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  • Criterion Collection: Heaven's Gate [Blu-ray] [1980] [US Import]
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Criterion Collection: Heaven's Gate [Blu-ray] [1980] [US Import]

93 customer reviews

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Criterion Collection: Heaven's Gate [Blu-ray] [1980] [US Import] + The Long Goodbye [Blu-ray]
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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008Y5OWMK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,622 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Anorakus on 30 Nov. 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that Heaven's Gate is a marvellous film, and in no way deserving of the critical mauling it got on its release. Director Michael Cimino was criticised for bloating the Johnson County War, a relatively minor albeit brutal footnote in American history, into a three-hour-plus behemoth, but to do so is to miss what Cimino was trying to achieve. The film plays out as a requiem to the American frontier, and a paean to the visceral beauty of the West. The huge budget and Cimino's attention to detail are up there on the screen, and it looks wonderful. As with all great films, it isn't so much the events depicted that draw us in as the journey we're taken on to get there.

Having read the reviews I was fearing there would be precious little plot amongst the cinematic eye-candy, but this is not the case at all. This is one of the most absorbing movies I have seen. Cimino takes his time setting up the story, and the slow-burning Kristofferson-Walken-Huppert love triangle serves to heighten the tension and sense of dread leading up to the climactic battle sequence. Leading man Kris Kristofferson turns in a quiet but mesmerising performance as marshall Jim Averill, backed up by a solid supporting cast. At three and a half hours running time, Heaven's Gate is a long and nuanced film that audiences at the time - at least in the US - were perhaps not ready for. It's no surprise that the film was warmly received in Europe, as its unconventional narrative structure and slow pacing had far more in common with the French New Wave than other Hollywood fare of the time.

On to the UK blu-ray release from Second Sight. This is the sort of film that the format was made for. DP Vilmos Zsigmond's widescreen panoramas look fantastic, with saturated blue skies and green fields.
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102 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 22 Dec. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Michael Cimino's film would be held up as the archetypal Hollywood film that went vastly over-budget & failed to recoup the costs. Deemed a failure, jounalists gathered like vultures and books like The Final Cut (Stephen Bach) appeared- this would spell the end of New Hollywood- an era that had been ushered in with Bonnie & Clyde and Easy Rider would come to a close with this film- and Beatty's Reds (and perhaps Schrader's Lucas/Coppola produced Mishima). Art cinema would be off the menu- Bogdanovich & Coppola would have money problems, Scorsese would become a director for hire & Cimino would never recover. The High Concept would dominate the 80's- movies like Top Gun, Flashdance & Rambo would replace the possibilities offered up by auteurs like Cimino and Coppola. Our loss.
Heaven's Gate has dated wonderfully, this full-length 3hours 28 minutes version is much more satisfying than the edited take previously released (the 1980's would see many works cut to bits- such as Dune and Once Upon a Time in America). This is a far more satisfying Western than many that have followed it, such as Pale Rider, Dances with Wolves, Wyatt Earp, Tombstone & Ride with the Devil (but not Unforgiven or Dead Man). Cimino's epic ambition is all evident on-screen (photographer Vilmos Zsigmond captures a stunning world). As with Reds, you can see where the money went- a stunning recreation of an era in terms of art direction, design & costume.
This easily ranks next to Thunderbolt & Lightfoot and The Deer Hunter (whose epic vision was leading towards this epic-epic) and can a film with a cast including Kris Kristofferson, Isabelle Huppert, John Hurt, Christopher Walken, Jeff Bridges, Sam Waterson, Joseph Cotton & Brad Dourif be anything less than wonderful?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Changed Daily on 18 Mar. 2013
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
How did this film get such a bad reputation? Having heard little about it except that it was one of Hollywood's biggest financial flops, I bought this restoration with no great hopes. However, it is an astonishing film on every level. It feels and looks very much like The Deer Hunter, which one would expect from the same director. It deals with similar themes, and shares one of its lead actors. However, it is a more ambitious and far more confident film. It is ravishingly beautiful, epic in vision, and despite all the crashingly bad reviews it received at the time, it is riveting. The only segments I would have cut if cuts were needed, would be the prologue and epilogue, which serve little or no purpose, and were filmed as an afterthought (although the prologue still looks fantastic) Cimino could be accused of indulgence, and in terms of the budget, he probably was, but this is by no means the bad film we were told it was, and the huge expenditure of time and money is evident in every frame. It is beautifully paced, elegantly shot, and I can't recommend it highly enough. It has flaws, of course, but they are trivial compared to its strengths. This film killed off the Western, and United Artists, but it was a victim of its time. I can't understand why it gets on '50 worst movies of all time' lists, it seems just to be laziness on the part of the compilers, and I assume they base their assumptions on box office take alone. This is an intelligent, powerful film, and should never be put on the same lists as Showgirls or Pink Panther 2.
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