Michael Reynolds is a rich oncologist who has a one hundred seventy-five thousand dollar sports car, a multi-million dollar house, and a new boost in his career. Brandon "Blue" Monroe is a ... See full summary »
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
Heavy snowfall made exteriors impossible to shoot when the production arrived at Kalispell, Montana, in May 1979. Cover shoots of interiors had to be scheduled to overcome this problem, but the sets had not yet been built, so construction crews had to work around the clock to get them ready. See more »
The period steam engine is a coal fired engine, with black smoke. In the West, steam engines had wide, open smokestacks for burning cheap, plentiful wood, producing white smoke and live cinders. In fact, piles of logs are stacked on the accompanying tender. See more »
After its disastrous premiere engagement, the film was heavily edited to 149 minutes for wide release in 1981. Full-length version (228 minutes) later restored for home video and syndicated television. See more »
A film not that dreadful, but understandably ripped
I'm only one of a very few people who has actually seen BOTH versions of "Heaven's Gate". A frequently asked question is "Why was it ripped apart so badly?" The answer lies in this story here:
In 1984 I rented "Heaven's Gate" in order to show a friend of mine who had wanted to know if the film was as bad as he had heard. About 50 or so minutes into the film, Averill walks into Casper, Wyoming, which at the time this scene takes place is 1890. The town is filled with many meticulously dressed pedestrians, and the streets are filled with horses and buggies. My friend starts laughing uncontrollably. I asked, "Did I miss something?" He pulls himself together and says, "You gotta be kidding. There ain't even that many people in Casper, Wyoming NOW."
That in a nutshell can easily describe what went wrong. The film reeks of a director desperately trying to convince us that this movie is very important and cries for us to think he's an absolute genius. Actors take long breaths between sentences as though they were going to choke on what they are saying (man, just wait till you get to the scene where the deathlist is read out - you truly believe he'll read all 125 names), while every shot is filled with either smoke or dust in order to give us the feeling that this is ART. Camino's intentions were honorable as I truly believed that he believed he was making a masterpiece. This is what happens when you go out to make a masterpiece. I had only wished he tried to go out and make a good western. Then this film might have worked.
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