Heaven's Gate - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Heaven's Gate Reviews

Page 1 of 17
½ December 20, 2016
Underrated. Not a classic, not as good as The Deer Hunter, but much better than most critics would have you believe, even if it is a little bloated, self-indulgent and occasionally slightly incoherent. John Hurt's very good.
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2016
Lives up to its reputation of being a bomb. There aren't too many redeeming qualities to take from this wreckage.
September 8, 2016
From my understanding a person's opinion of this film may depend on which print you see. I don't think it deserved all the hate it received, but it didn't achieve its epic goals either. But it wasn't from lack of effort
½ July 28, 2016
The production design is breathtaking, and Christopher Walken is fantastic. You literally watch in awe as you realise how much money was spent on making this film.
½ July 10, 2016
Even after all these years, an epic failure!
July 6, 2016
I can only comment on the new Criterion version of this movie but its an astounding achievement with glorious cinematography and stunning set pieces. That said, it is over long and does take its time telling the story, but there is so much stunning work here that it is well worth experiencing. Too bad the media decided to hate it before it ever came out and used the story behind the making of it to ruin both the movie and the director's career.
½ July 4, 2016
Thirty-six years later, my own humble opinion has not changed. Despite the revisionism the movie is enjoying - and I'm kinda glad to hear that by the way - for me, this movie remains what it was back in when it was originally released: An achingly dull misfire. From frame one, you can hear the movie screaming "WATCH ME CAUSE THIS IS A MASTERPIECE DAMMIT!!!!" The actors performances, though not bad, reek of "I'm about to say the most important lines ever said in a movie - so pay attention." Now like I said, this is my own opinion, the movie isn't THAT dreadful, but at the same time, i totally understand why the critics went after it with the world's most sharpened knives. It wasn't the budget or the production history. It's simply that Cimino did not deliver the goods. And want to know something? I'm one of those who thought it was a big mistake to have the movie pulled from it's initial release. If Cimino had just let the movie play, we would now be arguing over a failed movie. But instead, we are arguing over a NOTORIOUS flop. And whatever sins Michael Cimino may have done in his life, I don't think he deserved the treatment he got after "Heaven's Gate".
½ July 3, 2016
150825: Number 12 of top 50 westerns? My ass. Terribly long for such a poor film.
June 3, 2016
Pacing and acting are sometimes questionable but the production values are magnificent. I loved the lighting and the sets and recreation of 1890's
Wyoming but the basic story of the two guys in love with the same girl is
Paint Your Wagon without the gold or the songs! And that triangle took up
too much time.
If this confrontation between immigrants and "stockgrowers" really
happened, then I'm grateful that this movie brings that history to light.
(Later, I found out the events didn't happen. The movie is apparently fictional!)
Cannot make out John Hurt's rôle. Also, Sam Waterson is lost for a great chunk of the movie.
The story (for it hardly has a plot) is too slight for such a lengthy movie.
March 3, 2016
All that really had going for this film was the period detail.
November 12, 2015
There are better epics, but who cares.
½ November 7, 2015
Yes, it's long and occasionally incoherent - but Heaven's Gate is within touching distance of being a masterpiece. It shares a lot of the qualities of Cimino's Deer Hunter: an unhurried prologue, a woman (Huppert) in love with two men, stoicism in the face of tragedy, a hauntingly simple guitar theme, luminous performances - not least from Kristofferson - and truly breathtaking wide-screen photography.
½ September 24, 2015
This is massive, grandiose filmmaking at its lavish, truly awesome, best! I have seen this nearly 4-hour film at least a dozen times, and I'm left awe-struck by its production beauty, and devastated by its story. I simply cannot understand the blistering criticism this film had to endure! I was not bored for a single second in this mammoth masterpiece. If I have any complaint it would probably be that the final epic battle scene does become a bit blunted by all the visual dustiness, who's-fighting-who confusion, and the ultimately all-for-nought killing and death. However, no doubt real war is, indeed, confusing and wasteful. The final, nearly silent and heartbreaking coda on the yacht hits me like a ton of bricks every time.... Stupendous filmmaking!
August 25, 2015
A brilliant made tragic epic, made all the more tragic by the controversy surrounding it. A rich, though at times confusing, 3 and a half hour epic
July 14, 2015
Notorious epic from Michael Cimino was responsible for nearly bankrupting Hollywood. What we have here is a movie with magnificent looks but no story. It's sort of about a gang of settlers on the lookout for immigrants to murder. The character motivations are glaringly (and fatally) inconsistent, along with its distracting musical score-which is also all over the place. Photography, sets, and grand scope all help immensely...but not nearly enough to confiscate it's biggest flaws. Vilmos Zsigmond did the striking photography.
April 25, 2015
Self-indulgence? Yes. Overpowering? Yes. Masterpiece? Yes.
March 13, 2015
Available currently on Encore, in spite of much of the negative reception, this movie is actually worth a watch. It is not a "great" movie. But, in spite of all of its shortcomings, I actually found much of the production, cinematography, and sheer production size, especially long shots of re-recreated Wyoming, filled with hundreds if not thousands of extras, to be impressive, and reminiscent of the bygone days of director driven cinema. I remember the early 80s being filled with much more impressive and significant director opus projects (such as Reds and Ghandi), and we can perhaps blame Heavens Gate fo for the end of this era, because the movie was such a financial and critical flop, that it gave rise to the end of the directors full control of projects, moving that control over to the studios. There have been some migration back to director projects, such as the various Kostner and Gibson movies of the 90s...But, overall, the pendalum that swings between artistry and commercialism, moved over to the dark side, thanks for Ciminos failed project.

But again, with that said, it is indeed worth a watch. The sets are truly spectacular, the directing, is actually, really good, and while the film was close to 4 hours long, as was not uncommon with these directorial projects...I rarely looked at the clock. There are several scenes of characters dancing in waltz, with the camera circling around the action, swirling us in to the moment. Cimino pulled me in to these stories and characters, in that way, pure camera work and cinema artistry. So, if you've got 4 hours to burn, there are worse things you could watch.

Actually, my primary complaint with Heavens' Gate, is that with all of the effort put in to recreating this Wyoming town, and te horrible land baron vs. immigrant war reality...Unfortunately, very little of these events took place in history. The stories are very loosely based on fact, but fall short. Why put all that money, and all those resources and time and talent, into telling a story, that appears geniuine, but is in fact, total fiction and completely artificial? That's not to say that I dislike a good fiction, but the movie is disingenous in this regard. The production and recreation was again, very impressive. Too bad it wasn't used to provide us with an actual historical context of Wyoming, circa 1890s.
½ February 26, 2015
This movie's biggest crime is that it's boring. Half the scenes in this movie should have been cut. There's supposed to be a war coming but there's no tension. We have to sit through this baseball game and this roller skating polka session instead of things that will advance the plot. I can't believe the final cut of this was 5 1/2 hours. Even the climactic battle scene drags and drags. This certainly isn't the worst movie I've ever forced myself to sit through - if they got a better editor, it might even be passable - but God, there's so little here.
February 14, 2015
A little long, but not nearly as bad as people make it out to be.
January 15, 2015
The cinema is stunning and the film's darker moments hint at greatness, however, the rest of the film is fairly dull, and even the great performances and intimacy cannot stop the whole ordeal from feeling overlong.
Page 1 of 17