I know I’m about 36 years too late to the game on this one but I finally watched the film Heaven’s Gate. I’m not being contrarian but I thought it was pretty darn great. This was Michael Cimino’s follow up to The Deer Hunter. This movie was considered a bomb because they were way over budget and it did not bank nearly as much as it should have upon the release. This resulted in the collapse of United Artists. In later years many critics have reassessed the negative reviews and praised the film.
I believe there are several factors in this film being viewed decades after its release allows it a more fair assessment then it did in 1980.
- This was the Cimino’s follow up to The Deer Hunter. To follow a film like that is virtually impossible. It would be like a cover band following the Rolling Stones (in their heyday.)
- There was too much of the love plot line. I don’t know why great movies continue to insert silly love stories where they are not needed. This movie had great fighting sequences and brutality. That’s what made it interesting. The love story should have been removed.
- This movie came out on the heels of epic films of the 1970’s. It was actually hard to make a great movie back then because the bar was set so high. Any film that was not basically perfect came across as subpar. I believe that’s why viewing this film in 2016 it reveals that the film was actually strong, considering the hunks of junks that Hollywood has been churning out for the greater part of almost twenty years.
If you enjoy Westerns you should watch this, but be prepared for the unnecessary spotlight of the love story.