Box art for Days of Heaven

Days of Heaven


A story of love and murder told through the jaded voice of a child and expressive images of nature. Bill, a fugitive from the slums of Chicago, finds himself pitted against a shy, rich Texan for the love of Abby.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
0 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
1 out of 5
3 out of 5

Unforgettable 1978 love triangle drama includes violence.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Days of Heaven is an award-winning 1978 story of a love triangle in the early 1900s that turns violent. While not gratuitous, the scenes of violence include murder, fist fights, shootings, and stabbings. For younger viewers, the more heady explorations of Social Darwinist survival, nature (Mother and human), and symbolism manifested through the change of seasons will probably go over their heads, but for viewers eager for films with deeper meanings and rare beauty, Days of Heaven is an unforgettable experience.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about symbolism. Where do some of the images and scenes seem to represent something more than what meets the eye?
  • Why do you think Linda (the young girl) was the narrator in the film? How would the film have been different if it had been another character, or if there was no narrator at all?
  • Talk about Bill and Abby's decision to trick The Farmer. Would you have made a different choice in their position?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 14
    see all Days of Heaven reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: It is the closest to poetry in motion that I have ever seen.

- Andrew Ross,, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Fresh: For Malick, Man is just a small part of a world which just keeps going round with or without his petty squabbles, crimes, loves, or melodramatic plots.

- Brian Holcomb, PopMatters, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Visually and thematically, it's still one of the most beautiful films ever made.

- David Jenkins, Time Out, Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Audience Reviews

4 stars

A poetic, painterly masterpiece, you get the feeling watching Days of Heaven that nothing you'll ever see again will live up to its sheer visual beauty. Every frame is like a painting, bursting with color, the compositions thoughtful and energetic and even. Malick's fusion of pastoral simplicity with tales of inexpressible human emotion serve him just as well the second time around; instead of exploring sociopathy as in Badlands, here he quietly dwells on the nature of love, both its transience and power. What I really like about his movies is the freedom his characters have to behave in ways that can be challenging to understand. The environments they operate in are so simple that a discerning viewer should be able to take away the meaning of each of their actions, and Malick's consistent, clear characterizations enhance this further. It's like watching bacteria interact in a petrie dish, scrutinized in a controlled environment without fear of outside interaction. His cast is also to thank for their excellent contributions (yes, even Gere, who I've made no secret about disliking), but the hand pulling the puppet strings is eternally apparent. Work as laser-precise as Malick's is often highly manipulated, and I imagine that his films are assembled with a firm grip. I would be very interested to learn more about his directorial techniques, which I think puts me squarely in New Fanboy territory. I can't wait to watch The Thin Red Line, and I even want to give The New World another shot, because hell, the man's a genius and in having previously denied this I was clearly wrong. This is an American essential.

- ceWEBrity, Saturday, October 16, 2010

3 stars

I'd like to start by stating that this is possibly one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. Every shot is a work of art and cinematographer Nestor Almendros rightfully earned his Oscar. Days of Heaven is a simple story but the way director Terrence Malick chose to tell it drove me absolutely crazy. I applaud his choice to not go the conventional route, but each scene's dialogue consisting of a fraction of a conversation compounded with Linda Manz's maddening narration kind of killed it for me. The performances/characters were negligible and honestly, Malick could've made a movie about an insurance salesman's convention and as long as he threw these visuals in I probably would feel the same way. If There Will Be Blood were (more of) a chick flick, this is what you'd end up with.

- mjgildea, Thursday, September 30, 2010

3 stars

as with anything malick does, this film is far more about its visual story telling than its dialogue or character development. im usually a huge fan of character development, but with a malick film it becomes excusable because the landscapes and cinematography are so exceptional. there are so many framable stills in this film, and even with the limited dialogue we have enough of a story here to embrace. the short running time helps the viewer to not become stagnate, and if youre willing to soak a movie in rather than be enthralled by its plot than this visual epic is perfect.

- sanjurosamurai, Tuesday, July 20, 2010