6.8/10
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209 user 122 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.

Director:

Michael Cimino

Writer:

Michael Cimino
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Popularity
3,503 ( 2,042)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kris Kristofferson ... James Averill
Christopher Walken ... Nathan D. Champion (as Chris Walken)
John Hurt ... William C. Irvine
Sam Waterston ... Frank Canton
Brad Dourif ... Mr. Eggleston
Isabelle Huppert ... Ella Watson
Joseph Cotten ... The Reverend Doctor
Jeff Bridges ... John L. Bridges
Ronnie Hawkins ... Maj. Wolcott
Paul Koslo ... Mayor Charlie Lezak
Geoffrey Lewis ... Trapper Fred
Richard Masur ... Cully
Rosie Vela Rosie Vela ... Beautiful Girl (as Roseanne Vela)
Mary Catherine Wright Mary Catherine Wright ... Nell (as Mary C. Wright)
Nicholas Woodeson ... Small Man
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Storyline

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 US 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 grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian | French | Polish | German

Release Date:

19 November 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate See more »

Filming Locations:

Butte, Montana, USA See more »

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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Partisan Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Dolby (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Real horses' entrails were used to add realism to the gorier scenes. 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

Billy Irvine: James, do you remember the good gone days?
James Averill: Clearer and better, every day I get older.
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Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Enter the Ninja (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

"Mamou Two-Step'
Written by Doug Kershaw
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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 jlandmanSee 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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