarging their own land. The cattlemen's association, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, effectively declares war on the immigrant farmers, and gets the state government's blessing. They assemble an army of guns-for-hire, and, backed by the U.S. Cavalry, set out to rid the state of the immigrants. James Averill's heart is with the immigrants, but he is not sure they have a chance of winning the inevitable war.Written by
This movie was completely shot on-location, with no shooting done on any studio soundstages. Most of the movie was shot in Montana. See more »
When Ella Watson sees her birthday present, only one of her breasts is covered by the blanket wrapped around her. Whilst the shot cuts between her and Jim, the breast that is uncovered changes repeatedly between shots. See more »
The heavily edited 149 minute version contains too many changes to name, but some of the more notable ones include the deletion of Billy's valedictorian address in the prologue, the addition of a narration at the end of the prologue by Averill, a restructuring of the early Wyoming scenes so that Nate is fully introduced earlier (several scenes are moved around, including a re-cut version of Nate's first scene with Ella, so that their relationship is established early on), additional dialogue here and there (especially about "philosophy" between Averill and Bridges in the cock fighting scene), a discussion between Nate and Averill before it is revealed that Ella is on the death list is deleted, and the ending is completely restructured-right after the cavalry leaves the battle, it cuts to the yacht, and the scenes of Ella and Averill packing and the subsequent ambush are intercut with the scenes on the yacht (with the beautiful woman on the yacht deleted entirely), with voiceovers of earlier lines between Averill and Ella dubbed over it. Very few scenes are deleted altogether, but most scenes are trimmed. Many lines of dialogue are re-dubbed (or re-written), or consist of alternate takes. See more »
I seriously don´t know why this movie got such a hostile reception when it was first released. Sure, it´s overlong and somewhat gratuitous in its depictions of sexuality and violence but so are lots of well regarded movies. I seriously don´t think that the people who hated "Heaven´s Gate" really understood it. "Heaven´s Gate" in its uncut form, much like "The Deer Hunter" shows the gross differences of living an insecure and dangerous life (like the immigrants and Averil in Wyoming) and living in comfort and privilege (like the settled "Americans" in Wyoming and Averil in the prologue and epilogue). Living a hard life is painful but it can also be invigorating as opposed to the dull life Averil leads in the epilogue. Also, as Michael Cimino took great pains to make the picture historically accurate , it is fascinating as a document of (and maybe indictment of) American life in Old West Wyoming. The dialogue is often genuinely clever and emotional. Combined with great music and cinematography, the movie works like a truly poetic work of art. Granted, "Heaven´s Gate", with its refusal to patronize the viewer, is not for all tastes. However, Hollywood turns out so much commercial dreck each year which is so much easier to dismiss as mindless eye candy (even when an example of it becomes a blockbuster) that "Gate" and Cimino really do deserve more respect. All people should see the uncut version at least once and then they should make up their own mind.
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