Time has since pointed to Heavens Gate as the beginning of the end of the American auteur explosion of the 70s. Ive always been reluctant to see this because Im an admirer of Cimino and didnt want to confirm the bad reputation heaped onto it. But I now fall in the camp that thinks this movie is actually damn near great. Deer Hunter and Heavens Gate both show a quality that Cimino had early on: great evocations of time and place. It was one of his greatest strengths and Heavens Gate dwarfs Deer Hunter – which I dont consider an easy task at all. A large part of that had to do with Zsigmonds eye and ranks among some of his absolute best work. And the music by Mansfield is a beautiful complement to the images. The content too deals with a subject Ive rarely seen in American cinema: whites as minorities. The fact that many whites emigrating to American soil were seen as undesirable foreigners is an aspect of U.S. history lost on many Americans today. People have forgotten that the concept of white majority is something that was only recently created. And my opinion is that Heavens Gate deals with that with exceptional clarity and a sure hand. That is not to say it is perfect by any means though. And the stories about what went on behind the scenes are insanity. But much like Matewan by Sayles, it is a uniquely American film that deserves another look.