Michael Ciminos bleak anti-western based on events in 1890s Wyoming. Sheriff James Averill attempts to protect immigrant farmers from wealthy cattle interests, and also clashes with a hired gun, Nathan Champion, over the woman they both love, Ella Watson. Both men find themselves questioning their roles in the furious conflict between wealthy landowners and European immigrants attempting to build new lives on the American frontier, which culminates in a brutal pitched battle.
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What's most dismaying about this much-maligned epic disaster is how much ofthe 219 minute version is actually quite good. Vilmos Zsigmond'scinematography is stunningly beautiful, David Mansfield's score iswonderfully evocative, and the sheer scale of some of the sequences isabsolutely breathtaking. So it's a pity that the soundtrack mix is so badwe can't hear most of the dialogue in crucial scenes, and that the script isso dire that it probably wouldn't help if we could. Key questions whichmost films answer (ostensibly, at least) in the first thirty minutes Â Whoare these people? What are their relationships? What do they want? Â areleft largely unaddressed. The audience is left floundering among admittedlybeautiful set-pieces which make little sense, and overlong scenes which addnothing to a story we can't understand. It's a shame, because there is theessence of a great story here: starving immigrant landholders legallyexterminated by ruthless cattle barons, and the idealistic minority who tryto prevent their slaughter. That's dramatic; that's exciting; that's fullof the necessary conflict. But in Cimino's hands Â as a writer at least Âit becomes directionless, obscure and, with the exception of one or twobloodthirsty shoot-outs, relentlessly dull. With a few new expositoryscenes, a cleaned-up sound mix, and some ruthless editing, this would havebeen a decent film. One day, some audacious team of filmmakers is going totackle this story again. But only when 'Heaven's Gate' is long forgotten,and Â if the public reaction in 1980 is any indication Â when Americanaudiences are ready to face up to the moral ambiguity which lies at theheart of so much of their history.
I'm only one of a very few people who has actually seen BOTH versions of"Heaven's Gate". A frequently asked question is "Why was it ripped apart sobadly?" The answer lies in this story here:In 1984 I rented "Heaven's Gate" in order to show a friend of mine who hadwanted to know if the film was as bad as he had heard. About 50 or sominutes into the film, Averill walks into Casper, Wyoming, which at the timethis scene takes place is 1890. The town is filled with many meticulouslydressed pedestrians, and the streets are filled with horses and buggies. Myfriend starts laughing uncontrollably. I asked, "Did I miss something?" Hepulls himself together and says, "You gotta be kidding. There ain't eventhat many people in Casper, Wyoming NOW."That in a nutshell can easily describe what went wrong. The film reeks of adirector desperately trying to convince us that this movie is very importantand cries for us to think he's an absolute genius. Actors take long breathsbetween sentences as though they were going to choke on what they are saying(man, just wait till you get to the scene where the deathlist is read out -you truly believe he'll read all 125 names), while every shot is filled witheither smoke or dust in order to give us the feeling that this is ART.Camino's intentions were honorable as I truly believed that he believed hewas making a masterpiece. This is what happens when you go out to make amasterpiece. I had only wished he tried to go out and make a good western.Then this film might have worked.
This review is from: Heaven's Gate (Criterion Collection) (DVD) The folks at Criterion are downright heroic, as well as masterful technicians. My five star review is really about the quality of the restoration. A movie that I had previously seen as a relentless brownout has emerged beneath the virtual grime to shine with all the beauty of the Idaho and Montana landscapes in which it was filmed (Oxford looks pretty damn great too!). What we now have, then, is a cinematographic masterwork, a film whose colors and careful framing rise to the level of a true and glorious work of art.I'm not sure whether I will ultimately say that the whole package is worth five stars, but it's at least a four star film. Sure, it has its flaws, but the occasional messiness of the story and plot recapitulate the messiness of history. Without idealizing the Eastern European immigrants who have been targeted by wealthy cattle barons who cannot stand the thought of losing a single head of cattle to starving farmers (immigrants=wolves?), the film celebrates their presence in America by simply showing who they were, warts and all. The lead roles are suitably understated (though Huppert and Walken really shine) so that the grand and tragic historical themes remain constantly at the fore. While I doubt that this film is as great as The Deer Hunter (how many films are?), it's a worthy follow up to that masterwork, and in no way the fiasco that so many so quickly proclaimed it to be.Thank you, Criterion, for letting this work shine as it was intended to shine!
For the the scorn this movie attracted on release and all the legendsthat have built up around it's traumatic production in three subsequentdecades, you'd anticipate something really REALLY bad. And you'd bewrong. It's not great but it has more than it's share of wonderfulmoments. The problem is you need to wait a while for each to comealong! Then at the end you're left hunting for the point of many plotaspects. Why did this happen, and why did we see that when it seemed tohave no bearing on the story? After so long in your seat you could beforgiven for feeling these loose ends should have and could have allbeen tied up to everyone's satisfaction, no matter who convoluted theymight be.What you do get is a 220 minute art movie with some of the mostsumptuous images ever committed to celluloid. Fantastic sets, fabulousscenery, wonderful camera-work, great composition and atmosphere youcan taste, but a storyline that needed far more substance to sustainthe extraordinary original length. The preamble, set in Harvard (filmedin Oxford, England) and the final sequence set on a millionaire'syaucht in Chesapeake Bay , seem out of place. Yes they look great,butthey go on and on... The college waltz scene is wonderful to watch, butit contribute enough story to warrant so much screen time? Thefull-length college speech by John Hurt's character is simply overlongand tedious in the extreme. The same can be said for much of the battlesequence, which itself was originally edited to run longer than thelength of an entire normal feature film. Quite why is hard toimagine.It's already repetitious as it is. Of the actors, Hurt is goodbut has little to do, Kristofferson is gritty, moody, gruff and verywell cast indeed, the much-maligned Isabelle Huppert, playing thebrothel-madam is actually rather wonderful. The famous negative quotewas that she looked "like a potato". Well she's the prettiest darnpotato I ever saw! Her accent, the source of great pre productionstrife, is of no importance at all to the movie. So she sounds French?So what? She's radiantly photographed, acts well and fits the part.What else did they want? (Sally Field apparently!) Walken's characteris very odd, his make up even odder (eye liner?) and why is the lovetriangle so poorly defined despite the time it takes to unfold? Bridgesas the saloon/rink-owner is excellent but again his part in the plot ispoorly stated... The music is great too.The roller-skating fiddleplayer you see in the rink is the composer. So much talent for one soyoung. It's just such a shame about the flaws in the screenplay, as thewhole film looks so good frame-for-frame! David Lean himself would havestruggled to better the imagery, but he'd have tightened up the storyand probably brought the movie in for half the eventual cost and halfan hour shorter! For all that it remains well worth anyone's while towatch - I've seen it three times - it's not a film that lets go of me,which says something for it, or me!
Having heard interviews about this new version of the film, I am awareof the history of this movie. I was prepared to give it a chance as thepeople talking about this restored version seemed to be reallyenthusiastic about it. It is important to note that this is not a"Director's Cut" as the original director threw in the towel after theproblems with the original release.The people responsible for this restored version are John Kirk and thecinematographer of the original movie. Kris Kristofferson is alsohelping promote it and gave a taped introduction to the screening I wasat thanking us for coming and saying this version had only ever beenseen by the cinematographer and director before.It is really disappointing that this movie went so badly on it'soriginal release as if it had been made in the 90's it would have donewell alongside such films as Dances with Wolves. The money problems ithad are dwarfed by films such as Titanic and Waterworld (which madeit's money back!) There is no doubt Kris Kristofferson would have gotan Oscar nomination for it too.For those of you who like action, Kris Kristofferson gets to punch upChristopher Walken in this film. Also there Kris walks around shirtlessfor those of you who think he is sexy.You can really see where the money went on this production as thebuildings look like they are real and the sets are really complete. Thecostumes are also great and really fit the period also.Special mention must also go to the soundtrack which mixes traditionalsongs with a strong orchestral score. Look out for the "Heaven's Gateband" (including the roller-skating violinist) during the townsequences also.This film is only getting a limited release in cinemas so I wouldrecommend picking it up on DVD. It hopefully should do very well thereas people love getting "special editions" of movies. For those of youwho think you wouldn't be able to watch it in one sitting, it wouldalso be a great movie to watch over two nights.
Had never seen (nor heard of this film) until the last couple ofmonths, when the original was released to the cinemas here in a "DolbyDigital New Panavision print". Well, I can't see anything "new" or"restored" about this, except that it wasn't the "edited" version thatwas apparently released in 1981 in the USA after some (justifiably) badpress.Here are this cinema lover's problems with it: 1) Slow and overlongscenes, and requires much editing. 2) Has lacklustre focus. 3A) Poorsound: Could not hear the dialogue during scenes with noisybackgrounds, whilst other times it left one wondering if they werespeaking English. 3B) Lack of subtitles for non-English dialogue. Oftenit is not important as one eventually understands the approximate pointof a non-English dialogue exchange, but here there is QUITE a bit...and when also considering 3A, there is DEFINITELY a feeling of"missing" quite a lot of the story. 4) A poor "restoration" (perhaps itwas a re-release of the original 219min print?). 5) Poor film qualityor photography. 6) The film is very unclear as to what point it wasattempting to make. It was understood (during the screening) it dealtwith the plight of new immigrants, but it FELT more about beingSOMEWTHING in regards to the protagonist - and/or perhaps his view ofthe world. 7) Leaves too many plot & character questions unanswered. 8)Badly directed (or should this be #1?).The only good thing was the artistic direction (sets, locations, etc);the acting wasn't bad either (when one could actually hear thedialogue).It makes one wonder how a film could be so bad, when it contains suchgood actors - who at the time, were either at the top of their game orwere about to become famous through their future work). This obviouslyproves (once and for all) that having the best actors does notnecessarily make a good film.One wonders if the original re-cut 149min version is any better, butreports (and other comments here) suggest otherwise. So it only gets1.5Â½ out of 10 (for the scenery and acting, when it "shone through".
This great film never showed up in my town, so actually I didn't have anyopportunity to watch it until the late 80'es when I caught it on Germantelevision.I was expecting something of a disaster, and found instead a well-actedgrand western with superb location work. The tiny tube couldn't reallydamage it and there's almost not a dull moment in this 4-hour film, so Ihope to see it once again on the big screen.What a spectacle that would be! Don't miss it, if you ever have thechance.Unfortunately the harsh treatment of "Heaven's Gate" at its opening ruinedMichael Cimino's career and he moved from the passable ("Year of theDragon") to the boringly ludicrous ("The Sicilian") and the screechinglydumb ("Desperate Hours").
If this movie were REALLY Heaven's Gate...then let us NEVER open it!!! If anyone tells you that this film is good don't believe their Tomfoolery. Thanks.
Okay, Rog, "poorly filmed", huh. It's shot among some of the most beautiful landscapes of our country for starters. Every freaking shot counts, as if it were a moving painting, the field of view is the canvas in every scene. Some of the shots are even filmed in a hazy yellow, perfect. What better way to portray a western sunset feeling then to make everything the color of the sunset? And it's not like it's out of place, not like if it were red or green or anything. It is just in the realm enough that it seems like it was just shot with old film. I can see why many people wouldn't like it in our day and age, though, especially if they are for the American government at this point, because it is the same crap that is happening. The rich hire the poor and weak to kill the poor and weak and on an even lower note, the main characters couldn't change their class as much as they wanted to. They just were who they were, who they were destined to be in a way. So many subjects are touched on throughout the film, it is surprising that so many critics missed them. This is a film made for a reader's mentality. A must see film.
I have just watched the 2 part VHS-version of this film (Oct, 2003). Given that the main story line is so similar to everyday news now, it wasn't as eye-opening or revolutionary for me as it might have been in 1980 (and, I don't mean to devalue the social justice issues). I became interested, though, in the story of the woman (Ella, the brothel owner) whom two men "wanted". Nate - up until then a "bad guy" (killed the poacher Michael Kovach) - loved and wanted her enough to ask her to marry him (though we never understand why he didn't try to save her earlier from her fate on the death list). Jim Avril (for the most part a "good guy") asked her several times to "leave there", "come away with him", etc. Eventually, Ella tells Jim that Nate had asked her to marry him ... long pause, but Jim seems only to be sucking on his pride (or something); he won't do the same. We aren't sure why not (is he married?). This story of what a woman wants was potentially a great story. Though we saw much in Ella's face, her dialogue was restrained; she didn't beg Jim to act but didn't make a display of sorrow - which I assumed she felt. In fact, his behavior bordered on cruelty - though, by the end, we have to consider that there may have been limits on what he could do. A photo of him with a woman, on his bedstand throughout, actually led me to believe that it was his shrine to a woman whom he had loved and lost (died, possibly?).The tension, for Ella, lay in her need to hold on to what she had (Jim called it merely "things"), but it was her security; possibly salvation from an earlier, hopeless life. She couldn't trade it for vague promises. I waited for him to open his eyes to what she needed, what he would lose, how he needed to act. Much later, she seems to have acceeded to go with Jim- but only because she had run out of options. We are not sure if we see resignation in her face (she never says much). Then, a "doubly" sad ending which finally ends with Jim having to settle for less - something he previously expected Ella to do.A flawed movie, yes, but well worth watching.
I'm honestly not clear whether this film is being pretentious or plainincompetent, realistic or gratuitously nasty, arty or justbadly-exposed and obscured by dust or smoke. What I can say is that Ican't imagine how on earth United Artists could ever have imagined theyhad a viable commercial project on their hands in this unlovely,feel-bad, incomprehensible Western -- what mass-market audience didthey ever imagine would flock to see a five-hour epic more akin to"Andrei Rublev" than to "Stagecoach"? "Andrei Rublev", for Western audiences, at least had the benefit ofsubtitles. For many sequences "Heaven's Gate" is badly in need of them-- and I understand Russian and German, so I had a flying advantageover the intended audience! But it is the English dialogue that is inmany places so 'naturalistic' as to be entirely incomprehensible. Addthat to a script that simply doesn't explain important facts for muchof the film, and a vast cast of barely-differentiated stereotypes, andyou end up with viewers struggling simply to understand what was goingon; I had to log on to the IMDb and read through a number of threads onthe film's discussion board before I even grasped who the characters inthe first and last scenes were meant to *be*, let alone what was thepoint of the scenes in question. (The latter question, I confess, stillescapes me.) It wasn't until Averill got sacked that I even realisedwhat his job was!My best guess as to what this film was actually trying to achieve isthat it was a last-ditch attempt to fight back against television bydoing all the things contemporary American TV couldn't provide:widescreen presentation (which is well used here, without the all toocommon problems when composing close-up shots for a letter-box-shapedscreen), gratuitous nudity and swearing (it gets thrown in every sooften as if the director is trying to prove he can), and graphic shotsof mangled corpses, intestines, splattered brains etc. And, of course,long stretches of running time with which to conjure magic in theabsence of commercial breaks.But there is no way that it can justify its uncut length. It's plainfrom the first moment just where all those hours went -- not intocomplex plot or characterisation, but the very simple device of holdingeach and every shot that little bit longer than necessary. Everyestablishing shot of background activity could have been trimmed by atleast half; all the endless pauses during the dialogue could have gone,to the improvement both of the general pacing and of the running-time.But even cutting the film back to the bone -- the reputed 90-minuteversion might have been interesting -- cannot cover for its otherproblems: the mumbled and obscured dialogue, the deliberate andbewildering choice to film long stretches through dust or smoke, andabove all the lack of basic exposition that left me struggling throughthe entire movie with questions such as 'who was that? why did thatjust happen? what did that mean?' The film is ugly -- deliberately so, I'm pretty sure -- and downbeat,again deliberately so. The only thing I can say in its favour is thatdespite the extreme running length, which kept me in the cinema fromhalf-past six to eleven o'clock at night, and cost me eight poundssterling into the bargain for this privilege, it kept me concentratingso hard on trying to understand what was going on that I was never evenclose to falling asleep; although all that effort did catch up with meduring the intermission in the shape of a massive bout of yawning! It's not, I think, the worst film I've ever seen. It does have momentsof interest and occasional beauty; it suffers principally by its grossand over-indulgent scale. But a film this size would have to be really,really good to justify the effort, and "Heaven's Gate" isn't even goodenough to count as mediocre. By the end I was dying for a wise-crackinglittle comedy, a nice taut thriller or a lively silent melodrama --anything to take the turgid taste of this bloated, putrid 1970s-erawhale out of my mouth.Even a bad film would do. I'd rather watch "Satan met a Lady" --infinitely rather -- than bother with "Heaven's Gate" again. I'd soonersee "Lawnmower Man"; at least it would be over more quickly. I'd prefer(heaven help me) to sit through "What! No Beer?"...One doesn't have to be prejudiced against a film to dislike it. Theprogramme advertising the showing was full of praise for its "brave,clear-sighted view of class struggle", its "epic sweep" unjustly cutfrom its "original grandeur" by the distributors. I saw it for thefirst time under the most favourable of conditions, on a giant screenwith a sympathetic audience, many of whom had seen it before or werecurious as to the uncut version (and who could be found during theintermission explaining the plot so far to their bemused companions);and after having seen the original product in all its unmolested glory,I'd say that the critics got it right first time round.
This review is from: Heaven's Gate (DVD) The movie takes it's time to tell the story and develop the characters. Hopefully with time, the movie will redeem itself. If you did not know that the movie was such a failure at the box office, you would appreciate it more. Overall I would recommend the movie for all fans for westerns. Just be patient through some of the longer scenes. Take in the great western landscape.
This review is from: Heaven's Gate (Criterion Collection) (DVD) Once upon a time, directors made movies, not producers.Once upon a time, directors took risks describing not so glory situations.Once upon a time, directors shot, and were not thinking about how much entrances their movie could generate.
Most folks say this is overblown and not to good.Some people think this is all show and no go.They are wrong. This is a solid western epic.Great action.
Michael Cimino, who helmed the brilliant classic "The Deer Hunter" in 1978, returned with this overlong, overdone Western three years later. At a ridiculous 3 hours 40 minutes, this endless epic, even with its intermission, seems bloated, and yet there is no plot to speak of. Performances from Kris Kristofferson and Oscar-winner Christopher Walken (1978 - Best Supporting Actor, "The Deer Hunter") seem stiff and lazy. Overall, the film is a dazzling mess, with wonderful period acuracy and beautiful cinematography. Perhaps Cimino should've gone over his screenplay a few more times and paid a visit to the editing room before he released this wasted effort. Thumbs down.
If this film had been directed by DW Griffith or Stanley Kubrick, it would be recognized for what it is: a cinematic masterpiece, told with depth and subtlety and passion, a film with no equal in the visual realm. It is unremittingly stunning and also very brutal in its depiction of our great heritage of greed and annihilation. And, of course, it doesn't tell a simple narrative dick-and-jane tale like 99% of hollywood output. Its characters are complex and confused by their passions and thoughts, fears and emotions. They even appear to be thinking, something your average movie reviewers do not understand and cannot abide, so they destroyed it. See the original uncut wide-screen version. It is stunning.
Now infamous Western that was (at its time) the biggest budgeteddisaster in Hollywood history. I was "lucky" enough to see the full 220minute version at a theatre in 1990. It was truly staggering how BADthe film was!They had a great cast, a story based on a true incident (a fightbetween foreigners and Americans in the 1800s), magnificentscenery...so what went wrong? Three words--director Michael Cimino. Hewas so full of himself after "The Deer Hunter" he went out and madethis god awful Western. He's not totally to blame. His previous film"The Deer Hunter" was considered a masterpiece and United Artists gavehim free reign to do anything. They let him all alone...and everythingwent wrong. The cost went barreling out of control and Cimino insistedon redoing sequences again and again until they were perfect.First off, the sound is horrible. Entire sequences go by and you can'tmake out a word the characters are saying. For instance, Jeff Bridges'character is introduced during a dance sequence, but I STILL have noidea who he was! The dialogue in his introductory scene isincomprehensible! That's the director's fault--he should have made surethe dialogue could be heard. Some scenes are shot with so much dustflying around you can barely make out what's going on. The story linedoesn't make a whole lot of sense and Cimino took great liberties withthe facts--in the real story only one person was killed--Cimino turnsit into a massacre. There is some admittedly beautiful sequences heretotally destroyed by lack of story and incomprehensible dialogue. Alsothe bad sound was not the fault of the theatre--all the prints soundthat way.This garbage effectively closed down United Artists and was the end ofCimino's career. A textbook example of a director so full of himself hedoesn't realize what he's doing. Jeff Bridges has said this is theworst movie he ever did. This is from a guy who made "Tron"! A definitemust-miss.There is a pretty good book called "The Final Cut" which details thewhole disaster. This gets a 1. I wish IMDb had negative numbers--thisdeserves it!
In the first scene, we get the theme of the movie. Jim Averill is late tohis own graduation. In the long version, a passing carriage driverremarks,'Late again?' as he passes. The first part also shows from where hisidealism springs, as we here about the responsibilities of the educatedandwell-to-do from the 'Reverend Doctor' played by Joseph Cotton. We also seethat he can be effectively competitive when he desires in the postgraduation melee for the bouquet in a tree. From there, the movie becomesasly play on the traditional western theme of the reluctant hero. What ifthehero doesn't become active soon enough? What if he doesn't 'arrive in thenick of time'? How does he live in the aftermath of his own failure to actdecisively? The photography is beautiful, like a series of paintings, butmuted in color, perhaps to set the bleak mood of the ultimate ending. Thesound is the worst I've heard in a big, expensive movie of this type. Itsbig and even overblown at times, but it has moments that stick with youforquite awhile after you've seen it. And you find yourself wondering if yourgetting what the director intended, or if HE really had a good grasp ofwhathe intended. As far as historical accuracy goes, the more recentmini-serieson film, 'Johnson County War' with Tom Berenger follows the known facts ofthe Johnson County range war much more closely, but its hard to sitthroughit all at one viewing.
Having waited years to see "Heaven's Gate" I was overjoyed when it wasbroadcast on TCM. Being both a fan of Westerns and of the West in whichI have the great privilege of living, I settled in for the nearly fourhour Western. Having had time to reflect on the experience, a fewobservations seem in order. First, the acting is impressive.Christopherson, Walken and Huppert are very good while Waterston isterrifying as a man driven not so much by greed as by a principle ofproperty rights; a riveting performance. The accuracy of attire andequipment is laudable: seldom do Westerns, even those set as late asthis one, show the use of shoulder holsters that was very common in theold West. The beautiful Blackfeet country of northern Montana makes apassable stand-in for Wyoming. Sadly these positives cannot make up forthe two insuperable drawbacks: the script and the direction. I do notrequire absolute historical accuracy as this is not a documentary butwhen the names of real men and women are used and not even their deathsare accurate there is something terribly wrong. Only Champion dies inanything like the way of death of any of the main characters. Averilland Ella were hanged early on and yet in "Heaven's Gate" Averillsurvives to weep on a ship in 1903 while Ella is shot. Why not namethese folks Smith and Jones if they are to bear no relationship totheir namesakes? There are so many of these departures from realitythat for me at least the movie was ruined. It was filled with these"but that never happened" moments. Further, even granting the rewritingof lives, deaths and professions, why does no one, save the EasternEuropean immigrants, the station master, "soiled doves" and thebartenders ever do a lick of work? (I was minded of "Ozzie and Harriet"with Ozzie never going to work.) Averill and Ella in this version donot have their small spread as they did in life but Averill as asheriff seems to do little to quell criminal action until the climacticbattle. Dancing seemed to happen more frequently that tending cattleand there is nary a cowboy to be found. Who cares for the stockbreedersherds? Never has a movie plot turned on a treasure as invisible as thecattle in "Heaven's Gate"! The greatest negative however is found inthe director for it is apparent that Michael Cimino loathes the Westernand, even more sadly, the West. This comes though in the dust andsmoke, the lowering skies, the camera angles, and the drab colouring ofeverything. Other anti-Westerns, especially Peckinpah's "The WildBunch" mourn the passing of the old West with a revisionist story but aheart that loves the West. One may hate the Western movies but love theWest; Cimino obviously hates both. This cripples "Heaven's Gate".Anyone who can manage to make Montana less than gorgeous must beworking very hard. I know this country well and while some mountainswere familiar, the use of camera angles etc nullifies the beauty. Iguess if one works hard enough one could make even Sarah MichelleGellar look homely, though I cannot think of why one would do this.Similarly, why would one work so hard to make the High Plains andEastern Slopes of the Rockies less than they are? That "Heaven's Gate"was a flop is sad, especially for United Artists, but sadder still isthat such a talented director could so dislike the West itself.
This movie is terrible. Just awful.Let's give credit where it is due. This film looks great. The photography is great and the sets and costumes are great.The picture looks great. But * * *The story of this movie is very poorly told, barely told, really. Here is the story. Some rich guy graduates from Harvard in 1870. He goes west to bring civilization or some such thing to Wyoming. He becomes a law officer in Johnson County, Wy. A bunch of immigrants have moved into the county and become farmers. This upsets the rich cattle interests, because the farmers are taking "their" land. So the rich guys decides to run the immigrant farmers out of the area, or to just plain kill them. The farmers are a sympathetic group and they are not doing well financially. Many are starving. The cattle men are scum and they are rich. So we have the ingredients for a good movie. But what we get is just awful.Here is why this movie is awful. It takes forever for the movie to make a point, to tell just part of the story, to communicate what is going on. It reminded me of the late comedian Andy Kaufman reading The Great Gatsby to his audiences during his stand up act. The audience hated it because, after a very short time, there was no point to it. That is what Heaven's Gate is all about -- not making a point or taking forever to make a point. This horrible movie just goes on and on and on and on.I could not even figure out why the movie is called Heaven's Gate. There is a roller skating rink in the movie by that name but I can't figure out why that was the film's title. It could just as easily been called Hell's Bells. Or This Movie Smells.Watching this movie is like watching the paint, on a beautiful picture, take forever to dry.