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Gates of Heaven (1978)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Comedy, Drama | October 1978 (USA)
A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

Director:

Errol Morris
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Cast

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

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A mennyország kapui See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gates of Heaven See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was one of the first to be included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Quotes

Floyd McClure: When I turn my back I don't know you, not truly, but I can turn my back on my little dog and I know that he's not going to jump on me or bite me. But human begings can't be that way.
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Connections

Featured in Sneak Previews: The Best of 1981 (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting look into death and dying.
24 March 2003 | by faarupj-1See all my reviews

At first glance, Gates of Heaven appears to be a documentary about the lives of people that run pet cemetaries. On second glance, you realize you are witnessing a visual essay on the subject of death and dying, and how these average folk deal with it.

There are esesentially three parts to the film. All deal with either the struggle to build a pet cemetery or maintaining a pet cemetery. The most interesting segment is with a family who runs a successful cemetery in the desert of California. You see generations of a family that has done nothing but run this business. They explain the philosophy behind why they choose to bury pets, and why pets deserve burial just as humans do.

Morris lets the camera do all the work. With the exception of two shots every other one is static. A talking head documentary that could probably fit the definition exactly. Morris knows when exactly to inject humor into the film, just enough to keep you interested.

If you saw this film nowadays, you would expect it to be on Lifetime or some other obscure cable channel. With a third glance and possibly a fourth, you can see the message Morris is trying to get across. Everyone has a way of dealing with death. It is just how you deal with it that determines how comfortable you are with it.


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