Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Heaven’s Gate (1980)

Directed by: Michael Cimino

Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt

Back before I started watching this last gigantic batch of VHS tapes, I had some friends give me “challenges” of a set collection of five films tied together with a theme. The last of those I hadn’t done yet was a five-pack of “box office bombs”, starting with Michael Cimino’s three and half hour long masturbatory western, Heaven’s Gate. Great.

Somewhere in the old west, a town is having troubles with cattle rustlers and horse thieves, and the local government has decided the best way to deal with this issue is to kill everyone suspected of being a thief, which may or may not include people they want to get rid of for political reasons. The people revolt when they hear about the news, and a revolutionary battle takes place. The main story, however, is about how Kris Kristofferson and Christopher Walken, who are on opposite sides of the fight, are both in love with the same madam (of the brothel-running variety).

This is a long, badly edited, boring movie. I can say two nice things about it, though. First, it had some really pretty scenery, which is of course why the movie was such a flop. They managed to spend $40 million on this thing, mostly on complicated shots and unnecessary retakes… but it makes the scenery nice. The second nice thing is John Hurt’s drunken Oscar Wilde-type character, who was great, but was sadly in very little of the film.

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About Reid

Born in a dumpster, died in a fire. View all posts by Reid

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