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Heaven's Gate 1980 R CC

This ambitious frontier epic features a lawman (Kris Kristofferson) and a hitman (Christopher Walken) who fight in a tragic class war between ranchers and starving immigrants

Starring:
Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken
Runtime:
3 hours, 39 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Western, Adventure
Director Michael Cimino
Starring Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken
Supporting actors John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Brad Dourif, Isabelle Huppert, Joseph Cotten, Jeff Bridges, Ronnie Hawkins, Paul Koslo, Geoffrey Lewis, Richard Masur, Rosie Vela, Mary Catherine Wright, Nicholas Woodeson, Stefan Shcherby, Waldemar Kalinowski, Terry O'Quinn, Jack Conley, Margaret Benczak
Studio MGM
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 edited...in 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 corrupts...to 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 well...in 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 crowd...so involving, so dynamic as to take your breath away.
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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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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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