About the Post

Author Information

I'm not a film critic, but I'll tell you what I think about the movies I watch. I enjoy understanding the history behind the movies we watch, as well as the collaborative effort necessary to produce movies.

Days of Heaven


Days of Heaven (1978)

Directed by Terrence Malick

Starring: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard

In 1979 Néstor Almendros won an Oscar for Best Cinematography for his work on this movie directed by Terrence Malick. This 1978 film would be Malick’s last work as director until The Thin Red Line was made twenty years later. This movie stars a young Richard Gere in only his fourth feature film performance. The cast also includes Brooke Adams who used this role to launch her career. Sam Shepard rounds out the cast with an early performance in his lengthy career. Most recently he’s had roles in movies like Safe House.

When Bill (Gere) accidentally kills in a man in Chicago he takes Abby (Adams) and Linda and heads West. While traveling they find work on the farm of a wealthy but ill farmer (Shepard). Soon Bill convinces Abby to romance the young farmer in hopes of securing his fortune. As Abby gets closer to the farmer the truth about the relationship between Bill and Abby threatens to expose itself. As Abby struggles with her feelings, two men silently battle one another, both being aware of the truth surrounding them all. This battle is soon engulfed with tragedy and hardship that none of them see coming.

This was a surprisingly powerful movie. The acting throughout the film shows exactly why Gere and Shepard have had long and successful careers. Gere plays his role wonderfully, making use of the background his character possesses. Shepard is great in his emotional performance as a young man facing his own mortality and looking for happiness. Brooke Adams is also great in her role as a woman torn between two men.

The pace of the movie is also nice. Malick manages to keep the story moving nicely, without the hesitation he’s used in his more recent movies. This might be a good way for people who don’t know Malick to get a taste.

Another star of the film is the score, composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone who earned an Oscar nomination for the work. The music is powerful, beautiful, and seems like a natural part of the film. Like most of his work the music seems to draw more emotion from a scene than acting alone could do.

The acting and the music are both wonderful aspects of the movie. Still better is the visual work done by Malick and Almendros. The scenery is large and wonderful. Like The Thin Red Line the visuals go from minute details of a close-up to the epic views of a wide shot. The camera is used wonderfully to bring out the color, scale, and depth of the settings used. The costumes, sets, and effects are all great accents to the great camera work.

This was an emotional movie that brought to mind movies like Out of Africa with its amazing setting and great story. Malick had a more direct approach to his story than his more recent films have had. This approach, coupled with his eye for shot composition make this one of his best works. Despite this difference, Malick still keeps his story just out of reach. Like all his films there seems to be no possibility of relating to the people within it.

This is a wonderful movie to experience, with its flaws and successes. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys emotion and drama. I give this movie 4.1 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG

Running Time: 94 minutes

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Comments on “Days of Heaven”

  1. Brandon April 24, 2012 at 12:43 PM #

    Nice review of a sublime film.

    Like

    • jeffro517 April 24, 2012 at 4:35 PM #

      Thanks! I had not seen this film prior to this week. It is really a beautiful movie that should receive more credit than it does.

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Coming Soon: Fall and Winter of 2013 – Part III | Did You See That One? - October 18, 2013

    […] McGregor (The Impossible), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Sam Shepard (Days of Heaven), and Chris Cooper (The […]

    Like

  2. Chicago | Did You See That One? - May 3, 2014

    […] including Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain), Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Terminal), and Richard Gere (Days of Heaven). The film also features John C. Reilly (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Queen Latifah […]

    Like

  3. Out of the Furnace | Did You See That One? - July 21, 2014

    […] Hunting), Woody Harrelson (The Thin Red Line), Willem Dafoe (Mississippi Burning), and Sam Shepard (Days of Heaven). Rounding out the cast is the talented Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into […]

    Like

  4. First Knight | Did You See That One? - September 9, 2014

    […] (Airplane!). The movie stars Sean Connery (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Richard Gere (Days of Heaven), Julia Ormond (Sabrina), and Ben Cross (Chariots of […]

    Like

  5. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford | Did You See That One? - October 18, 2014

    […] with Brad Pitt (Fury) and Casey Affleck (Out of the Furnace). The cast also includes Sam Shepard (Days of Heaven), Sam Rockwell (Moon), Jeremy Renner (American Hustle), and Garret Dillahunt (Looper). Also […]

    Like

  6. Autumn in New York | Did You See That One? - May 5, 2015

    […] with the screenplay written by Allison Burnett (Ask Me Anything). The cast includes Richard Gere (Days of Heaven), Winona Ryder (The Age of Innocence), Elaine Stritch (Monster-In-Law), Anthony LaPaglia (The […]

    Like

  7. Badlands | Did You See That One? - January 20, 2016

    […] Malick (Days of Heaven) began work on this film, his debut feature as director, when he was in his second year at the […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: