Oscar Directors: Cimino, Michael–Career after The Deer Hunter Oscar

Many critics who had originally praised The Deer Hunter became reserved about the picture and about Cimino after Heaven’s Gate. The story of the making of the movie, and UA’s subsequent downfall, was documented in Steve Bach’s book Final Cut.

The reputation of Cimino’s film was slightly improved by an unlikely source: the Z Channel, a cable pay TV channel that at its peak in the mid-1980s served 100,000 of Los Angeles’s most influential film professionals.

After the unsuccessful release of the re-edited and shortened Heaven’s Gate, Jerry Harvey, the channel’s programmer, decided to play Cimino’s original 219 minute cut on Christmas Eve 1982. The re-assembled movie received admiring reviews.

Year of the Dragon

Cimino directed a 1985 crime drama, Year of the Dragon, which he and Oliver Stone adapted from Robert Daley’s novel.

Year of the Dragon was nominated for five Razzie awards, including Worst Director and Worst Screenplay.

The film was sharply criticized for showing offensive stereotypes of Chinese Americans

The Sicilian

Cimino directed The Sicilian from a Mario Puzo novel in 1987. The film bombed at the box office, costing an estimated $16 million, grossing $5 million domestically.

Desperate Hours

Cimino directed a remake of Humphrey Bogart’s last film, The Desperate Hours, in 1990, starring Anthony Hopkins and Mickey Rourke.  Rourke also appeared in Heaven’s Gate and Year of the Dragon. The film was another box office disappointment, grossing less than $3 million.


Cimino’s last feature-length film is Sunchaser in 1996, starring Woody Harrelson and Jon Seda. While playing at that year’s Cannes Film Fest, it was a box-office flop.