Heaven's Gate

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MGM Released 1980

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Movie Summary

Director:
Michael Cimino (I)
Released:
1980
Rating:
R
Heaven's Gate is the infamous 1980 Western drama from acclaimed director Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Year of the Dragon, Desperate Hours). The film is the fictitious accounting of the Johnson County Wars of the 1880's when land barons, cattle barons and other marauders in suits were having immigrants killed for stealing a cow or two to feed their families and themselves. Frank Canton (Sam Waterston) is the All American leader of 'The Association'', a group of even more incredibly ugly members of the Human race on American soil, breathing the same air of freedom as the enemy to their bottom line. These are the hoity-toity 'self-made' men who put greed, power and profit above the 125 names they collectively put on a 'Death List' of immigrants. These American men in the Land of the Free, of course, hire others to do their killing for them.

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Metacritic Score

  • 75

    Slant Magazine Joseph Jon Lanthier

    To his credit, Cimino renders us helpless not before carnage or greed, but before his epic's breadth of motivation and circumstance. It's not the past's ugliness that terrifies us ...

  • 38

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    This movie is a study in wretched excess. It is so smoky, so dusty, so foggy, so unfocused and so brownish yellow that you want to try Windex on the screen. A director is in deep t...

  • 38

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Jay Scott

    The relationships between the characters are designed to climax in the slaughter, but by then the static images, the lack of rhythm and the paucity of intelligence (Heaven's Gate i...

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Themes

Military & War, Historical