216 mins (325 mins - original version / 219 mins - theatrical
version / 149 mins - edited version)
W: Michael Cimino
DP: Vilmos Zsigmond
Ed: William Reynolds, Lisa Fruchtman, Gerald Greenberg &
Mus: David Mansfield
PD: Tambi Larsen
Kris Kristofferson (James Averill), Christopher Walken (Nathan
D. Champion), John Hurt (William C. Irvine), Sam Waterston (Frank Canton), Brad Dourif (Mr. Eggleston), Isabella Huppert (Ella Watson), Jeff Bridges (John L. Bridges), Joseph Cotten (The Reverend
Notoriously known as the film which nearly bankrupted United
Artists, the production of Heaven's Gate has since become a cautionary tale of Hollywood folklore when it comes to studio profligacy and writer-director ego projects.
I've only viewed the 216 minute version, it was as it comes on
the DVD release and I really don't think I could take the longer edits, but it has to be said that this film is an incoherent mess. This western opus centres around a small town in 1890's
Wyoming, where tensions build between land barons and European immigrants.
In truth, the story behind the making of the film is more
interesting than the film itself, plagued by expensive reshoots, animal cruelty, cast member unrest and Michael Cimino's dictatorial stranglehold on all aspects of the production, including the
order that an entire set be demolished and rebuilt.
Aesthetically beautiful it may be, but the storyline is
ridiculously boring. It's little wonder that Heaven's Gate has become one of Hollywood's biggest jokes.