7.4/10
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Gates of Heaven (1978)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Comedy, Drama | October 1978 (USA)
A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

Director:

Errol Morris
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Lucille Billingsley Lucille Billingsley ... Herself
Zella Graham Zella Graham ... Herself
Cal Harberts Cal Harberts ... Himself
Dan Harberts Dan Harberts ... Himself
Phil Harberts Phil Harberts ... Himself
Scottie Harberts Scottie Harberts ... Himself
Mike Koewler Mike Koewler ... Himself
Floyd McClure Floyd McClure ... Himself
Ed Quye Ed Quye ... Himself
Florence Rasmussen Florence Rasmussen ... Herself
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Storyline

The men who run a pet cemetery, and the men and women who bury their pets, become the subject of this documentary. We first meet Floyd McClure, a paraplegic with a dream to create a pet cemetery. One inspiration is the death of his collie years before; and the other is the local rendering plant, which turns animals into glue. He realizes his dream, only to see it fail. Then we visit a successful pet cemetery, run by a father and his two sons. One is a frustrated musician, nursing a broken heart. The other is joining the family business after selling insurance in Salt Lake City. Throughout, we also meet the people who have buried their pets. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A mennyország kapui See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gates of Heaven See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

German film director Werner Herzog had made a bet with fledgling director (and current film student) Errol Morris that if Morris made a film about pet cemeteries, Herzog would eat his shoe. Morris went on to make this film, so Herzog kept his promise. The meal is documented in the film Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980). See more »

Quotes

Floyd McClure: When I turn my back I don't know you, not truly, but I can turn my back on my little dog and I know that he's not going to jump on me or bite me. But human begings can't be that way.
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Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: Winners That Were Losers (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Who's Afraid of Roger Ebert?
15 December 2002 | by enmussakSee all my reviews

Ebert put this film on his top 10 films of all time list. Now for this film to be up there with Citizen Kane and The Third Man, I was expecting to be thrown from my seat... that didn't happen.

I don't know how to rate this film. All throughout the doc, I didn't know what to make of it. The people were strangely saying very, very profound things, but I had to try hard to discard their appearance and mannerisms. I have a fear that the antics of Christopher Guest among others mocking simple people puts this film as a disadvantage. Halfway though I asked myself "Is this a comedy that I'm just not getting?" It had a Guffman air to it, which is to simply let the people talk and expect you to laugh. But is wasn't. I listened extra hard and started to see that it clearly did not show any comedic elements, but I still didn't know what to make of it. This film requires multiple viewings, but I don't really wanna see it again.

Ebert is right, this film is about much, much, much more than a Pet Cemetary. However, it is no where near one of the 10 greatest films of all time. Ebert must have lost a lot or pets or have a fixation on that movie theater in the sky.


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