"I been thinkin' what ta do wit' my fyoochuh... I could be a mud doctuh..." (Linda Manz)
Academy Awards 1978 -
Best Cinematography: Nestor Almendros
Cannes 1979 -
Best Director: Terrence Malick
Variety - 09/13/1978
"...DAYS OF HEAVEN is a dramatically moving and technically breathtaking American art film, one of the great cinematic achievements of the last decade..."
New York Times - 12/31/1978
Included in the New York Times's "10 BEST FILMS OF 1978" -- "...[Malick is] extraordinarily gifted....Excellent performers..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 12/07/1997
"...DAYS OF HEAVEN is above all one of the most beautiful films ever made..."
USA Today - 10/11/1996
"...Gorgeous....A bizarre, early century love triangle..."
Sight and Sound - 02/01/2008
"Terrence Malick's melodrama is an unlikely masterpiece, and one of the most beautiful films ever committed to celluloid."
Total Film - 10/01/2011 5 stars out of 5 -- "Largely lensed in the window between sunset and nightfall, it's a magic hour masterpiece..."
Terrence Malick's follow-up to BADLANDS is an exquisitely photographed story of a group of early-20th-century itinerant workers who find themselves entangled in a deadly love triangle. Bill (Richard Gere) and Abby (Brooke Adams) are lovers who are forced to flee Chicago after Bill accidentally murders his foreman. Together, with Bill's little sister, Linda (Linda Manz), they settle on the land of a wealthy farmer (Sam Shepard) and spend their days working in the wheat fields. Bill discovers that the farmer is terminally ill and convinces Abby to marry him so they can inherit his fortune. As the days progress, it becomes apparent that the farmer isn't getting any sicker, and when he discovers that Abby and Bill had initially set out to con him, their carefree existence comes to a deadly end.
Notorious for its extended postproduction schedule, DAYS OF HEAVEN remains a beautifully composed work of art. Malick uses dialogue minimally, sometimes choosing not to fade in the sound of a scene until the actors have finished speaking. To combat this, he applies Linda's innocent voice-over--as he did with Sissy Spacek's in BADLANDS--to add a poetic dimension. Combined with Nestor Almendros's Oscar-winning cinematography and Ennio Morricone's mellifluent score, DAYS OF HEAVEN is a timeless motion picture that confirms Malick's directorial prowess.
Terrence Malick's second film is a lyrical screen poem about life in America at the turn of the century. When a Chicago steel-mill worker is fired after a fight with his supervisor, he hops a train for the Great Plains with his girlfriend and his younger sister. The trio join itinerant workers following the farming season and find a place with a quiet, lonely landowner. As the year passes and the harvest nears, a fateful love triangle develops, with fiery consequences. The performances match the moody compositions in this elegy for the premodern prairie, which now stands firmly as one of the most beautiful motion pictures of all time.
Essential Cinema |
Love Triangle |
Period Piece |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical Release: September 14, 1978.
The majority of the film was photographed at the "magic hour," just before the sun sets, giving the film a naturally luminous glow.
Haskell Wexler replaced director of photography Nestor Almendros when the latter had to leave due to another contractual obligation.
DAYS OF HEAVEN was originally screened in 70mm.
Terrence Malick, known for his meticulousness, took two years to edit the film.
The film features one of Sam Shepard's first screen appearances. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright and author went on to act in movies such as THE RIGHT STUFF, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, and THUNDERHEART.