CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Drama, History
  • 1980
  • 217 mins

Heaven's Gate

Heaven's Gate

Synopsis

The film that nearly ruined United Artists and threw the career of Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino seriously off track is an excessive, but surprisingly nuanced and often beautiful work of art. A magnificent folly

About

Cimino came to his third film as Hollywood's new golden boy after the glorious success of The Deer Hunter. Like the previous film, Heaven's Gate is an epic story of Eastern Europeans in America who find themselves embroiled in an incomprehensible, violent struggle. It is also, like The Deer Hunter, a film that plays fast and loose with the historical facts. Cimino builds his story around the Johnson County war, an obscure conflict that took place in Wyoming in 1892 in which immigrant settlers were targeted by a group of conservative, upper-class East Coast businessmen known as the Association. Into this scene comes Harvard-educated Marshal Averill (Kristofferson) who sides with the immigrants against his old college buddy Irvine (Hurt). The action builds to a dramatic, bloody confrontation between the two sides that on its own, in Cimino's original cut, lasted for more than one and a half hours.

This complex, confused and confusing film fell victim to its vastly overblown budget. With Cimino's vision and ego out of control, the production ultimately brought its studio, United Artists, to its knees and all but destroyed Cimino's career.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Jeff Bridges, Isabelle Huppert, Sam Waterston, Joseph Cotten, John Hurt, Brad Dourif
  • Director: Michael Cimino
  • Writer: Michael Cimino
  • Producer: Joann Carelli
  • Photographer: Vilmos Zsigmond
  • Composer: David Mansfield

In a nutshell

Beneath the hype and the excess is a beautiful, moving, at times surprisingly subtle film that hovers precariously somewhere between greatness and folly.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Win Win

    Win Win

    Paul Giamatti stars as a struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach who takes in his client's troubled grandson

  • Film4 The Drop

    The Drop

    Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace star in a feature-length adaptation of a short crime story by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island), directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead)

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share