“ Then we have the battle scenes which are full of bad directing and absurd moments: 1) all Bridges ever does is repeat about a hundred times to Hupert that she should run for cover, 2) in the first battle the immigrants get massacred, yet the main Evil One goes back for more help - even though the viewer barely gets to see any evil ones getting killed, 3) the John Hurt character reaches heights of absurdity when he stands around making wise-cracks (then predictably gets shot); the John Hurt character is supposed to be some kind of disillusioned intellectual who takes to the bottle and sort of narrates the goings-on - pretty pointless, 4) the army guy in charge of the evil hordes waves ever so slightly with his hand for the fire to stop and somehow all the men stop shooting; how the hell did they notice his hand?!
“I love the way this film takes the genre of "westerns" and tells a poignant, grim, and evocative story; sort of breaking the mold.
“ While the scenes are WAY TOO LONG and needed trimming, the worst part of the film is that the characters were like cardboard.
“ In fact, other than Kristofferson, Isabelle Huppert (as a hooker with a heart of gold--quite the cliché) and perhaps Christopher Walken, EVERYONE is completely one-dimensional.
“ And in many of these interior-set, would-be dramatic scenes, in which characters just repeat points they made clear many times before, I think I came to better understand Vincent Canby's review, in which he compared the film's unrelenting boredom to a four-hour tour of a living room.
“To say this movie moves at a slow pace is really wrong- it doesn't move at any pace at all.
“ Just way too much empty scenes that mean nothing.
“On top of that, the direction is very, very slow.
“ But, what we see is very entertaining.
“ For a movie to be self-indulgent on the part of the director, it usually has to be without complete merit in certain key areas.
“ Having the wolf trapper grab Mickey Rourke's tongue is a bizarre waste of time.
“ This comes though in the dust and smoke, the lowering skies, the camera angles, and the drab colouring of everything.
“ I saw this on Sky Cinema 1 a few months ago.. I must admit it was soooooooooo long and boring.
“ I rented the tape, hoping it would be more coherent than the US theater version, but it proved to be merely a longer, more boring piece of overblown garbage--the same version that played in European theaters.
“ It maintained my interest throughout and the scenery and photography is breathtaking at times.
“ Any way you look at it, though, it hits you in the face with the noise, dust, chaos and confusion of war...
“ I'm only sure the full quote was "A remarkable achievement in boring its audience to death".
“ Instead of that you get only the dreary concept picture about the good immigrants and the bad settlers, especially the vested business interests.
“ A great cure for insomnia and NOT a cinematic masterpiece, no matter what you might have heard.
“ Long on boring detail, short on fact .
“ It was regarded as 'authentic' to show men doing very little of consequence but booze together, play pool together, swear at each other, booze some more, swear some more and so forth for any number of increasingly tedious minutes.
“ I enjoyed it quite a bit; Walken is very good, and his introduction is one of those great, dark Western moments.
“ It is the same pompous propaganda Hollywood often embraces, though Cimino seems to think it is an original insight.
“ After you sit though this giant waste of time you wonder how someone could actually make a 4 hr epic in which nothing happens.
“ Strange Film that's compelling on several levels.
“ For 216 minutes, it left me writhing with boredom and frustration, only occasionally interested.
“ I was astounded that an American studio could produce such a European film with it's slow pace and its unfocused plot.
“ The time dedicated to the uninteresting romance between the three leads severely jeopardised the entire motivation of the story, and one is left wondering whether the whole thing could have been cut down to perhaps 15% of the runtime instead of the long winded 75.
“ The performances themselves are not bad, and ultimately the greatest problem with the film is slow pacing (especially the first third) and being incredibly average when so much potential is on display.
“ the movie is way too long, there were quite a scenes which i honestly think could have been cut out and the movie would have been improved quite a bit, some scenes just feel drawn out and unnecessary and it really would have been better if they weren't there.
“ However this archetypal cattlemen-homesteaders conflict is embossed with a number of huge staggeringly opulent, set pieces, some of which I have to admit bear little relationship to the main story, but are rather fascinating to watch.
“ The roller skating sequence, in particular, is astoundingly beautiful, one of the most evocative scenes ever put to film.
“ The final battle is fairly exciting, and I will admit that the movie has a shining moment of greatness when a character is surprisingly killed in a heartfelt scene.
“ The result is basically a lavishly filmed boring mess.
“ A recent book, the Worst Movies of All Time, includes Heaven's Gate.
“so in the end, it's an OK movie, still needs some work, but it definitely didn't deserve the panning it got, i think it caught all the critics in bad moods and although i do acknowledge it has problems, the title of "worst movie ever" really should be stamped on something that really deserves it.
“ What's good about it turns out to more often than not be mesmerizing, fascinating and fully epic in scope.
“The second thing that struck me was how fast I fell asleep.
“ Somehow the next 2 hours is wasted on pointless scenes of waiting for the henchmen to enforce the death list.
“ At the point in which Isabelle Huppert's character, Ella Watson, is introduced the momentum of the range war story escapes like the air from a giant burst balloon and the audience is left to flounder in the excess of a lovers frolic followed by unending and countless details each in themselves interesting but pointless and destructive to the overall story.
“ The film is beautiful, moving, disturbing and sometimes exciting.
“Admittedly, some of the set pieces are visually stunning: the celebration after graduating college (Harvard?
“ I saw Camino's other famous film The Deer Hunter, and despite some AMAZING scenes in it, I thought it was mostly full of scenes that bored the sh1t out of me (i.
“ I'm really at a loss of words as to why Cimino thought that no story was a smart idea and this is what really kills everything.
“ Few movies are as beautiful as this one, or as boring.
“ The codas at the beginning and ending of the film of the Harvard graduation and Kristofferson aboard his yacht as an old man are completely pointless -- take them out and nobody would miss them.
“ Yes, it's too long, and its pace is very slow.
“ Then at the end, like an afterthought - a mind boggling prologue - a cut to one of the other Harvard grads, on a boat, with the main romantic interest - the one that was beautifully built up in the graduation ceremony - not even a word of dialogue and we still feel it.
“ Michael Cimino always fit the description of the pretentious, egotistical pseudo-auteur to a 'T,' and "Heaven's Gate" confirms that more than any of his other films.
“ Living a hard life is painful but it can also be invigorating as opposed to the dull life Averil leads in the epilogue.
“ About the only thing I did like was the cinematography and the Montana locations, which are stunning.
“ Then we come to the massive, drawn-out battle scenes at the end of the picture.
“ While it is a pretty movie, it runs far too long to have a cohesive story and not much interesting development in the characters.
“ At times it reminded me of Terrence Malick's 'Days of Heaven' or even 'Elvira Madigan' in its languid pace and elegant scene painting.
“ There are long, pointless scenes, much like in the early parts of Cimino's "Deer Hunter".
“ If for some reason you can enjoy this self indulgent over thought truely bad movie, i have to ask why.
“ The confusion the audience strives is that the long-winded sequences lack the direction of story.
“THE EDITING When you step back and think about the movie's story, central theme and performances (although sometimes uneven, mostly good), there was a really compelling movie here.
“ I think that everybody who is bored after having seen this movie had expected something else or had not seen enough movies or had not read enough books...
“ At times it can seem very slow paced, especially as the action is often slowed down by big set-pieces, such as the opening Harvard graduation scene (actually filmed in Oxford) or the roller-skating sequence, which are visually spectacular but do little to advance the story.
“ Now when the battles between the homesteaders and the mercenaries begin, Cimino promises some exciting action.
“Now the bad points: Everything else including a lame and confusing script, bad acting, bad direction, bad photography, bad sound and bad editing.
“ Although many sequences, like the sprawling dance at the beginning or the bizarre roller skating 'disco' are predominantly pointless, his dedication, flare for authenticity and overall guidance remain highly textured and visually astounding throughout.
“ The pacing of the story was horrendously slow, and Kristofferson's acting was tepid.
“ The ridiculous sums of money are often cited when panning this film, but, honestly, the real reason it fails is that it's just boring.
“ The movies pace was actually so slow that you find yourself leaning forward in your chair actually trying to will it to move faster.
“ The dialogue is not always audible, and the plot sometimes difficult to follow.
“The full version is mostly good but it has sequences that are so incredibly dull that the whole movie is pulled down and almost sinks beneath the waves.
“ It is unremittingly stunning and also very brutal in its depiction of our great heritage of greed and annihilation.
“ however, i must admit that my eagerness was coupled with the bias of reviewers labeling the work as self-indulgent.
“ The attempt at original style, the bawdy sexuality, the very hard-won sense of detail, the breathtaking rigor of the film-making and what is being filmed, all throw into contrast what is sorely lacking in so much contemporary Hollywood product.
“)"Heaven's Gate" is flabby, and it is shameless self-indulgence on Cimino's part.
“ Long drawn-out love scenes with the main character and a Russian prostitute that seems more like a rock star and his sexy groupie.
“ It's just too long and self indulgent.
“ For me, Heaven's Gate did something far worse than bore me or fail to entertain; it left me feeling angry.
“ It doesn't matter which version of this movie you see, the movie is boring.
“ Even they'd get bored.
“ It's pointless.
“ The languid pacing, evocative music and monumental scenery combine in this scene to convincingly portray the love story which might just lie at the heart of the film - and which could have been its saving grace if pursued more convincingly.
“ First - it is too long, there are some way too long, stretched scenes.
“"Much like "The Deer Hunter," Cimino's previous film, "Heaven's Gate" spends a great deal of time building up the details of the lives of its principals, giving the film an at-times leisurely pace that nevertheless leads to a gripping conclusion.
“ this films legacy is fascinating, the stories of Michael Cimino's perfectionism, the endless retakes of every shot, the budget going way overboard, and the rumour that the working print was 5 hours and 25 minutes, how could i not see a film that has a history like that?
“ Actually, there was only one circumstance: I was dying of boredom and finally lost the will to watch one more minute of Michael Cimino's putative masterpiece Heaven's Gate.
“ Dull, dull, dull.
“ This is a film that you have to be willing to view like it was a long opera; you simply cannot be impatient and expect a quick formulaic western to ride you off into the sunset.
“Cimino is more interested in telling the story through the picture than through the writing, and he in so ham fisted in his approach that Heaven's Gate feels like a 1920's propaganda film by Griffith or Eisenstein.
“ Also, as Michael Cimino took great pains to make the picture historically accurate , it is fascinating as a document of (and maybe indictment of) American life in Old West Wyoming.
“ Everything else, including self-indulgent artistry, must take a back seat.
“ I'm not a fan of Cimino's previous film, the overrated "The Deer Hunter" (1978), because of the tedious opening hour and the disagreeable focus on Russian Roulette, although I love his Tarantino-like "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" (1974).
“ This movie may work to cure people's insomnia.
“ Vilmos Zsigmond's lush cinematography is a sight to behold and frame by frame the runtime looks like a collection of stunning and realistically gritty portraits strung together artistically for audience appreciation.
“ Give me a pair of scissors and I'll edit this movie down to 90 minutes easily (and it would probably still be too slow).
“Final Verdict: This is a slow and surprising burn (of sorts) that takes you to the American Old West.
“ Arguably one of the most self-indulgent movies ever made.
“Kris Kristopherson goes through the movie as if he is suffering from a hangover, dreary and dull.
“ I left the theater thinking I had witnessed a masterpiece and wondering what the full version was like.
“ the battle scene, while confusing, is more true-to-life than most of the overly choreographed "epics" of that period or any other.
“Despite its obvious flaws, most notably the absence of a compelling narrative, there is a sense of grandeur about the film.
“ That plot line sounds boring because it is.
“ In spite of the epic length he had to work with, Cimino's character development is quite minimalistic, due to the sheer volume of dead space devoted to empty looks and a lack of dialogue or at least a lack of comprehensible dialogue, which is thanks to un-subtitled foreign languages or bad sound recording.
“ Pretty pictures, slow narrative .
“) Much as I hate it, I should keep a video version of HEAVEN'S GATE around--it's better than Melatonin for curing insomnia, the blaring music score notwithstanding.
“ I went in fully armed, prepared to be bored silly and to have my ass so sore I could barely sit through the drive home, I brought a pillow to sit on.
“" It was still too long and it was hard to follow.
“ While the actors are all pros, sometimes adding dimension to their roles, they are usually bored beyond even scene-chewing.
“ Thus, the film plods along, expecting the viewer to be inspired by the majesty of the Wyoming locations, to absorb the wisdom in the banal, long-winded dialogue and to be in awe of the authenticity of all the production design.
“" But the ending, which is factually much shorter but seems so much longer, is an incoherent and confusing fiasco.
“ It is one of the worst movies I have ever seen.
“ I believe that when someone tells you to watch it, they are, in fact, trying to bore you to death.
“ The film itself is not bad, however the film is very long (3 hours and 40 min).
“ Cimino seems to think that the information in this movie is so difficult to digest that he must leave plenty of time to the viewer to think things through - while nothing happens on screen.
“ Languid .
“ Widescreen landscapes, physical sets/locations & an epic story that like 'The Deer Hunter' takes its time to show incidental moments in the lives of the characters, that help build an engaging narrative as you become emotionally invested in the characters.
“ This is about when I heard the woman behind me say to her boyfriend, 'I understand why this is the worst movie ever made 'cause I can't hear what they're saying.
“ The fact that a nearly four-hour movie has no story is something that is just mind boggling.
“ Its like reading a very long boring novel this film .
“ I disagree completely that this is a waste of time.
“ But this film gave me the impression that director Michael Cimino felt moving things along at a snail's pace automatically makes those things happen.
“ If you have a lot and I mean A LOT of time to kill, then you can watch this film, otherwise watch what you can before you die of boredom.
“ Some of this, perhaps, is intentional - a way to mimic the chaos and confusion of history as it is unfolding.
“ But it soon became obvious that this technical approach of enhancing background sounds to compete with the dialogue & keeping the camera constantly moving, panning, zooming in, craning over, hovering, was a feature of the rest of the film which made hearing the speaking parts almost impossible, & the storyline itself hard to follow.
“Although it's an overly long movie, there are individual scenes that are quite compelling and beautiful.
“ And when the final shootout comes, it's so immersed in smoke, dust and poor editing, that we can't see who is shooting whom.
“Unpredictable and very satisfying at the same time.
“ But in Cimino's hands as a writer at least it becomes directionless, obscure and, with the exception of one or two bloodthirsty shoot-outs, relentlessly dull.
“ Labelling It "The Worst Movie Ever Made", was a Huge Injustice.
“ The entire catastrophe was set in motion when the director was given carte blanche due to the overwhelming success of The Deerhunter, a film which in fact had little or nothing to do with Cimino's abilities but rather select acting performances and, as in Heaven's Gate, the breathtaking cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond aided by an audience ripe with anti-Viet Nam War sentiment.
“ There is some admittedly beautiful sequences here totally destroyed by lack of story and incomprehensible dialogue.
“ Set in the late 1800's in Montana, the films main themes are racism, intolerance and fear, which could have made for a good semi-historical telling of the goings on in that era, instead we are dragged through a mire of over indulgent cinematography, poor dialogue, bad direction and the performances that could have been great by people like Christopher Walken, Sam Waterston and Brad Dourif are lost amidst all of the above.
“ Heaven's Gate begins with something similar, a completely pointless introduction at Harvard or Yale or somewhere of the graduation of the year of 1870 which goes on and on and on and on and plays no structural role in the film whatsoever quite apart from being utterly dull.
“ Instead, after absorbing this narrative, we are left with an impression that the underpinnings of America have more to do with a land of dispossessed slaves and a home for knaves...
“ I think, in fact, that it was a highly pretentious movie, the characters were simply annoying, as was the acting.
“ This is a combination of good cinematography and a very slow and mostly incoherent and very bloody plot.
“ Actually, the critics saw the original, hated it, and then the studio tried to edit it into something watchable, which of course was impossible because the problem was not only that the film was far too long, but much of the dialogue was unintelligible, the characters were undeveloped, and the plot was tedious.
“ Just watching a bunch of people arguing and speaking gibberish to most is boring and uninteresting.
“ The battle scenes are tedious and dizzying.
“ Like Birth of a Nation, which was made in an era of intense racism against African-Americans, The Deer Hunter was made in a politically conservative decade (the late seventies, the early eighties).
“ Thus he digresses into a love triangle sub-plot between Kristofferson, prostitute Ella Watson (Isabelle Huppert) and gun fighter Walken, padding out the film with irrelevant scenes and incidents that slow it down without either the plot nor characters developing at all.
“' Then, a few minutes later I hear her complain, 'they're holding the shots way too long.
“ If you see it, you'll be bored, too.
“The film begins with a long and tedious set-up at Harvard, leading the viewer to believe there is going to be an important significance for this later.
“ The full-length college speech by John Hurt's character is simply overlong and tedious in the extreme.
“ Sadly its not enough because everything gets squandered from slow pacing and an under whelming script that fails to develop its characters properly.
“ Other similarities to this movie are the poor soundtrack - including the tiresome Strauss tune - and the unappealing visual quality.
“ Is that really Cimino's self-indulgence, or is he just trying too hard?
“ There are numerous subplots Cimino includes in his script, and while some are decent enough, like Jeff Bridges character opening a roller skating rink called "Heaven's Gate," the rest are ultimately and sadly pointless.
“ Unfortunately the harsh treatment of "Heaven's Gate" at its opening ruined Michael Cimino's career and he moved from the passable ("Year of the Dragon") to the boringly ludicrous ("The Sicilian") and the screechingly dumb ("Desperate Hours").
“ It is stunning.
“ Very Simply, It is Stunning, Numbifying and Majestic in ALL the categories of film history !
“ The Trailer describes this as one of the most controversial films of its decade; I would have to say it is one of the dullest films of its or any other decade.
“ Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography is stunningly beautiful, David Mansfield's score is wonderfully evocative, and the sheer scale of some of the sequences is absolutely breathtaking.
“ Wow, this is truly the most boring movie I have ever seen.
“ It felt too cliché and forced; I'd personally preferred if he were still alone or with an unknown character.
“ The actors try their best but are stranded in dull characters with no real sense of purpose.
“ Then, the lawns are empty again and everybody runs out of the buildings and gathers around a tree.
“ I can forgive the movie's pointless prologue of a beginning, for it does feature what is probably the best scene set to the "Blue Danube" waltz since "2001: A Space Odyssey.
“ It can be quite meandering, confusing, and unnecessarily lengthy.
“ Two and a half hours of propaganda is better than three hours of Hollywood's Enlightened self-worship.
“ However, at least now you can see a coherent, logical film that is worth watching.
“ The Johnson County disturbances exemplify a critical moment in American history, even if the sub-plot of the alienated Harvard man, at the opening and closing of the film, is irredeemably trite.
“ This is a long, boring, bad movie by all standards.
“ Strangely, the relationships established in these scenes end up going nowhere.
“ It's rather a shame when the Director's explanation of his production is more engrossing than the film itself.
“ It's not a bad film, not a great one, just an interesting, otherwise well-done work dragged out way too thin and long to be great.
“I thought the battle towards the end was completely gripping and brutal.
“ If it would somehow pull off to keep that epic charm and greatness being cut to 90 minutes I would give it 9/10, but as it chokes like high-school textbook for boring subject and loses itself in vagueness, I can't go above 6/10.
“ I had a special showing with a large group of mates to see the new cut and we all enjoyed it whilst having varying reservations.
“ a beautiful, empty film .
“ HEAVEN'S GATE is stunning in it's absolute badness.
“ A film rich in confusion .
“Cimino is in no hurry to tell his story, and rightly so as he gets to grips with character building and methodically slow burning the tensions that led to the Johnson County blood bath.
“ That tells me it's probably worth watching.
“ Movie probably explains this but I was so bored I probably tuned this.
“ the characters were very believable and entertaining, and the photography was excellent.
“ Both movies are very long, tragic tales, and both went terribly over-budget -- each threatened to bankrupt the studio -- yet Cimino's film emerged as a pretentious failure while Cameron's film earned a billion at the box office and is a true masterpiece.
“"It fails so completely that you might suspect Mr. Cimino sold his soul to obtain the success of The Deer Hunter and the Devil has just come around to collect" - New York TimesBut after all, it is still worth watching, because it simply has that something...
“ Cimino may stumble with actors, but he's got a iron-clad grasp of visuals, and puts some stunning and memorable images on the screen.
“ John Hurt adds swagger to a tissue paper thin persona, but overall his appearance is as redundantly pointless as his woefully miss-judged exit.
“ They became very, very, very tedious.
“ But his film is insipidly tedious and incoherent, and every passing minute is more unendurably soulless than the one that comes before it.
“To this day I remain convinced that had HEAVEN'S GATE been released FIRST and THE DEER HUNTER second, their commercial fates would also have been reversed and today we'd view HEAVEN'S GATE as the flawed classic and THE ("Best Picture" Oscar winning) DEER HUNTER as the self indulgent disaster and a monument to a mismanaged studio spinning out of control and destroyed by funding an unstable director beyond the bounds of reason in the pursuit of his "vision.
“Here are this cinema lover's problems with it: 1) Slow and overlong scenes, and requires much editing.
“Which is a shame, because the film, seen from the vantage point of several decades away, is a fascinating and thought-provoking look at that particular time and place as a world where life was, in Hobbes's words, "nasty, brutish, and short.
“ Heaven's Gate is the ultimate paradox of epic and empty.
“ It's a very bad, slow-paced, and dull epic disaster wherein the last hour's battle is filmed as if there wasn't a director around at all.
“ Utterly unwatchable .
“ There's also some absolutely breathtaking scenery shots.
“ This film is worth watching purely for the climactic final battle, which is brutally shown.
“ Cimino's style is arty with a focus on mundane realism, similar to Francis Ford Coppola.
“ In fact, most of the film is empty shots of people quite literally doing nothing of importance.
“ It's an engrossing little movie about how this entire debacle unfolded.
“ When first released to New York in November of 1980, it was a 219 epic, notoriously over budget, from self indulgent film "autor" Michael Cimino who had previously outraged and fascinated with his bloated 183 minute Viet Nam/S&M epic, THE DEER HUNTER.
“ Because the film is so disjointed and cold it takes on its own sort of style.
“ Has its moments, but overall a jumbled, tedious, incomprehensible mess.
“ At times beautiful and compelling and in others pointless and lengthy, over the years it has gained as many fans as it has critics for its discrepancies in reviews and acclaim.
“ Isabelle Huppert is bland as well.
“ i soon realized that there is basically no story to follow.
“ Self-indulgent direction.
“ Every potentially great element of the movie was thwarted by some miscalculated self-indulgence.
“ Even the climatic battle scene is tedious.
“ It is pointless.
“ I thought it one of the most beautiful films I have seen and would happily have watched a further two or three hours of the same; I hope someone in the industry will have the intelligence to release it on DVD.
“ After considering all events and the movie itself, i still think this movie is a complete waste of time.
“ I agree with some that it is very long and some scenes are a complete waste of time costing United Artists loads of money.
“ An underrated, visually stunning film.
“ When I reached the intermission, I did not "hate" the movie, I just felt empty by the vapid nothingness being put on screen (it also doesn't help that the intermission happens at a completely arbitrary moment with no sense of rising action).
“ Michael Cimino's attempt to do for the Western what his earlier popular epic, "The Deer Hunter", had done for the war movie, went wildly over budget and is reputed to have brought down United Artists, who withdrew the 219 minute version after hostile reviews, and released it at 149 minutes to empty theatres.
“ Another trademark of Cimino's I've realised, is the unexpected.
“ This is, however, a movie for which its checkered history is more fascinating than the films itself, with the bloated near four-hour final product the direct result of Cimino being given carte blanche after winning two Oscars for 'The Deer Hunter' two years earlier.
“ First of all, the movie is as drawn out as any I've ever seen.
“ It simply does not bow to standard-form 'epic' quality, by providing Titan heroes, rafts of sub-plots and confusion.
“All in all the film is way too long and boring.
“ It is far more entertaining than the movie itself.
“ That's dramatic; that's exciting; that's full of the necessary conflict.
“ Should you find yourself getting bored there's always the epic production values to behold.
“Here's an example of dysfunctional storytelling: it is revealed (via a very dull boardroom scene) that the cattlemen association have a list of 125 settlers they plan to have killed.
“ This has to be the most boring movie ever made.
“ First, you can watch them without worrying about "getting it," which is enjoyable.
“ Visually stunning dramatically inert western was of course an infamous dud in its day, causing the demise of United Artists and ruining Cimino career, and it is easy to see why.
“ The roller-skating sequence could have been easily cut, the cockfight scene is rapidly becoming a movie cliche, and the final scene on board the ocean liner is right out the Twilight Zone.
“ The last scene is pretty lame and pointless; Kristoferson is shown years later with another woman in what must be one of the most pointless scenes I've seen in a while: there is barely any dialogue, the woman asks for a cigarette, and he gets sentimental over Hupert - and all of this takes an eternity!
“ From Shakespeare, it refers to a figurative nearness to God and so, if you equate God with the natural world, the stunning scenery that pervades the movie and it is stunning, hauntingly equal to that of David Lean's Doctor Zhivago (1965) is a useful metaphor.
“ But as a whole it's unreasonably long and worse, uninteresting.
“ Pompous, badly edited, at times badly recorded (the speeches at the beginning are immediately indicative), confusing, poorly staged, and lethargically paced at times, "Heaven's Gate" is still an important film, if for nothing more than what Cimino was attempting to tell us.
“ Seen in snatches with the possibility of fast-forwarding through the boring bits or turning it off if feeling mise-en-scene whipped, it's basically painless.
“ Personally, I really wanted to like this, and was "into" it for even as long as an hour, but started to get tedious, and then got more tedious, and more tedious still, and then some more, and then culminating in a shoot-em-up sequence that was as unfocused and overly drawn-out as the previous 2 hours.
“ There are times when things go on and on and on and nothing happens.
“ I will say that the cinematography was excellent in several scenes and worth watching again.
“This movie was kind of hard to follow.
“ He just appears here and there and seems to be either a jerk (the prologue) or a pathetic and pointless drunk who hangs out with murderers--even though he is apparently against them!?
“ This was the first movie I ever walked out of.
“ The 140 minute piece of celluloid that came out four months later simply reduced an already confusing plot to a series of scenes with little or no relevance to one another, with little of Cimino's ambition shining through.
“ Gone is the dull haze and smokey pale that reportedly annoyed early critics.
“ If you take away, the college graduation dance, the roller skating party and the battle scenes, this movie is mostly boring.
“ The battle scenes are pretty exciting, although I could swear that I saw one particular wagon blow up four times.
“Cimino should have cut the extravagant dance scenes which waste about 15 minutes of the film and used that time to draw us into the characters background.
“ So, I guess I saw the shorter version first which, at the time, I thought, was a very interesting anti-Western, if a trifle confusing...
“ Some scenes mainly at the end are so dusty it is unwatchable.
“ Jeff Bridges has said this is the worst movie he ever did.
“ Then there are these long conversations of inconsequential details and unintelligible, witless dialogue, which go on and on and are exhausting and boring.
“ What makes Heaven's Gate a great film is its attention to detail and authenticity, and its ability to move the audience to both tears and moments of intense euphoria.
“ -Days of Heaven- can be irksome in its own ways, but it gets its story told in a timely fashion; -Heaven's Gate- is obviously, clearly, drawn out too long, without the benefit of an adept editor's craft or a scriptwriter's focus.
“ Disjointed to the extreme, with endless scenes that do nothing to enhance or advance the story.
“ Languid to the point of catatonia, this is a classic example of a writer/director getting serious delusions of grandeur based upon one superb film (The Deer Hunter).
“ A complete waste of time .
“ Despite then certain failings and a slow mid-section, 'Heaven's Gate' is a supreme piece of work, a genuine attempt to create a contemporary Western and a new kind of epic.
“ Griffith,a long, complicated movie,slow - moving but absolutely compelling quite possibly one of the last masterpieces before the Cineplex generation demanded more or less instant and continual gratification for a period certainly not exceeding 90 minutes.
“Perhaps the chief glory of Heaven's Gate lies in the achingly evocative soundtrack.
“ 2hr 20 min studio cut version) I found the acting and script generally very good, save for one scene where the immigrants mainly speak in their native languages which dragged a little.
“ What was supposed to be a faithful recreation of a piece of Americana became instead a ponderous tour of a cluttered, dusty warehouse of arcane bric-a-brac.
“ She found it tedious, bloody, and too long.
“Kristofferson is rather bland as the Harvard educated sheriff.
“ Throw in a love triangle that goes nowhere, a soundtrack that overwhelms dialog in many scenes, and worst of all a boring opening graduation at Harvard that goes on forever.
“ I appreciate the slow-moving introspective films of Kubrick, Leone, and Terrence Malick.