- Broken Base: Either it's one of the worst films of the 1980's or a misunderstood masterpiece.
- Designated Hero: Several viewers have found themselves rooting for the Association, as the immigrants, what with their lack of character development and rather annoying voices, come across as less likable.
- Ending Fatigue: With a runtime of three hours and 46 minutes, this is one of the biggest complaints, as the plot isn't especially viewed to be enough to fill out the running time. In particular, the epilogue is viewed as extraneous and could have been cut.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film has received popularity within some European critics circles.
- Memetic Mutation: When the Troubled Production of Waterworld became the talk of Hollywood, people started calling it Kevin's Gate.
- Overshadowed by Controversy: One of the biggest box office bombs of all time, killed off the New Hollywood era of filmmaking and the career of it's director, who took Doing It for the Art far past acceptability. Anyone actually remember what it's about?
- Protection from Editors: The main reason why the film's budget spiralled so ludicrously out of control; Cimino's contract said that short of outright firing him, the producers could not interfere with the film's writing or filming process in any way. The contract did allow the producers to make and release their own cut (which they ultimately did), but Cimino ended up creating such a long, dense plot that the producer's cut turned out to be a barely comprehensible mess.
- So Okay, It's Average: What some viewers now see the film as. While the cinematography, sets, and production design are generally seen as absolutely beautiful, the story and characters aren't viewed as being relatable or all that interesting.
- Too Cool to Live: Nathan Champion.
- Vindicated by Video: The landmark cable event happened when the Z-Channel showed it a few months after release and Vincent Canby's withering, almost personal attacks on the film to prove it was actually pretty good. Then, after VHS and DVD releases, the film has acquired a bit of a cult following and is seeing a margin of critical revision postulating that it isn't really that bad. In particular, the 2013 re-release of the Director's Cut has been met with critical praise.
- WTH, Casting Agency?: This was the producers' initial response to Cimino wanting to cast French actress Isabelle Huppert as the female (American) lead. Few people would argue that Huppert is in any way a bad actress, but her role in this film is probably the one that divides critics the most; in particular, the producers and many critics shared the opinion that her dialogue is fairly incomprehensible at times. Of course, one of the producers tried Executive Meddling. Cimino's response? "Go fuck yourself." According to Final Cut, the book Steven Bach wrote on the making of it, the executives fought him every step of the way against casting Huppert, finally giving up when they realized that he was infatuated with her and that if they didn't agree, he would walk.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: They were extremely popular in Japan.
- Signature Song: "Rising Sun".
- X Meets Y: In Control -album is Judas Priest mixed with early Helloween.