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
That the same America which embraced 'The Deer Hunter' could chase out 'Heaven's Gate' with torches and pitchforks a mere two years later is both astonishing in its absurdity and tragically beautiful in its irony. Cimino's concerns remain fundamentally the same: community, friendship, ritual, landscape, survival, Americanism—the taking of life and the living of life rendered through powerful staging and exquisite color compositions. Looking forward to digging deeper into his oeuvre.
Probably, nothing is sadder in the world of cinema than what "they" did to this man; Imagine what he could've become if Heaven's Gate had been comercially successful, and yet, Year of the Dragon and The Sunchaser are two masterpieces. Cimino is undoubtedly the best american director since Ford.
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.