7.5/10
4,781
26 user 57 critic

Gates of Heaven (1978)

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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
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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.
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Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
An all-time favorite. A quirky, poignant, and sometimes hilarious look at man's relationship with his pets.
1 August 2005 | by jlancaster-1See all my reviews

I first saw this movie in a college theater in its initial release. The movie poster claimed it was "Not quite a movie about pet cemeteries." I didn't know what to expect, but I have always liked the offbeat. This movie, which even Roger Ebert calls one of his all-time favorites, turned out to be offbeat and much, much more.

Without poking fun at his subjects, Morris exposes us to the world of pet cemeteries--both the owners and caretakers of them and the people who've placed the remains of a cherished pet in their care. Sometimes we are moved by empathy; other times we laugh out loud at the preposterousness of it. (Are they for real?) At no time does Morris pass judgment. He leaves that up to us.

Along the way we meet the owner of a rendering service, and learn what happens when the circus comes to town. We learn that "God" is "dog" spelled backwards, and we meet an aspiring musician. Morris captures on film the things that make us human: grief, love, self-importance, and an unabashed silliness. The result is a quirky, poignant, and sometimes hilarious look at man's relationship with his pets.


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