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Heaven's Gate (1980)

Kris Kristofferson , Christopher Walken , Michael Cimino  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)

Price: $34.89 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Brad Dourif
  • Directors: Michael Cimino
  • Writers: Michael Cimino
  • Producers: Charles Okun, Denis O'Dell, Joann Carelli, William Reynolds
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: February 29, 2000
  • Run Time: 219 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792843584
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,558 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Heaven's Gate" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Collectible Trivia Booklet

Editorial Reviews

"Richly textured and visually compelling" (The Hollywood Reporter), this lavish, epic Western retells the true story of Wyoming's infamous Johnson County Wara brutal conflict during which wealthy cattlemen, backed by the U.S. government, hired mercenaries to murder 125 immigrant settlers. From the incredible beauty of the magnificent landscapes to the explosive violence of the bloody battle itself, Heaven's Gate combines breathtaking cinematography, Oscar(r)-nominated* Art Direction and memorable performances by Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Isabelle Huppert and Jeff Bridges in a spectacular, panoramic and ultimately haunting look at the reverse side of the American dream.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
169 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Loss Of Innocence May 14, 2005
There is just no beating around the bush when people mention Michael Cimino's 1980 film, "Heaven's Gate." You either love it or hate it...there is only black and white when discussing this film. Having just seen the reconstructed director's cut, I will follow that trend and state: "Heaven's Gate" is a superior film.
I first saw the butchered, approximately 2+ hours version in the theaters several years ago and had to agree that it was pretty bad: incoherent, of course... badly both sight and sound. At the time it reminded me of those badly made European productions in which every actor is speaking a different language and after the fact, the film is dubbed into Italian or French. The film was literally a mess.
In its glorious 3-˝-hours+ state, though, "HG" is a pleasure to behold. It is a grand saga dealing with greed, the loss of innocence and how money name a few issues it tackles. It's scope is on the grand scale of such films as Luchino Visconti's "The Leopard," Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America" and Bernardo Bertolucci's "1900." What makes these films special, thoughtful and important though is that they all tell their stories from the personal perspective of individuals: and "Heaven's Gate" does this as the person of Jim Averill (Kris Kristofferson).
The film is gorgeous to behold (Vilmos Zsigmond was the photographer) but one big scene bears mentioning: the scene shot in the huge dance hall (actually called Heaven's Gate) in which the entire town is in attendance, everyone roller-skating to fiddle music, several cameras swirling around with the involving, so dynamic as to take your breath away.
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173 of 193 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy 25th Birthday, HEAVEN'S GATE! August 30, 2005
1980 marks the 25th anniversary of one of the strangest media events ever. There was an eagerly-awaited invitational preview on a Thursday for a four hour Michael Cimino western called HEAVEN'S GATE. The whole industry came out in force to see Cimino's first movie since his Oscar-winning THE DEER HUNTER (1978) and, at a budget of $40 million, a movie that had bankrupt United Artists. The result was apparently an unholy disaster-so awful that Friday opening day regular engagements were abruptly cancelled. Reviews were venomous, focusing much more on the hefty budget and how an arrogant auteur filmmaker had brought down a studio with his excesses. Roger Ebert was particularly hostile. The 219 minute movie was sent back to the editing room with Cimino and several original editors. In mid-1981, an all-new HEAVEN'S GATE was brought out at only 149 minutes. The same hostile reviewers, except for Kevin Thomas in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, still hated the movie for being too long and not having a coherent story. I saw that shortned print, adored the movie, and sent a rave review to Mr. Cimino. I got a very positive thank you letter from the filmmaker himself saying it was a hit in France. In America, I think the 149 minute print played for only two weeks in deserted theaters. Just for good luck, animal rights groups who had not seen the movie in any form were protesting the mistreatment of horses in the film.

Thank God for home video! While heavily censored TV prints of HEAVEN'S GATE still run 149 minutes, the uncut 219 minute roadshow version (which importantly never got a theatrical run for the general public) is available on letterboxed videocassette and DVD.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film! March 7, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Kris Kristofferson, John Hurt (not William), Christopher Walken, and Isabelle Hubbert gave their best performances ever in "Heaven's Gate" -- the film that was turned into a punch line by film critics and their wanna-be successors.
I just saw the unedited version at a special screening in New York City and it was amazing. The film is complex: Director/writer Michael Cimino presents shades of gray when examining the violent class and "ethnic" conflicts that take place between wealthy cattle barons and poor immigrant settlers that sought a better way of life in America.
One moment I sided with the cattle barons. The other moment I sided with the immigrants. What Cimino did was present both sides of the issue, showing the fundamental reason why these class conflicts will always exist.
The film forces you to deal with your own predjudices and explore the behaviors that arise when you are forced to survive.
If "Heaven's Gate" had been released today it would have won Best Picture, Cimino would have won Best Director, Kristofferson would have won Best Actor, and Walken would have won Best Supporting Actor.
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63 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaven's Gate November 28, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Like another of the reviewers on this service, I was in the audience during the opening week of Heaven's Gate in Manhattan. When I read in the newspapers a week or so later that it had been panned and was considered a "disaster," I was puzzled. I still am. The most puzzling comment of all that I have heard through the years is that the film is "incomprehensible," or "has no plot." I have no earthly idea why anyone would say that. Is it because we have become so used to short films that don't require us to think? The film's plot is very simple and very easy to follow. I don't know how anyone could be confused by it.
I'm also puzzled by negative comments about the acting. I had always loved Kristofferson's music, but until this film I felt that he was a lazy actor. Heaven's Gate made me a fan. The final expression on his face, frozen in pain, is exquisite. Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Jeff Bridges, Isabelle Huppert, Geoffrey Lewis, and Richard Masur are superb.
This film is a perfect comment on the Reagan years in American politics, although it was released only a month after his election. The idea of government troops swooping down on the side of big money has never been portrayed better. To those who have never seen the film, or those who inisist that it has no plot, I recommend that you rid your minds of all prejudice, and become ready to watch a film that will challenge the mores of American society.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly underrated
A highly underrated movie. Beautifully constructed and filmed. It suffered unwarranted bashing from the media at the time. Read more
Published 15 days ago by alan geoffron
5.0 out of 5 stars I like it enough to buy it
Heaven’s Gate is much more than a movie.
This film in famous or infamous as “the worst movie ever made” and/or “the film that sunk United Artist”. Read more
Published 16 days ago by James W. Durney
3.0 out of 5 stars Heaven's Gate
I enjoy this movie, and the scenery it shows of the East Glacier region of Glacier National Park. The story reflects the old-west character of the area.
Published 16 days ago by Mary Rice
5.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but original.
Ambitious, unorthodox epic with brilliant cinematography and authentic performances, Cimino's film is one of the great American westerns. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Lonas Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the Greatest Western Ever Made, but Quite Far From the Worst
Thank goodness for the Criterion Collection Blu-ray restoration of the full 216 minute film that originally premiered in NYC. Read more
Published 27 days ago by John A. Lind
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
A magnificent depiction of a period in American history. Even the cinematography is so expressive of the bleakness of the characters' lives. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Betty S. Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars Restoration is Great! DVD version
I viewed this DVD (NOT Blu-Ray) movie for the history of the Johnson County War. I saw either a TV or other movie on the war in the past, read the review, and saw the review... Read more
Published 1 month ago by michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Re release this movie!
This movie got such a bad rap in the beginning - for nothing to do with the movie itself - that it ought be rereleased! It is absolutely brilliant!
Published 2 months ago by Susanna Sandke
5.0 out of 5 stars Try it again
This is hard at first to watch.When it first came out yrs.ago I gave up on it.It was too slow.Now, many years later, I was totally engrossed by it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by VIRUSOFLIFE
3.0 out of 5 stars Cinimatic Porn
A perfect example of great actors getting lost in bad direction and a poor script.. so turn down the sound put some music on and enjoy the visual experience.
Published 2 months ago by Ryen C. Schimerman
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Topic From this Discussion
yes, please, the restored blu-ray criterion edition...not sure how much extra footage is out there - Cimeno reportedly put a screwdriver through some celluloid he had stored in his garage - but whatever we can get would flesh out the story and also make it even more gorgeous....truly, a great... Read more
Aug 19, 2011 by J. Harlow |  See all 3 posts
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