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954 Ratings

Heaven's Gate

Directed by Michael Cimino
United States, 1980
Adventure, Drama, Romance


A breathtaking depiction of the promise and perils of America’s western expansion, Heaven’s Gate is among Hollywood’s most ambitious and unorthodox epics. When a Harvard graduate relocates to Wyoming as a federal marshal, he learns of a plot to kill the area’s European settlers for their land.

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Heaven's Gate Directed by Michael Cimino
In laying out the triangular relationship between Walken, Kris Kristofferson, and Isabelle Huppert, Cimino follows an impulse to draw every scene out into a “moment,” then drizzling the results with David Mansfield’s treacly soundtrack. The aim appears to be American Visconti, but the result is an abiding monotony that is something like being force-fed lyricism as a goose is prepared for foie gras.
October 01, 2016
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Cimino made a film that’s both conventional and boldly original—a Western that entirely fits the norms and expectations of the genre while taking a radical approach to image-making and storytelling.
November 25, 2015
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[Cimino’s] aim was total immersion and he achieved it, for better or worse. He leaned heavily on a classical visual representation of the U.S, a vein first struck by Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven a few years earlier. The word “Heaven” in both titles is no accident. They strove to present the United States as a paradise lost, a notion borrowed from American realist painters.
March 03, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • Duncan Gray's rating of the film Heaven's Gate

    It didn't deserve its fate, but nothing can magick such leaden line-readings (and leaden lines) into a lost masterpiece. Cimino here cannot convincingly evoke the drama, or comedy, or romance, or vivid characters this Fordian epic aspires to. But ask him to film a plume of smoke, or a landscape, or a dance, or a killing, and you're in heaven. Drop him into the silent era, and he may have been one of the greats.

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Heaven's Gate

    Magnificent. Just be sure to see the full 3 hour, 48 minute version, not one of the chopped-up butchered cuts. The distributors who butchered this film, not Cimino, are responsible for the ruination of the venerable film company started by Griffith, Chaplin, Pickford and Fairbanks.

  • Zachary T.'s rating of the film Heaven's Gate

    Helped and hindered by its sprawling length; a sort of Stockholm syndrome begins to set in at the halfway mark. In terms of atmosphere and authenticity, the film is sublime, and Cimino's slavish devotion shows. Shot almost exclusively in the cool blue movie "magic hour" through a veil of Fuller's Earth Zsigmond blasted into the air with enormous fans, it really is a period photo come to life.

  • josé neves's rating of the film Heaven's Gate

    35mm, complete version. What makes me retract a little? The exhibitionism of Zsigmond's cinematography, full of astonishing effects or the character of Hurt doing Shakespeare in the middle of a space created for an epic feat. But it's certainly a rare film in its time, and much more at the present one, for its cinematic dimension bigger than art, for the complexity of mass movements, choreographed by a master camera.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Heaven's Gate

    The film that became superfluous with over indulgence and almost brought down a studio, and auteur studio cinema, plays now as a misunderstood and neglected masterpiece. One can forgive the leaden acting and under scripting for the shear brilliance of the technical filmmaking. Zsigmond's cinematography is breathtaking as is the attention to detail in all things. Cimino's best.

  • Ethan's rating of the film Heaven's Gate

    This movie got so much shit when it was released and I don't understand why. This is Michael Cimino's masterpiece, and that's saying a lot about the man who also brought us The Deer Hunter. Epics don't get much better or more beautiful than this one.

  • T. J. Mesen's rating of the film Heaven's Gate

    Top Ten countdown – #1 "It's getting dangerous to be poor in this country." The USA's national epic; its own internal heart of darkness. Cimino's obsessively shot and detailed western offers a somber exploration of the ideology of violence that Lady Columbia marched into the West. Unleashing the full potential of film formalism to create a profound melancholic indictment of the failures of "God's chosen nation."

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Heaven's Gate

    Cult movie one has to see once in his life. Incredible how Michael Cimino's left-wing ideas fit this unglorious episode of American history. When I see now the walls recently built along the US southern borders, I cannot but sadly smile; the immigrants of yesterday have become the landlords of today. I understand why Heaven's Gate was a lackluster. Recommended.

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