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"By all means see it on the big screen if only to appreciate the enormity of Mr. Cimino's efforts.  A fascinating artifact and a monument to Mr. Cimino's towering ambitions, as much for himself as for his art. He sought to recreate the Old West in the film, but the greater marvel is how he tried to replicate Old Hollywood and a dream world that once was - a world that these days is often made in computers."
– Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
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(1980) When the handlebar-mustachioed fatcats of the Wyoming Cattleman’s Association send a horde of hired guns, including Christopher Walken, to drive immigrant squatters off their land, federal marshal Kris Kristofferson does his best to avert the seemingly inevitable My Lai-like massacre — both men taking time out for visits with Isabelle Huppert’s frontier prostitute. Following his Deer Hunter Oscar triumph, wunderkind director Michael Cimino was handed both a lucrative contract for his next project — his own heavily fictionalized screenplay on the historical Johnson County Wars — and the coveted “final cut,” a clause the studio would later regret when the picture went 400% over budget. When Heaven’s Gate opened in November, 1980, critics got in line to deliver brutal body slams. Withdrawn after only a week, it reappeared four months later shorn of over an hour. Even post-press-furor, the public still stayed away and Gate recovered only $1.5 million of its $44 million budget. In Europe, far from the anti-Cimino hysteria, critics praised the longer version as a masterpiece and made it a cause célèbre — its critical support has swelled to even greater heights with the recent unveiling of this new restoration (supervised by Cimino) at the Venice Film Festival. Approx. 216 min. DCP.





“A REVIVAL WHOSE TIME HAS COME! At three decades’ remove, Cimino’s provocatively modern twist on old-school storytelling seems strangely contemporary. The grandeur of Cimino's historical vision is matched by the overwhelming landscapes and crowd scenes of breathtaking energy.  The images are a music unto themselves, filled with passion, mystery, and an exquisite, almost erotic control of time.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

"Finally, the winds of change have begun to blow favorably upon Heaven's Gate. Not only one of the most visually ravishing films ever made but also one in which the beauty of the images is matched by the meaning they carry."
– Scott Foundas, The Village Voice
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"The film’s colossal scope, cast of hundreds, and emphasis on spectacle places it firmly in the tradition of Cecil B. Demille and David Lean. Thirty-three years later, a healthy distance from the circus that surrounded its production, the more it begins to look like a masterpiece."
– David Fitzgerald, Cinespect

“A MASTERPIECE! A majestic and lovingly detailed Western which simultaneously celebrates and undermines the myth of the American frontier.” 
– Time Out (London)

“Like an opium vision of American bloodshed, re-creating and ballooning the Johnson County Wars into a self-mythologizing prophecy of corporate mercilessness. Vilmos Zsigmond’s mistily gorgeous cinematography is virtually an act of mourning in and of itself.”
– Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

Heaven’s Gate arrived during an era of particularly vicious American westerns... While ugliness defined and revived the genre in the 1970s, Heaven’s Gate represented a slight return to classicism — to larger-than-life Panavision spectacle and crane shot-managed majesty.”
– Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant