filmed and unashamedly
emotive, the epic western Heavens
is the story of a Harvard graduate who
returns to his home state of Wyoming as
a marshal to find the steady stream of
immigrants who have settled in the area
are being victimised by the wealthy cattle
and the county is on the brink
of an unjust and bloody range war...
FOLLOWING THE KILLING OF AN IMMIGRANT settler in Casper, Wyoming, in 1890, United
States Marshal James Averill (Kris Kristofferson) arrives, little realising
that all hell is about to break lose in the western movie Heaven's Gate.
Opening with his Graduation from the class of 1870 at Harvard, where the fine
Gothic building is the backdrop as the excited students led by James and his
friend William Irvine (John Hurt) celebrate and dance; the film then whisks
to twenty years into the future.
is beautifully filmed and
a terrific western
that travels well into the 21st Century...
the railroad station, which is heaving with immigrants, James is greeted by
his old friend Cully (Richard Masur), who tells him of the deep resentment of
the powerful, government-backed, cattlemen who own much of the land around Casper
towards the immigrant settlers whom they see as thieves and anarchists hiding
behind their supposed roles as farmers. This undercurrent is threatening to
spill over into an all-out range war.
As James becomes more involved in the disputes, he discovers that the cattlemen's
actions have Government backing that reaches up to the President himself. He
visits the woman he loves, Ella Watson (Isabelle Huppert), who runs a brothel
and who is herself an immigrant. He is later to discover that the Stockholders
Association has produced a death list and Ella's name is included
As the violence spills over, James seeks to protect Ella and the immigrant settlers
who are now facing the threat from vicious mercenaries hired by
the cattle barons by joining forces with them with the support
of Nathan D Champion (Christopher Walken), a rival for Ella's affections, and
John L Bridges (Jeff Bridges) as the bloody battle brings carnage and tragedy.
Based on the Johnson County War of 1892, Heaven's Gate was initially
vilified by critics but is now acknowledged as a tour de force of American cinema.
Painstakingly restored under the supervision of the Director, the film's recent
theatrical re-release has received huge critical acclaim.
Perhaps a little slow to get going by today's standards, Heaven's Gate
is well worth persevering with in the initial shots, which contain some superbly
choreographed dance sequences and a fine sense of period.
The vivid depiction of the range war is harrowing; but it is a fight for justice
and pulls the viewer into the action. Heaven's Gate is beautifully filmed
and unashamedly emotive; a terrific western that travels well into the 21st
Century and benefits from its talented, all-star cast.
Heaven's Gate also features: Sam Waterston as Frank Canton; Brad Dourif
as Mr Eggleston; Joseph Cotton as the Reverend Doctor; Ronnie Hawkins as Major
Wolcott; Paul Coslow as Mayor Charlie Lezak; Geoffrey Lewis as Trapper Fred;
and Richard Masur as Cully. Music is by David Mansfield; Cinematography is by
Vilmos Zsigmond; Produced by Joann Carelli; and Written and Directed by Michael
Cimino's epic and fully restored masterpiece Heaven's Gate is available
in the UK in both Blu-ray and DVD formats as two-disc sets, courtesy of Second
Sight Films, on 25 November 2013.
Restored Edition Blu-ray Catalogue Number 2NDBR4025 | Main
Feature Running Time: 216 Minutes | Double Disc release includes Main Feature
Blu-ray and Bonus Features DVD | RRP: £19.99.
DVD Catalogue Number 2NDVD3254 | Running Time: 207 Minutes
| Double Disc Release includes Main Feature and Bonus Features DVD | RRP: £15.99.
Special Features New Interview With Jeff Bridges and Cinematographer
Vilmos Zsigmond | Extracts from Final Cut: The Making and Unmaking of Heaven's
Gate Michael Epstein's acclaimed documentary based on Steven Bach's
"Heaven's Gate is beautifully filmed and unashamedly emotive; a terrific
western that travels well into the 21st Century" Maggie Woods
"Its status as a true wonder work of American cinema is now surely beyond
doubt *****" The Telegraph
"Heaven's Gate lives on as a landmark western *****" Empire
"One of the most beautiful, immersive films ever made *****" Time Out
"A beguiling and tragic masterpiece *****" Little White
"A monumental piece of American cinema… A revolutionary film *****" Cinevue