Jun 12, 2023

Heaven's Gate

A Film by Michael Cimino

New Books Network 2023

After the success of The Deer Hunter in 1978, Michael Cimino wrote and directed Heaven’s Gate, the 1980 film that has been grouped with Ishtar and The Bonfire of the Vanities as an example of artistic self-indulgence that led to financial disaster. The film was universally panned and Cimino’s career never recovered. Since then, Criterion has released Michael Cimino’s Heaven’s Gate, which corrects the technical errors in the hurried theatrical release and restores the film to its full run time; the result is an epic that rises far above its bad reputation. Join Mike and Dan for an appreciation of a film that more viewers are finding to be a stunning portrait of three people navigating a new America that resembles old Europe.

Part of the film’s reputation is based upon Steven Bach’s 1985 Final Cut: Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven’s Gate, the Film that Sank United Artists. The making of the film is also discussed in Ben Elton’s 2022 Cimino: The Deer Hunter, Heaven’s Gate, and the Price of a Vision, a terrific biography and corrective to some of the claims made in Final Cut. You can hear an interview with Ben Elton on New Books in Film here.

Follow us on Twitter or Letterboxd. Incredible bumper music by John Deley.

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