A breathtaking depiction of the promise and perils of America’s western expansion, Heaven’s Gate, directed by Michael Cimino, is among Hollywood’s most ambitious and unorthodox epics. Kris Kristofferson brings his weathered sensuality to the role of a Harvard graduate who relocates to Wyoming as a federal marshal; there, he learns of a government sanctioned plot by cattle barons to kill the area’s European settlers for their land. The resulting battle is based on the bloody real-life Johnson County War of 1892. Also starring Isabelle Huppert and Christopher Walken, Heaven’s Gate is a savage and ravishingly shot take on western movie lore. —The Criterion Collection
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
Heaven's Gate may have been a financial disaster yet it was an astounding artistic triumph. Michael Cimino's masterpiece features Vilmos Zsigmond's astonishing cinematography of the wide open West (shot on location in the vast wilderness of Glacier National Park in Montana) and is a devastating epic which comes closer than any Western I've ever seen to capturing both the visionary promise and dark class warfare of America.
A climactic sequence in James Gray’s Little Odessa echoes Christopher Walken’s unforgettable entrance in Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate.
Independent Spirit Awards nominations, Daney on Godard, Jack Nicholson & Antonioni, a trio of Film Comment pieces, and more.
La Furia Umana is moving to print, Cimino presents a restored Heaven’s Gate and Phil Coldiron writes on 16mm in the digital age.
Pointlessly gigantic, but somewhat interesting, like a great edifice built out of tinfoil. Many scenes are just puffed up out of all proportion on their “significance.” A quiet dance in a empty hall… read review
It has been 30 years since this movie was first released, flummoxing critics and audiences alike. There had never been a movie quite like this to come out of Hollywood, and at nearly 4 hours in length… read review
This Film was first brought to my attention when I heard my father one night yelling at the T.V. in disgust the next day I found out that he had sat through this movie. His reaction which I could… read review