Heaven's Gate (1980)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: R
Genre: Western, Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Cimino
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 15, 2001
MGM/UA - Official Site


as James Averill

as Nathan D. Champion

as Billy Irvine

as Frank Canton

as Ella Watson

as John H. Bridges

as `The Reverend Doctor...

as Beautiful Girl

as Beautiful Girl

as Trapper

as Mayor Lezak

as Large Man

as Photographer

as Capt. Minardi

as Morrison

as Mrs. Eggleston

as Jake

as Kopestonsky

as Mrs. Kopestonsky

as Mrs. Lezak

as Russian Merchant

as Mr. Kovach

as Mrs. Kovach

as Mercenary in New Sui...

as Steeka

as Little Dot

as Jessie

as Nick Ray

as German Merchant

as Czech Merchant

as Zindel's Clerk

as Member of the Heaven...

as Emigrant Boy

as Member of the Heaven...

as Governor of Wyoming

as Moustached Mercenary

as Bearded Mercenary

as Fighting Bulgarian E...

as Bulgarian Emigrant's...

as Chicken Fighter

as Canton's Bodyguard

as Wolcott's Bodyguard

as Miner Mercenary

as Harvard Class Marsha...

as Irvine's Girlfriend

as Mr. Eggleston
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News & Interviews for Heaven's Gate

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Critic Reviews for Heaven's Gate

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (9)

On a purely sensory level, Heaven's Gate is overpowering.

Full Review… | April 1, 2013
Top Critic

If anything, Michael Cimino's inert disaster of a Western has gotten worse over the years ...

Full Review… | March 19, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

The longer version is impressive as long as the characters and settings remain in long shot; only when the camera gets closer do the problems start.

Full Review… | March 2, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

It really is a stinker.

Full Review… | March 2, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Top Critic

Neither Kris Kristofferson nor Christopher Walken, both of them fine actors, can prevail against the relentless scale and movement of the production.

Full Review… | June 8, 2015
The Spectator

Audience Reviews for Heaven's Gate

worth watching but much of the criticism is well founded imo. every scene goes on too long. period detail is exquisite and it's one of the most beautiful films i've seen but everything here is just too big. the story needed more focus. maybe a great two hour film in here somewhere

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

So, I'd finally decided to watch this all the way through after years of putting it off. Is it a bad film? Well...kinda. It's also a case of reputation preceeding the actual film. This isn't one of those thin, blown-out silly Kevin Costner productions. The acting wasn't bad, either. Sam Waterston, Jeff Bridges, Brad Dourif and Mickey Rourke are good in small roles. It's nice to see Walken play a complex character, something sorely lacking from his career, as of late. The lush cinematography is also top notch.

What the film does suffer from is too much ambition, poor pacing, a wandering narrative that's not necessarily difficult to follow, but is tedious. Those scenes, such as the opening graduation, not only droned on at a length unnecessary to make their points, but the director had spent millions of dollars on elements which were irrelevant. I understand a director wanting to take his time to tell a story and immerse the audience into his world, but fucking come on already. There have always been harsh criticisms towards this movie, many by those who may have never seen it. I will say that some of those harsh criticisms are valid.

El Hombre Invisible

Super Reviewer

Aside from some questionable looking treatment of animals and a sad lead actress choice, I can't quite understand why this film did not do better. It's gangbusters! I've seen way shorter films that seemed a hell of a lot longer, I kid you not.

Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

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