Blu-ray, DVD Release: Heaven’s Gate

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 20, 2012
Price: DVD $39.95, Blu-ray $49.95
Studio: Criterion

Heaven's Gate movie sceneHeaven’s Gate by writer/director Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter), the 1980 western drama-romance whose unprecedented high cost ($44 million) and poor box office performance ($3 million in the U.S.) led to the demise of both its studio (United Artists) and its maker’s reputation, arrives on Criterion DVD and Blu-ray as a director’s cut for the first time.

Clocking in at 216 minutes, Cimino’s uncut film is praised by fans as a visionary critique of American expansionism and is rightfully considered one of Hollywood’s most ambitious and unorthodox epics.

Set in 1870, the film stars Kris Kristofferson (Dolphin Tale) as a Harvard graduate who has relocated all the way to Wyoming as a federal marshal, where 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.

Heaven’s Gate also stars Isabelle Huppert (Special Treatment), Christopher Walken ($5 a Day), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), John Hurt (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Mickey Rourke (Immortals) and, in his first film role, Willem Dafoe (Antichrist).

The film was issued on DVD by MGM in 2000 but has been out of print for years. Criterion’s release represents its return to disc as well as its Blu-ray debut.

The discs contain the following features:

• 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
• A booklet featuring an essay by critic and programmer Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan


Buy or Rent Heaven’s Gate
Amazon graphic
DVD | Blu-ray
DVD Empire graphicDVD | Blu-ray Movies Unlimited graphicDVD | Blu-ray Netflix graphic

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.