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Heaven's Gate (19-Nov-1980)

Director: Michael Cimino

Writer: Michael Cimino

Music by: David Mansfield

Producer: Joann Carelli

Keywords: Western

Western epic follows a standoff between land barons and European immigrants in 19th-century Wyoming.

Emboldened by the critical and commercial success of The Deer Hunter, director Michael Cimino pushed ahead with Heaven's Gate, a mammoth period piece detailing a semi-historical battle between moneyed cattle barons and impoverished European immigrants in 1890s Wyoming. Saddled with production delays and an out-of-control budget owing to the perfectionist tendencies of its creator, Heaven's Gate was a failure with Western-averse audiences and domestic critics, though somewhat better received by Europeans. The director's cut is not without its merits; it is still easy to figure out why this picture nearly single-handedly killed "auteur"-heavy New Hollywood.

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Jack Blessing
29-Jul-1951   Mr. Donner on The Naked Truth
Jeff Bridges
4-Dec-1949   The Dude abides
T-Bone Burnett
14-Jan-1948   Blues/country producer and performer
Joseph Cotten
15-May-1905 6-Feb-1994 Jedidiah Leland in Citizen Kane
Brad Dourif
18-Mar-1950   Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Isabelle Huppert
16-Mar-1953   La Pianiste
John Hurt
22-Jan-1940 27-Jan-2017 Alien
Kris Kristofferson
22-Jun-1936   Me and Bobby McGee
Geoffrey Lewis
31-Jul-1935 7-Apr-2015 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Richard Masur
20-Nov-1948   Who'll Stop the Rain
Tom Noonan
12-Apr-1951   Manhunter
Terry O'Quinn
15-Jul-1952   Locke on Lost
Mickey Rourke
16-Sep-1952   The Wrestler
Christopher Walken
31-Mar-1943   The Dead Zone
Sam Waterston
15-Nov-1940   Asst DA Jack McCoy on Law & Order


Kris Kristofferson   ...   Averill
Christopher Walken   ...   Champion
John Hurt   ...   Irvine
Sam Waterston   ...   Canton
Brad Dourif   ...   Mr. Eggleston
Isabelle Huppert   ...   Ella
Joseph Cotten   ...   The Reverend Doctor
Also Starring
Jeff Bridges   ...   John L. Bridges
Geoffrey Lewis   ...   Trapper
Paul Koslo   ...   Mayor Charlie Lezak
Richard Masur   ...   Cully
Ronnie Hawkins   ...   Wolcott
Roseanne Vela   ...   Beautiful Girl
Mary C. Wright   ...   Nell
Nicholas Woodeson   ...   Small Man
Stefan Shcherby   ...   Big Man
Waldemar Kalinowski   ...   Photographer
Terry O'Quinn   ...   Capt. Minardi
John Conley   ...   Morrison
Margaret Benczak   ...   Mrs. Eggleston
James Knobeloch   ...   Kopestonsky
Erika Petersen   ...   Mrs. Kopestonsky
Robin Bartlett   ...   Mrs. Lezak
Tom Noonan   ...   Jake
Marat Yusim   ...   Russian Merchant
Aivars Smits   ...   Mr. Kovach
Gordana Rashovich   ...   Mrs. Kovach
Jarlath Conroy   ...   Mercenary in New Suit
Allen Keller   ...   Dudley
Caroline Kava   ...   Stefka
Mady Kaplan   ...   Kathia
Anna Levine   ...   Little Dot
Pat Hodges   ...   Jessie
Mickey Rourke   ...   Nick Ray
Kevin McClarnon   ...   Arapaho Brown
Kai Wulff   ...   German Merchant
Steve Majstorovic   ...   Czech Merchant
Gabriel Walsh   ...   Zindel's Clerk
Norton Buffalo   ...   Private
Jack Blessing   ...   Emigrant Boy
Jerry Sullivan   ...   Governor of Wyoming
Jerry McGee   ...   Heaven's Gate Band
Cleve Dupin   ...   Heaven's Gate Band
Stephen Bruton   ...   Heaven's Gate Band
Sean Hopper   ...   Heaven's Gate Band
David Mansfield   ...   Heaven's Gate Band
T-Bone Burnett   ...   Heaven's Gate Band
David Cass   ...   Moustached Mercenary
Paul D'Amato   ...   Bearded Mercenary
Peter Osusky   ...   Peter
Ivan Kormanik   ...   Ivan
Michael Christensen   ...   Juggler
Anatoly Davydov   ...   Fighting Bulgarian Emigrant
Nina Gaidarova   ...   Bulgarian Emigrant's Wife
Wally McCleskey   ...   Chicken Fighter
Gary (Buzz) Vezane   ...   Canton's Bodyguard
H. P. Evetts   ...   Wolcott's Bodyguard
Bruce Morgan   ...   Miner (Mercenary)
Bobby Faber   ...   Class Marshal (Harvard)
Judi Trot   ...   Irvine's Girl Friend


Review by Jack McCord (posted on 29-Apr-2008)

Heaven's Gate is an overlooked gem, born in ignominy because it ran over budget so. But it is actually one of the most interesting Westerns ever filmed, and probably gets closer to the truth of the actual American west than most westerns do.

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