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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25.88%
Worth A Look: 5.88%
Average: 5.88%
Pretty Bad: 28.24%
Total Crap34.12%

5 reviews, 55 user ratings

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Heaven's Gate
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by Cochise

"United Artists lost heaps of money on this film."
2 stars

One of the most boring, but interesting films I have seen in a long time.

The plot is basically very simple. Marshall James Averill arrives in Johnson County, Wyoming. He arrives in the middle of a feud between the immigrants and the rich landowners. The landowners, led by Frank Canton, have drawn up a list of 125 residents of Johnson County marked for assassination. Also, Averill is in love with Ella Watson, a whore who is also loved by Nate Champion, one of Cantonís men.

The film was interesting because of its portrayal of the characters, custumes, scenery, and music in Johnson County.

An important part of American history was the role immigrants played in the Old West. It was interesting to see the mixture of languages used by the immigrants. (A true portrayal of the Ďmelting potí aspect of American culture.) The costumes were not the usual attire of cowhands that you see in John Wayne westerns, but portrayed the rag-tag look of the immigrants or the more dressy attire of gunmen, rich people, and lawmen (Look at any historical pictures of gunfighters and lawmen of the old west, and it is evident that many would dress up.)

The awesome scenery added to the interest of the film as well. Many of the beautiful shots looked like oil paintings.

The musical instruments used by the characters in the film (mandolin and fiddle) helped create the atmosphere of the Old West and did make the film interesting.

However, this film was one of the most boring films I have ever seen. First, it was far too long. There were several scenes that seemed to go on and on. For example, the dance at the graduation just kept going. As I was watching it, I kept expecting the next scene to begin, but it didnít, the students just kept dancing and dancing. The roller-skating scene was the same. (After seeing films for at least 50 years, one gets a sense of when a scene should end, and one can get uncomfortable when the length of the scene goes beyond the zone of comfort. This film went beyond my zone of comfort too many times.)

The film was also boring because the structure of the movie is flawed. There is a lot of beautiful scenery and fantastic shots, but the plot is too thin to sustain such a long movie. The characters are not well developed, and, unfortunately, almost half of the film is spent on the relationship between Averill, Champion, and Ella, and there is no focus on the conflict between the immigrants and the rich landowners.

The film has gorgeous scenery but shallow characters and a thin plot. However, if you have an interest in the Old West, you may enjoy this film in spite of its flaws.

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originally posted: 06/12/04 23:05:18
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/11/16 Bradley Hayman The worst movie of all time. Poor on a fundamental level 1 stars
4/11/15 FireWithFire A GROSSLY,Leftist-1960s-generation-distortion of the Johnson Co. War 1 stars
8/11/14 D. The R. Takes out-of-control self-indulgence to the level of a metaphysical art. 1 stars
11/25/13 Quigley Not the worst out there, but definitely one of the most boring films ever made. 2 stars
6/09/13 Fire With Fire Typical '70s US movie: Preachy,Leftist,Anti-American shit,plus it's interminably BORING. 1 stars
5/17/13 dr.lao A truly agonizing film experience 1 stars
3/08/13 Jeremy Kendal Heaven's Gate, albeit imperfect, will stay as a gorgeous masterpiece. 5 stars
10/27/12 dede This is worth seeing -- not nearly as bad as some reviewers would have you believe 4 stars
2/27/12 Mark Sawyer The real story here is that Deer Hunter is overrated--HG is better 5 stars
11/16/11 Dane Youssef Heaven is so ugly in this movie, you want to take a moment to consider the alternative. 1 stars
1/28/11 Josie Cotton is a goddess Not a great movie, but It has more merit then people will admit 3 stars
12/15/10 buzz gundersun the film went down for political reason. the children and grandchildren of the evil cattlem 5 stars
8/28/09 Jeff Wilder Bad sure. But I can think of 10 movies excruciatingly worse without doing any research. 2 stars
5/22/09 Duke of Omnium A train wreck from the opening credits to the epilogue 1 stars
1/01/09 brian Gorgeous but lost wandering around within itself. Worth seeing once. 3 stars
4/09/08 Bryan Stephens A beautiful, near perfect film. One day, the consensus will come around to recognizing it. 5 stars
2/11/08 zenshark Don't bother. 1 stars
7/20/07 Todd Cameron An important, de-mythologized look at the West. 5 stars
2/12/07 Spencer Steel Has to be seen to be believed 1 stars
1/30/06 Klaugartoff "One of the most boring, but interesting"... WTF? That's like "excellent, but really bad". 2 stars
1/16/06 Daveman Even the nice photography is superficial in that it only serves to exhalt vacuous nonsense. 1 stars
1/07/06 David Lormans Much better than its reputation 4 stars
12/28/05 Bill terrible 1 stars
12/27/05 joe hard to believe a film can be this bad while pretending to be an important epic 1 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins ahhhhhh! Makes my brain hurt. 1 stars
7/15/05 John sets no standards for boring, self indulgence and self importance 1 stars
5/01/05 Sergio The film with the bummest rap in film history. A near masterpiece! 5 stars
12/11/04 Lucas Stensland Big business controls gov. and murders the poor. Very relevant. Thanks Dubya. 5 stars
11/10/04 D. Kremer Too many people's knee-jerk reaction is to crucify this film? Watch it first. Really. 5 stars
11/01/04 Camilla Extremely beautiful 5 stars
9/14/04 Michael Don't believe the hype, an accomplished, beautiful film. 4 stars
7/19/04 sdfr don't know why the bad word of mouth, this is a good movie! 4 stars
7/04/04 Mary Simultaneously ultraviolent and ultraboring; an amazing accomplishment! 1 stars
6/25/04 Karen Stockdale I so wanted to admire this film - but instead I just love it 4 stars
6/21/04 Xavier R. Maybe I'm the 2nd rating Awsome but not the last 5 stars
3/12/04 Chris J. Who on earth are the 19.35% that rated this film "awesome"? 1 stars
12/07/03 Mike The ,ost painful film I've ever watched. It sucks! 1 stars
11/27/03 John mr cimino's overindulgence in his non existent genius - good music for what it's worth 1 stars
11/22/03 adguy If Ed Wood had been given a blank check, his movie would have looked like this. 2 stars
4/11/03 Earl Dittman - Wireless Magazine The most justly maligned film in cinema history. 1 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Magnificent photography; godawful story and characters. 1 stars
2/12/02 john james could've been a great film, but it was so poorly written. stunning cinematography, though. 3 stars
8/21/01 Alan Stuart The very good elements do not make a convincing whole 3 stars
6/19/01 Steve Langton The most unjustly maligned film in cinema history. 5 stars
4/11/01 iCaptain Yossarian! Confused but forever breathtaking. 5 stars
10/02/00 bobabooey It seemed like it was 3 DAYS long! 1 stars
7/19/00 iCaptain Yossarian! The best movie I've seen. Has all the coherance it needs to keep your attention! Top notch 5 stars
2/27/00 Steve Magee Great photography,Great music, Great Film. 5 stars
2/19/00 Joe Morgan Excellent fucking movie. Excellent detail 5 stars
1/16/00 Steve DeLisle Cimematography, great! Everything else, bad! 2 stars
10/07/99 Larry Gannett Millions went starving in '80 for the cash shilled out to this dreckfest. 2 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Ive never seen anything that is quite as fucking shit as this pile of crap. 1 stars
11/25/98 little jerry I wanted to say it is the most justly maligned film of all time but it isn't that good. 3 stars
10/24/98 Vincent The most unjustly maligned film of all time- a masterpiece 5 stars
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  19-Nov-1980 (R)
  DVD: 29-Feb-2000



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