!!The film
* BrokenBase: Either it's one of the worst films of the 1980's or a misunderstood masterpiece.
* DesignatedHero: 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.
* EndingFatigue: 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.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: To the surprise of no one, Creator/ChristopherWalken's performance as Nate Champion is considered the standout.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: The film has received popularity within some European critics circles, especially in France.
* {{Misblamed}}:
** Many people consider ''Heaven's Gate'' as the film that ended the UsefulNotes/NewHollywood and scapegoated the entire generation as PrimaDonnaDirector. In actual fact, at the time of the film's release, funding was already drying up for ambitious projects, the film industry was already bought out by corporations who sought to follow the trend of Franchise/StarWars.
** Other observers point out that the similarly TroubledProduction Film/ApocalypseNow was a box-office success and that Heaven's Gate was also accompanied by other expensive films like Creator/StevenSpielberg's ''1941'' and Creator/WarrenBeatty's ''Reds'', the former being a critical failure, an out of control production and a modest success, while the latter being successful and preserving Beatty's reputation. Spielberg himself enjoyed a couple of expensive flops in TheEighties such as ''Hook'' and ''Empire of the Sun'' yet his career did not quite sink as drastically as Cimino's. In many ways, Cimino's behavior was not especially excessive for his time, and he had success with Film/TheDeerHunter to justify his ambition and grit, yet this one failure ruined his Hollywood career for good.
** There's also the argument that the film's failure was a result of negative publicity about the film's production reported in news reports before the film's release. Negative publicity had damaged the reception of ''Film/{{Ishtar}}'' (a late-80s BoxOfficeBomb that like ''Heaven's Gate'' is now seen in a better light) and this in turn put more pressure on the producers who released a cut-down version to critics which didn't make sense, and only made things worse. This practice of cutting down and sabotaging releases also led to other instances in TheEighties such as ''Film/BladeRunner'' and ''Film/{{Brazil}}'' whose ReCut version released later proved to be successful.
* MemeticMutation: When the TroubledProduction of ''{{Film/Waterworld}}'' became the talk of Hollywood, people started calling it ''Kevin's Gate''.
* {{Narm}}: Canton's reaction to Nate's shooting of one of Ella's rapists in his tent.
--> '''Canton''': Not in here!
* OvershadowedByControversy: One of the biggest box office bombs of all time, killed off the UsefulNotes/NewHollywood era of filmmaking and the career of its director, who took DoingItForTheArt far past acceptability. Anyone actually remember what it's about?
* ProtectionFromEditors: 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.
* RomanticPlotTumor: The LoveTriangle between Averill, Champion, and Ella takes up a great deal of the movie; detractors point out what little chemistry she has with both men.
* ScapegoatCreator: Bear in mind that the book on ''Heaven's Gate'' production, "Final Cut" was written by Steven Bach, [[UnreliableNarrator aka vice-president of United Artists and producer]] of Heaven's Gate and as a result, much of the negative reputation of Cimino does not really come from neutral parties.
* SignatureScene: The Roller Skate dance sequence, complete with David Mansfield introducing the dance by skating around with the violin.
* SoOkayItsAverage: 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.
* TooCoolToLive: Nathan Champion.
* ValuesResonance: The film is ultimately about a privileged oligarchy that feels entitled to do whatever it wants to an impoverished minority; a [[TruthInTelevision reality]] that become a defining feature of TheNewTens.
* VindicatedByVideo: 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.
* WTHCastingAgency: This was the producers' initial response to Cimino wanting to cast French actress Creator/IsabelleHuppert 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 ExecutiveMeddling. 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.

!!The band

* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: They were extremely popular in Japan.
%%* NeedsMoreLove
* SignatureSong: "Rising Sun".