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74 Reviews
5 star:
 (35)
4 star:
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3 star:
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2 star:
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cimino's masterpiece finally finds its audience
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...
Published 12 months ago by Anorakus

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61 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cimino's epic is a tough movie to judge...
After the critical and financial success of Oscar darling The Deer Hunter, Michael Cimino had Hollywood, the majority of the media and more importantly, United Artists' executives at his feet. Given the budget of his choice, he decided to follow up his masterpiece with a script that he had been hoping to produce since his humble beginnings as a Clint Eastwood...
Published on 6 Aug 2004 by Luisito Joaquín González


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5.0 out of 5 stars Heaven sent, 13 Mar 2014
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I love this western. Well ahead of its time when first released. Excellent acting and direction. The soundtrack is very infectious . A sheer delight. Blu ray directors cut is a must have,and yet the film was slated on initial release, WHY!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes !, 10 Mar 2014
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Fantastic movie. I was always surprised it received such poor review when it went on general release.
Authentic feel of the old West. Plus the amazing KK
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed by young and old, 5 Mar 2014
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This was a successful Christmas present. Grandmother, son and granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed it. We loved it when it first came out; and it has lasted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If ever a film was harshly treated, this is it!, 5 Mar 2014
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I've loved Westerns ever since I watched High Noon aged about 8. Since then I've loved the classic cavalry films of John Ford, Red River, Rio Bravo, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven, Open Range - to name just a few.

I'd put Heaven's Gate right up there at the top. It is a unique achievement. Yes it is at times somewhat bloated and perhaps needed a little bit of careful editing, but the vast majority of what is onscreen in this, Cimino's restored version, is a joy. There are scenes and sequences here that are quite unique. I watched it first when I was maybe 14, on a VHS my father had rented because he'd loved the Deer Hunter. 26 years later it remains one of my all time favourite films.

The cinematography is wonderful. The score is wonderful. The cast is uniformally excellent and some - like Kristofferson - give career best performances. The sets - well, you can see where Cimino spent the studio's money!

I recommend that if you love film and are open minded enough to try a film with a sprawling narrative and which has a not totally satisfactory ending, then you try Heaven's Gate. It may just grab you and not let go.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get this on BluRay!, 2 Feb 2014
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A masterpiece...a must-see now that it has been restored to its former glory. And the quality is nothing short of amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars CRITERION DVD A GOOD CHOICE, 12 Jan 2014
The Criterion DVD is fantastic quality and is considerably cheaper than Criterion's Blu Ray. Also many if not most UK buyers will have multi-region DVD players (which can now be picked up very cheaply,unlike multi-zone BR players, which are still expensive and have reliability issues).
I would recommend the R1 Criterion version over the UK and French versions as:

1)it is fully uncut - whatever your views on animal welfare, this is one movie which needs to be seen without BBFC tampering, to fully appreciate the director's vision, which was truly of its time and could not be replicated today.

2)it has English sub-titles (please note, these have to be accessed by the handset as there is no option on the disc menu) - my viewing pleasure would have been greatly reduced had there been no sub-titles, as much of the dialogue is incomprehensible due to mumbling and/or background noise .. again a feature of movie-making during the 80s.

You can pick up a copy of the Criterion DVD on ebay for under £20 (including postage). That's not much more than the zone B UK BR.

And, oh yes .. the movie itself is magnificent!! It's easy though to see why is crashed in the US, due to its less-than-rosy view of the Old West, as compared with the same director's The Deer Hunter which offered a much more pro-American stance and was mega-successful with public, critics and Academy alike. But I think Heaven's Gate is the better film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best Western ever, 5 Sep 2013
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We viewed this great film a few years back and we, my wife Susan and me, are waiting for a long winter evening to curl-up and watch it again. Such brilliant filming, beautifully paced ... brill.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive photography., 13 July 2013
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This epic story is superbly acted with style and authenticity. It manages to capture the atmosphere of the period and the tension in the relationships of the characters involved. The photography has to be seen to be believed. Absolute magic. Very atmospheric.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Are We Half Way Through Yet?", 26 Jan 2014
Most films that have a three hours plus running time aren't that length because they're plot heavy; more often it's due to various scenes dragging on endlessly and a director who's given too much power. Heaven's Gate is the infamous movie that helped to bankrupt a major studio, mainly thanks to the bloated ego and reckless self-indulgence of one Michael Cimino. Despite the colossal 210 minute running time, HG has about the same amount of plot as a Hovis ad and considerably less charm. The pace is funereal, the action is impossible to follow and the whole project reeks of a meglomaniac moviemaker completely out of control. There are compensations along the way, notably some incredible cinematography from Hungarian lenshead Vilmos Zsigmond and the lovely Isabelle Huppert shedding her clothes whenever the mood takes her. Plus you'll never see another film where an inbred hillbilly with a monobrow rollerskates around a barn for ten minutes while playing a fiddle. Weird.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great flick :-), 9 Aug 2014
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Not sure why this film was mauled to death. Yeah, it's long, but it's brilliant. The scenery's breathtaking. And Chris Walken's sensational. According to another reviewer having this film makes you ahead of the crowd. I'd say so.
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Criterion Collection: Heaven's Gate [Blu-ray] [1980] [US Import]
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