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Heaven's Gate [VHS]

102 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Brad Dourif
  • Directors: Michael Cimino
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: 18 May 1998
  • Run Time: 210 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CJ7G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,450 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Michael Cimino writes and directs this large-scale Western starring Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Walken. Set in the late 1800s in Johnson County, Wyoming, the film follows the conflict between American cattlemen and European immigrants. Harvard graduate James Averill (Kristofferson) is appointed marshal to keep the peace, but clashes with his friend, gunfighter Nate Champion (Walken), who is working for land baron Frank Canton (Sam Waterston). Champion, like Averill, is vying for the attentions of Ella Watson (Isabelle Huppert), the madam of the local brothel, which only adds to the rivalry between the two men. Soon the situation in Johnson County worsens and war breaks out with disastrous consequences. The cast also includes Joseph Cotton, Jeff Bridges, John Hurt and Mickey Rourke.

From the Back Cover

Richly textured and visually compelling, this lavish, epic western retells the true story of Wyoming's infamous Johnson County War - a brutal conflict during which wealthy cattlemen, backed by the U.S government hired mercenaries to murder 125 immigrant settlers.

From the incredible beauty of the magnificent landscapes to the explosive violence of the bloody battle itself, Heaven's Gate combines breathtaking cinematography, Oscar-nominated Art Direction and memorable performances by Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Isabelle Huppert and Jeff Bridges in a spectacular, panoramic and ultimately haunting look at the reverse side of the American dream.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 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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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jen Wilson on 28 April 2012
Format: Audio CD
So much has been written about this movie that the experience of actually watching it is unique: you find yourself trying to ignore the critics, and just lose yourself in, what is, a pretty special film. Yes, it damaged the director's reputation. Yes, it bankrupted the studio. Yes, it failed at the time to live up to the hype. And yet, leaving all that aside, we have as sumptuously a mounted western as you'll ever see, and a complex, fascinating story. For too long people have been unwilling to forgive the perfectionism that went into the production. What they're missing is a film which takes the time to set up a recreation of a true chain of events which ought to be remebered - for comparison, watch the much shorter, glossier Johnson County War. This is the real deal. Buy the full-length Director's Cut, not the truncated version. If you love Hollywood history, especially the 70s when this was devised and filmed, then this is right up there in terms of significance with The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. Not to say that Heaven's Gate isn't flawed. There are traces of self-indulgence - moments when we want a gritty West, not touches of David Lean. But we should remain thankful that one man persevered with his vision towards the end of a time when films like this were still being made.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By DiveDoc on 8 Jan. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a fool I was: for a long time I have been put off by the reputation of "Heaven's Gate" as the undisciplined sprawl of an unfettered auteur. It's flawed, certainly; the exegesis of the plot is poor and some scenes remain enigmatic, but Cimino is a master of the panoramic set-piece and balances realism, intimacy, near-fantasy and violence with aplomb. The pace is European, but the violence surpasses Peckinpah. I can only assume that the reexamination of the American dream is unpalatable when the powerful are portrayed as fascists, even when dressed in the uniform of Commissars, as Sam Waterston frequently appears to be.
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