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Heaven's Gate [Criterion Collection] [2 Discs] [Blu-ray] [1981]

  • SKU: 20595585
  • Release Date: 11/20/2012
  • Rating: R

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    50% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (2 out of 4)

    Special Features

    • Director-approved two-disc Blu-ray special edition features:
    • Disc one:
    • New, restored transfer of part I of director Michael Cimino's cut of the film, supervised by Cimino
    • New restoration of the 5.1 surround soundtrack, supervised by Cimino and presented in DTS-HD master audio
    • Disc two:
    • New illustrated audio interview with Cimino and producer Joann Carelli
    • New interviews with actor Kris Kristofferson, soundtrack arranger and performer David Mansfield, and second assistant director Michael Stevenson
    • Restoration demonstration
    • Teaser and TV spot
    • Plus:
    • A booklet featuring an essay by critic and programmer Guilia D'Agnolo Vallan and a 1980 interview with Cimino


    Heaven's Gate
    A notorious artistic and financial failure, Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate was blamed for critically wounding the movie Western and definitively ushering out the 1970s Hollywood New Wave of young, brash, independent filmmakers. Taking a revisionist, post-Vietnam view of American imperialism, Cimino used the historical Johnson County War incident in Wyoming to create an impressionistic tapestry of Western conflict between poor immigrant settlers and rich cattle barons led by Canton (Sam Waterston) and his hired gun Nate Champion (Christopher Walken). Attempting to mediate is idealistic Harvard graduate and county marshal Averill (Kris Kristofferson), who is both Nate's friend and his romantic rival for the affections of Ella Watson (Isabelle Huppert). However, war erupts, at great cost to all involved. Flush from his success with the Oscar-winning The Deer Hunter (1978), Cimino demanded creative control, and his insistence on shooting on location and building historically accurate sets and props multiplied the film's original budget to a then-astronomical $36 million. When United Artists premiered the original 219-minute version (sight unseen), they discovered that Cimino had produced an elliptical epic, compounding the box-office difficulties of making a Western without any major stars. Critics howled about Cimino's incomprehensible self-indulgence, and United Artists pulled the film after several days. Re-released five months later, 70 minutes shorter, Heaven's Gate bombed again, and MGM bought out the financially crippled United Artists. The ailing Western genre virtually vanished during the 1980s, Cimino's career never recovered, and Hollywood studios had had enough of bankrolling financially risky ventures by "auteur" directors. Heaven's Gate's reputation recovered somewhat after its video release, as it garnered praise from some viewers for such visually remarkable sequences as the Harvard dance and the final battle, as well as for David Mansfield's haunting score. Steven Bach's book Final Cut provides a full production history. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Kris Kristofferson
      Kris Kristofferson - Marshal James Averill
    • Christopher Walken
      Christopher Walken - Nathan D. Champion
    • Isabelle Huppert
      Isabelle Huppert - Ella Watson
    • Sam Waterston
      Sam Waterston - Frank Canton
    • Brad Dourif
      Brad Dourif - Mr. Eggleston

    Customer rating

    Rating 3 out of 5 stars with 4 reviews

    would recommend to a friend
    • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

      It shouldn't be possible for it to be this bad.

      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      I could probably write a book on why this movie is terrible, but here's the highlights. The story is a mess, the characters drift in and out with no purpose to their actions, the central conflict of the movie is forgotten for almost two hours in the middle of the film. The climax is incompetent in it's idea and execution. The cinematography is too hazy so you can't really tell what's happening a lot of the time. The sound design often covers up dialogue and makes many scenes completely unintelligible, and not in that interesting McCabe and Miss Miller way where you can pick up snatches of ancillary dialogue here and there. Should have been much better than it was.

      No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      30 Years ahead of its time


      If you want to understand just how dumbed-down American Culture is, you need to watch Heaven's Gate. It first shows you just how limiting the standard 90-minute to 2-hour format really is. Of course, 10 years after Heaven's Gate, 3-hour movies became all the rage after the release of Dances with Wolves (which was a simplistic and complete misappropriation of its source material), and now they are de rigeur. But few use the time to explore their topics in more depth or with more sophistication. Heaven's Gate will show you what cinema could be.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

      GREAT MOVIE (to fall asleep too!)

      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Seriously, this movie is HORRIBLE. I remember the video rental places actually RECOMMENDING this movie if you had trouble sleeping. NO JOKE. When it was first released on VHS, the entire family sat around the TV to try and watch this and within 30 minutes we were all completely out. Unless you need a great sleep aid. I would avoid this movie. I really can't believe that they are releasing this one again!

      No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      'Bout Time

      • Verified PurchaserVerified Purchase
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

      A new take of a very hated film. I actually really enjoyed it.

      I would recommend this to a friend

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