Michael Cimino studied architecture and dramatic arts from Yale; later he filmed advertisements and documentaries and also wrote scripts until the actor, producer and director, Clint Eastwood gave him the opportunity to direct the thriller Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974). But his biggest success was The Deer Hunter (1978) which won the Oscar for the Best Film. For another successful film he got in trouble: The Sicilian (1987) – critics accused him of portraying as a hero, with his biography, the Italian criminal Salvatore Giuliano. —IMDb
One of the most ambitious of American directors, with a truly tragic career. Cimino's epic and melancholic laments for a dying America, a compromised America, make him a key filmmaker in cinema's history. He was probably too honest to ever be popular in the States. No one since has had a better sense of the wounded soul of the nation. Indeed, he stands beside Ford in that regard. The Deer Hunter and Year of the Dragon are the finest, most complex, and most melancholy reflections on Vietnam and its legacy, while Heaven's Gate almost makes the search for the Great American Novel irrelevant.