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Heaven's Gate

286 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Nov 20, 2012)
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(Feb 29, 2000)
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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.

Special Features

  • Collectible Trivia Booklet

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: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792843584
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,358 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Heaven's Gate" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

200 of 220 people found the following review helpful By MICHAEL ACUNA on May 14, 2005
Format: DVD
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 3-½-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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193 of 214 people found the following review helpful By Stephen H. Wood on August 30, 2005
Format: DVD
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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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robert Cyr on August 21, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
There is so much to love in this movie. First the male leads: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken and John Hurst (all at their peak) and the conflicted admiration and respect they have for each other. Add to those, Sam Waterston, as the cattle baron who despises the immigrates because they are poor and butcher a steer or two to feed their starving families, and Jeff Bridges the inn keeper, another friend of Kristofferson's James Averill.

Consider the grandeur of the film, which begins with Averill 's attendance of a graduation speech given my Joseph Cotton, Harvard Dean. It took me several viewings to notice that his speech presents the central theme of the movie (idealism and the taming of the lawless West, because Cimino purposely distracts the viewer with cuts to the antics of John Hurst who makes fun of the seriousness of the speech. This is followed by a scene of the graduation dance comprised of scores of extras in nineteenth-century suits and gowns waltzing in Harvard Yard (actually Oxford), which ends with a riotous free for all as the men beat each other as they scramble for the ladies bouquets atop a tree in the year. The theme of beauty vs. violence, which also underlies the movie.

And there is much spectacle to come: poor immigrants perched atop empty train cars as the locomotive steam engulfs them as it trails backward.

Then there is the greatest set piece in the movie, the roller skating rink where the immigrants circle while a Cajun band plays, ending with a solo waltz for James
Averill and Ella Watson, the town Madam played by the young and gorgeous Isabelle Huppert.
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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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