Watch Heaven's Gate
- 2 hr 29 min
Heaven's Gate is a 1980 epic Western drama film, directed by Michael Cimino and starring Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, and John Hurt. The film follows the story of a wealthy Harvard graduate, James Averill (played by Kristofferson), who returns to his hometown of Johnson County, Wyoming, to oversee the prosperity of the area under the influence of wealthy ranchers who rule the county. The film is set in the late 19th century, and it begins with the arrival of a large group of Eastern European immigrants who have come to Johnson County to work as farmers and ranchers. The arrival of these immigrants infuriates the wealthy ranchers, who see them as a threat to their land and their way of life. In response, the ranchers form a vigilante group known as the Wyoming Stock Growers Association to drive the immigrants out of the county by any means necessary. James Averill, who is friends with both the immigrants and the wealthy ranchers, is caught in the middle of this conflict. As tensions rise, he becomes a target of both the immigrants and the ranchers. He falls in love with a beautiful immigrant woman named Ella Watson (played by Isabelle Huppert), who is brutally killed by the ranchers. This causes James to become more involved in the conflict and he fights to bring justice to the immigrants and end the tyranny of the wealthy ranchers. The film features a large ensemble cast, including Christopher Walken as Nathan Champion, a hired gun who is hired by the ranchers to lead the assault against the immigrants, and John Hurt as Billy Irvine, a corrupt and alcoholic doctor who is hired by the ranchers to help them rid the county of the immigrants. The film also features supporting performances by Jeff Bridges, Sam Waterston, and Brad Dourif. Heaven's Gate is known for its sweeping cinematography and its realistic portrayal of the Old West. The film was highly anticipated, as it was the follow-up to Michael Cimino's Academy Award-winning film, The Deer Hunter. However, it was a critical and commercial failure upon its release, and it is often cited as one of the biggest box office flops of all time. Despite its initial reception, Heaven's Gate has since achieved cult status and is now regarded by some as a masterpiece. The film's themes of greed, corruption, and social injustice still resonate with audiences today, and its lavish production design and stunning visuals continue to impress viewers. While it may not have been a success at the time of its release, Heaven's Gate has endured as a landmark achievement in the history of American cinema.