Criterion announces Heaven’s Gate for Blu-ray release in November

Steve Withers

A chance for this infamous flop to be re-evaluated, could it be a masterpiece?

Micheal Cimino's Heaven's Gate famously lost a fortune and sank a studio back in 1980, bringing to an end the excesses of the 1970s and killing the Western for a decade. William Goldman once famously said that one day Heaven's Gate will be thought of as a cheapie and with a budget of $35 million that has come to pass in an era when big budget flops can drop hundreds of millions at the box office. But for years it remained a byword for excess, runaway budgets and megalomania; with any film in trouble having the suffix ‘Gate' added to its title. However, with this Blu-ray release of Cimino's 216 minute director's cut, perhaps the time has come to take a fresh look at the film, 32 years after all the bad press.

Please note that since this is a Criterion Collection release, the Blu-ray will be exclusive to the US and Region A coded but if you're interested you'll be able to pick up the Blu-ray (or DVD if you prefer) from the usual retailers on the 20th of November.

A visionary critique of American expansionism, Heaven's Gate, directed by Oscar winner Michael Cimino, is among Hollywood's most ambitious and unorthodox epics. Kris Kristofferson brings his weathered sensuality to the role of a Harvard graduate who has relocated all the way to Wyoming as a federal marshal; there, he learns of a government-sanctioned plot by rich cattle barons to kill the area's European settlers for their land. The resulting skirmish is based on the real-life bloody Johnson County War of 1892. Also starring Isabelle Huppert and Christopher Walken, Heaven's Gate is a savage and ravishingly shot demystification of western movie lore. This is the full director's cut, letting viewers today see Cimino's potent original vision.

  • New restored transfer of director Michael Cimino's cut of the film, supervised by Cimino
  • New restoration of the 5.1 surround soundtrack, supervised by Cimino, in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition
  • New illustrated audio interview with Cimino and producer Joann Carelli
  • New interviews with actor Kris Kristofferson, soundtrack arranger and performer David Mansfield, and second assistant director Michael Stevenson
  • The Johnson County War, a video interview with historian Bill O'Neal about the real-life conflict that inspired the film, and its resonance in popular culture
  • Trailer and TV spots
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and programmer Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan
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Well-known Member
I've tried to watch this film (more out of curiousity than anything else) but I found it sooo slow. I actually quite like "slow" films (like Cimino's earlier "The Deer Hunter") but this was like 45 minutes before anyone even says anything!!!

I truly hope it does find an audience (at last) but I can't see me getting it on a pricey bluray. Gorgeous looking film though.:smashin:

Casimir Harlow

Blu-ray Reviewer
Damn I'll have to definitely pick this up and try and cover it. With that and Fincher's The Game, I'm really starting to miss my Criterion fix.

Heaven's Gate is definitely flawed - not least by a slightly anti-climactic conclusion after over 3 hours of waiting to get there - but it's still got some great moments and great performances. Criterion though? They're taking a bit of a risk championing this one...still, at least it'll be getting decent treatment, unlike the DVD releases!

Steve Withers

If anyone is interested, I highly recommend reading 'The Final Cut' by Steven Bach about the making of Heaven's Gate. Bach was one of the producers on the film and he details all the excess and madness in shocking detail. Along with 'The Devil's Candy', it's one of the best books ever written about Hollywood and its also very funny.

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