Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven

4.5 7
Director: Terrence Malick

Cast: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard

     
 

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Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven, the long-awaited follow-up to his 1973 debut Badlands, confirmed his reputation as a visual poet and narrative iconoclast with a story of love and murder told through the jaded voice of a child and expressive images of nature. In 1916, Chicago steelworker Bill (Richard Gere, stepping in for John Travolta) flees to Texas…  See more details below

Overview

Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven, the long-awaited follow-up to his 1973 debut Badlands, confirmed his reputation as a visual poet and narrative iconoclast with a story of love and murder told through the jaded voice of a child and expressive images of nature. In 1916, Chicago steelworker Bill (Richard Gere, stepping in for John Travolta) flees to Texas with his little sister Linda (Linda Manz) and girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) after fatally erupting at his boss. Along with other itinerant laborers, they work the harvest at a wealthy, ailing farmer's ranch, but the farmer (playwright Sam Shepard) falls in love with Abby, and, believing her to be Bill's sister, asks the three to stay on at his elysian spread. Seeing it as his one real chance to escape perpetual poverty, Bill urges Abby to marry the sick man. Marriage, however, has more restorative powers, and the farmer has more magnetism, than Bill had planned. "Nobody's perfect," Linda impassively observes in one of her many voiceovers, after their brief paradise is erased by plagues of locusts, fire, and lethal jealousy.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Terrence Malick's follow-up to his acclaimed 1973 debut Badlands confirmed his reputation as a visual poet and narrative iconoclast. Inspired by silent master F.W. Murnau's City Girl (1930), and shot by Nestor Almendros and Haskell Wexler in natural light primarily during the "magic hour" before sunset, Malick's spectacular imagery took the place of conventional exposition and excessive dialogue. The tragic love triangle between a migrant worker couple and a wealthy landowner must be pieced together through brief, cryptic incidents and child observer Linda's jaded, distant voice-over; the expressive sequences of nature's radiance and brutality allude to the emotions brewing beneath the adults' cool surfaces. Ennio Morricone's delicate, dreamy score further complemented the narrative restraint and sensory beauty. Hailed as a lushly visual masterpiece, even by viewers less taken with Malick's elliptical story-telling, Days of Heaven won a Cannes Film Festival prize and an Oscar for its cinematography, and received Oscar nominations for Score, Costumes, and Sound. Malick himself won Best Director awards from Cannes and the New York Film Critics' Circle. Despite its critical success, Days of Heaven failed to find an audience in 1978; Malick took a 20-year sabbatical from directing before making The Thin Red Line (1998).

Product Details

Release Date:
03/23/2010
UPC:
0715515055710
Original Release:
1978
Rating:
PG
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:34:00
Sales rank:
19,068

Special Features

Audio commentary featuring weber, art director Jack Frisk, costume designer Patricia Norris, and casting director Dianne Crittenden; Audio interview with actor Richard Gere; Video interviews with Bailey, Cinematographer Haskell Wexler, and actor Sam Shepard; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Adrian Martin and a chapter from director of photography Nestor Almendro's autobiography

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Gere Bill
Brooke Adams Abby
Sam Shepard The Farmer
Linda Manz Linda
Robert J. Wilke Farm Foreman
Stuart Margolin Mill Foreman
Jackie Shultis Linda's friend
Gene Bell Dancer
Doug Kershaw Fiddler
Timothy Scott Harvest Hand
Richard Libertini Vaudeville Leader
Bob Wilson Accountant
Frenchie Lemond Vaudeville Wrestler
Muriel Jolliffe Headmistress
Sahbra Markus Vaudeville Dancer
John K. Wilkinson Preacher

Technical Credits
Terrence Malick Director,Screenwriter
Nestor Almendros Cinematographer
John Bailey Camera Operator
Jacob Brackman Executive Producer
Jamie Brown Makeup
Skip Cosper Asst. Director
Dianne Crittenden Casting
Jack Fisk Art Director
Robert W. Glass Sound/Sound Designer
Peter Gregory Sound/Sound Designer
Les Kimber Production Manager
Leo Kottke Score Composer
Mel Merrells Special Effects
Ennio Morricone Score Composer
Pat Norris Costumes/Costume Designer
John Reitz Sound/Sound Designer
George Ronconi Sound Mixer
Harold Schneider Producer
Bert Schneider Producer
Robert Thirlwell Sound/Sound Designer
Barry Thomas Sound Mixer
John Thomas Special Effects
Billy Weber Editor
Haskell Wexler Cinematographer
John K. Wilkinson Sound/Sound Designer

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Days of Heaven 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS A BEAUTIFUL FILM, AND IT DISPLAYS THE TIME PERIOD PERFECTLY. THE ACTING IS GREAT AND STORYLINE IS TANGLED BETWEEN WHAT IS SHOWN AS A BROTHER IN LOVE WITH HIS SISTER WHO MARRYS A RICHMAN FOR A BETTER LIFE. OF COURSE, SIN FOLLOWS SIN, AND THE OUTCOME IS QUITE ENTERTAINING. SAM SHEPARD GIVES A GREAT PERFORMANCE, INCLUDING RICHARD GERE WITH HIS CHICAGOE! ACCENT.
High-school_Drama_Teacher More than 1 year ago
DAYS OF HEAVEN is Terrence Malick's masterpiece; a visually stunning tale about the struggles of the pursuit of the "American Dream". Set in the rural Texas panhandle of the early 20th century, the film examines the decision-making process of a young, unmarried couple trying to eke out a simple existence. A friend of mine, who emigrated from India in the 1980's, has told me that this film helped him to understand the concept of America more than any other. I highly recommend it.
seenafterscene More than 1 year ago
...that reason is "Criterion." There's nothing "wrong" with the standard version of this film, which is much cheaper, but for a film like this, to be mastered and restored in a new high definition digital transfer with a new Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, and LOADS of great bonus material, it's an easy choice...an even better choice might be the upcoming Blu-Ray release that Criterion is planning in a couple months. There's a good chance you may not have heard of "Terrence Malick" (the writer/director) or the film. But once you see it, it becomes quite clear why Malick has become almost iconic even though he only made two films in the 70s (this and "Badlands")...and then took a rather long hiatus until 1998's "The Thin Red Line" where his near-legendary reputation attracted one of the finest ensemble casts in recent memory. To rate this film visually 5 stars out of 5, seems almost ineadequate. This is truly an artistic work unique to cinema, its visuals are unsurpassed, the narration (which often can backfire) is on the mark, and the sounds and sights take a bland love triangle, migrant worker story into something truly transcendent. There are very few films I would truly describe as "poetic," but this, like much of Malick's work is undeniably so.
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