Heaven's GateClosed Captioning
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Michael Cimino's controversial epic of corrupted idealism, set during the bloody Johnson County Wars of the 1890s, was detested by a majority of film critics upon its release and is now the subject of the "re-revisionism" that affects the reputation of many films and works of art. Some critics now regard "Heaven's Gate" (the film that almost brought down an American film studio) as a masterpiece...a film ahead of its time. The enormous cast includes Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Sam Waterston, Isabelle Huppert, John Hurt, Brad Dourif, Joseph Cotten, Jeff Bridges, Geoffrey Lewis, Richard Masur, Terry O'Quinn, Mickey Rourke and Willem Dafoe. The extraordinary cinematography is by Vilmos Zsigmond.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 39
- Fresh: 22
- Rotten: 17
- Average Rating: 6.1/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: Heaven's Gate' is something quite rare in movies these days -- an unqualified disaster.
Rotten: The balance of director Michael Cimino's film is so confusing, so overlong at three-and-a-half hours and so ponderous that it fails to work at almost every level.
Fresh: The lie of frontier idealism is debunked, and Vilmos Zsigmond's mistily gorgeous cinematography is virtually an act of mourning in and of itself.
Fresh: For all the abuse heaped on it, this is -- in its complete version, at least -- a majestic and lovingly detailed Western which simultaneously celebrates and undermines the myth of the American frontier.
First: Heaven's Gate is a masterpiece of cinema and storytelling. It is an epic examination of the 'American Dream' seen through the lives and perspectives of harvard graduates, cattle 'barons' and immigrants. It is a philosophical analysis of power structure and class warfare set against the background of Wyoming in the late 1800s. This is one of the best movies ever made .. but it made it too clear that the United States is not a land of equal opportunity .. and it was harshly criticized (although not for the real reason, which was its astute observations about class in America) That said ... Do Not Buy this version. The version offered here has been truncated so much it is worthless. As an example: In the uncut version, the immigrants often speak their native language (with subtitles). In this version, there are no subtitles and vital parts of the narrative are consequently eliminated. Do yourself a favor and pass by this version. See the uncut version and then you will really have seen the film.
See It Before You Blast It
There is much to admire in this film. And much to despise. It is very easy to jump on here and say "it's awful" give it 1 star and feel you have fairly criticized it because it "brought down a studio." But that would not be fair to it and to the actual story of Heaven's Gate. Without question it is not a perfect movie and you either love it or hate it. I personally like watching it. I find the photography to be stunning, some of the performances to be captivating (Sam Waterston and Isabel Hupert really shine) and some very powerful moments. Yet I am also frustrated by how poorly edited it is, how scenes are disorganized, too lengthy, or not needed. And the sound--wow, the mix can be atrocious. And yet, it does have "something" about it that can--if you can roll with it--really pull you in. There is a movie here--unfortunately it is overwhelmed with Cimino's desire to create a masterpiece first, rather than try and create an entertaining film.
A Masterpiece That Needs To Be Discovered
This movie is a real masterpiece that needs to be discovered almost 30 years after the release! Totally underrated.