Days of Heaven (1978)

PG | 94 mins | Drama | 6 October 1978

Director:

Terrence Malick

Writer:

Terrence Malick

Cinematographer:

Nestor Almendros

Editor:

Billy Weber

Production Designer:

Jack Fisk

Production Company:

Paramount Pictures Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

       The working title for the film was Stay Hungry, according to a 16 Aug 1976 Box news item. The film began principal photography in late Aug 1976 in Alberta, Canada, as reported in a 2 Sep 1976 DV news item. In order to capture the passing of seasons, the film was shot over the course of a year.
       As noted in a 9 Aug 1978 LAT article, scheduling conflicts forced actor John Travolta to pull out of the production, and Richard Gere was cast in the role of “Bill.”
       Actress Brooke Adams reportedly spent several months auditioning for her role, according to a 24 Nov 1978 LAHExam article. The casting director was not intending to recommend her to Malick, but Malick viewed her audition tape, and decided to call her back. Adams stated that during the audition process, the notoriously private Malick forced the actors to maintain secrecy about the project. Adams also noted that the script and the concept of the film changed significantly from the time she auditioned to the time production began.
       With the budget set at $3 million, Malick went to great lengths to re-create a pre-WWI era Texas harvest, as reported in a 16 Aug 1976 Box news item, purchasing rights to a farmer’s land and its crops, as well as using vintage wheat thrashing equipment from the Western Development Museum in Sakatchewan, Canada.
       In the 1 Mar 1979 issue of The Best, Clenton Owensby, a technical advisor to the film, explained how Malick was able to create the climactic locust scenes. ... More Less

       The working title for the film was Stay Hungry, according to a 16 Aug 1976 Box news item. The film began principal photography in late Aug 1976 in Alberta, Canada, as reported in a 2 Sep 1976 DV news item. In order to capture the passing of seasons, the film was shot over the course of a year.
       As noted in a 9 Aug 1978 LAT article, scheduling conflicts forced actor John Travolta to pull out of the production, and Richard Gere was cast in the role of “Bill.”
       Actress Brooke Adams reportedly spent several months auditioning for her role, according to a 24 Nov 1978 LAHExam article. The casting director was not intending to recommend her to Malick, but Malick viewed her audition tape, and decided to call her back. Adams stated that during the audition process, the notoriously private Malick forced the actors to maintain secrecy about the project. Adams also noted that the script and the concept of the film changed significantly from the time she auditioned to the time production began.
       With the budget set at $3 million, Malick went to great lengths to re-create a pre-WWI era Texas harvest, as reported in a 16 Aug 1976 Box news item, purchasing rights to a farmer’s land and its crops, as well as using vintage wheat thrashing equipment from the Western Development Museum in Sakatchewan, Canada.
       In the 1 Mar 1979 issue of The Best, Clenton Owensby, a technical advisor to the film, explained how Malick was able to create the climactic locust scenes. A large net of peanut hulls was suspended from a helicopter and dropped over the filed. Additionally, more than 5,000 grasshoppers were used for close-ups. Producer Harold Schneider recruited Owensby from Kansas State University to create controlled fires for the extermination scenes.
       As noted in a 25 Sep 1978 New West article, Paramount Pictures Corp. faced marketing challenges while trying to promote a film with an untraditional narrative. Adding to the difficulty, Malick refused to give interviews and the film’s stars were unavailable for a promotional tour. Nor did Malick allow Paramount to release a novelization of the film, a typical marketing tactic of that time.
       As a result of these setbacks, Paramount hired Pickwick Public Relations to build a promotional campaign based on word of mouth. Early screenings were by invitation only and included Hollywood celebrities, agents, historians, art and film academics, and a limited amount of press. According to New West, the tactic worked, and, after a week, major critics and reporters were clamoring for tickets to the screenings.
       Paramount also created a staggered release schedule, starting with a 13 Sep 1978 New York City premiere at Cinema I. The West Coast premiere followed a week later at the Bruin Theater in Los Angeles, CA. On 6 Oct 1976, engagements began in approximately seventeen cities nationwide as reported in a 1 Sep 1978 HR news item.
       Nestor Almendros won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography on Days of Heaven. The film also received nominations for Costume Design, Music (original score) and Sound.
      The end credits include the following written statements: “Title Sequence Photographs by Lewis Hine, Henry Hamilton Bennett, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Chansonetta Emmons, William Notman, Edie Baskin"; and "Courtesy of Library of Congress, Chicago Historical Society, New York Public Library, International Museum of Photography – George Eastman House, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Walter Rosenblum, Ewing Galloway, Notman Photographic Archives – McCord Museum, H.H. Bennett Studios, Culver Pictures, Photoworld, Inc., FPG, Inc.” The end credits also contain the following acknowledgments: “With Special Thanks to Deborah Eisenberg, Patrick Norris, Redd Foxx, Gordon Radley, Jill Jakes, Bob Rafelson, Joe Kelly, Greta Ronningen, Tom Kobayashi, Wallace Shawn, Stuart Margolin, Ian Underwood, Roger Mayer, Wallace Wolf and the Lethbridge Hutterite Communities.” The final title card states: “An O.P. Production; For Chris, Susan and Dauna.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
16 Aug 1976.
---
Box Office
13 Sep 1976.
---
Daily Variety
2 Sep 1976.
---
Daily Variety
30 Sep 1976.
---
Daily Variety
8 Sep 1978.
---
Daily Variety
16 Apr 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Sep 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Sep 1978
p. 3, 21.
Los Angeles Herald Express
24 Nov 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
9 Aug 1978.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Sep 1978
p. L1.
New West
25 Sep 1978
p. 70 - 75.
New York
25 Sep 1978.
---
New York Times
14 Sep 1978.
---
The Best - supplement to various Kansas papers
1 Mar 1979.
---
Variety
8 Sep 1976.
---
Variety
30 Aug 1978.
---
Variety
6 Sep 1978.
---
Variety
13 Sep 1978
p. 21.
Variety
16 May 1979.
---
Variety
23 Aug 2004.
---
WSJ
8 Sep 1978.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d unit dir
Prod mgr
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit mgr
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
Spec stills
2d unit photog
Cam op
Cam op
Still photog
Gaffer
Best boy
Key grip
Dolly grip
Spec cam asst
Spec cam asst
Time lapse photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
Addl ed
Ed consultant
Ed consultant
Ed consultant
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set const
Prop master
Painter
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Cost des
Men`s ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Addl mus
Mus ed
Mus mixer
Mus coord
Mus coord
Mus coord
Mus rec eng
Mus rec eng
Mus rec eng
Harmonica
SOUND
Re-rec mixer
Spec sd eff
Dolby consultant
Dolby consultant
Dolby consultant
Spec environmental sd rec
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff mixer
Glen Glenn sd crew
Glen Glenn sd crew
Glen Glenn sd crew
Glen Glenn sd crew
Sd mixer
Sd mixer
Boom man
Boom man
Spec audio asst
Spec audio asst
Spec audio asst
VISUAL EFFECTS
Title des
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
[Casting] with the asst of
[Casting] with the asst of
[Casting] with the asst of
[Casting] with the asst of
[Casting] with the asst of
[Casting] with the asst of
Scr supv
Spec asst to the dir
Spec asst to the dir
Exec asst to Bert Schneider
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
MGM supv eng
Sr accountant
Loc accountant
Transportation capt
Driver
Wrangler
Wrangler
Wrangler
Wrangler
Wrangler
Wrangler
Prod secy
Prod secy
STAND INS
Stunt flying
Stunt flying
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Enderlin," written and performed by Leo Kottke, used by permission of Overdrive Music A.S.C.A.P., Copyright 1978
"Carnival of the Animals - The Aquarium," by Camille Saint-Saëns, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, used by permission of Polydor International GmbH, Copyright 1975.
SONGS
"Swamp Dance," words and music by Doug Kershaw, performed by Doug Kershaw, used by permission of Tree Publishing Co., Inc. B.M.I., Copyright 1974.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Moissons du Ciel
Stay Hungry
Release Date:
6 October 1978
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 14 September 1978
Los Angeles opening: 20 September 1978
Production Date:
late August 1976 -- Autumn 1977 in Alberta, Canada
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
5 March 1979
Copyright Number:
PA27405
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby System®
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®
Prints
Prints in Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
94
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25199
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In pre-WWI Chicago, Illinois, a factory worker named Bill fights with the foreman and accidentally kills the man, provoking him to leave town with his young sister, Linda, and his girlfriend, Abby. Arriving by train in Texas, they are hired as farm hands in the wheat fields of a wealthy, young famer who is single and has no family. Bill and Abby claim that they are brother and sister to avoid gossip. While Linda makes a new friend, Abby catches the eye of the young farmer who instructs his foreman to find out more about her. Meanwhile, Bill gets into a fight with another farm hand who insinuates that Bill and his “sister” have an incestuous relationship. Sometime later, Bill sneaks to the famer’s house to find some salve for Abby’s injured hand, and overhears a conversation between the young man and his doctor. The farmer has a terminal illness and could die within a year. On another day, the farmer asks Abby where she will go once the harvest is over and she admits that she is not sure. At the end of the season, the farmer asks Abby to stay and to continue to work for him. When Abby tells Bill, he encourages her to remain and charm the farmer into marrying her so she can inherit his fortune. Abby is appalled by the suggestion but eventually agrees on the condition that Bill and Linda, her supposed “brother and sister,” stay on as well. Linda bids a tearful farewell to her friend as the other farm workers leave. In time, Abby marries the farmer and Bill ... +


In pre-WWI Chicago, Illinois, a factory worker named Bill fights with the foreman and accidentally kills the man, provoking him to leave town with his young sister, Linda, and his girlfriend, Abby. Arriving by train in Texas, they are hired as farm hands in the wheat fields of a wealthy, young famer who is single and has no family. Bill and Abby claim that they are brother and sister to avoid gossip. While Linda makes a new friend, Abby catches the eye of the young farmer who instructs his foreman to find out more about her. Meanwhile, Bill gets into a fight with another farm hand who insinuates that Bill and his “sister” have an incestuous relationship. Sometime later, Bill sneaks to the famer’s house to find some salve for Abby’s injured hand, and overhears a conversation between the young man and his doctor. The farmer has a terminal illness and could die within a year. On another day, the farmer asks Abby where she will go once the harvest is over and she admits that she is not sure. At the end of the season, the farmer asks Abby to stay and to continue to work for him. When Abby tells Bill, he encourages her to remain and charm the farmer into marrying her so she can inherit his fortune. Abby is appalled by the suggestion but eventually agrees on the condition that Bill and Linda, her supposed “brother and sister,” stay on as well. Linda bids a tearful farewell to her friend as the other farm workers leave. In time, Abby marries the farmer and Bill and Linda move into the house with them. Abby, Bill and Linda enjoy their new life; however, the farmer notices that Bill and Abby are unusually affectionate siblings. As Bill and Abby sneak off in the middle of the night, the foreman warns the farmer that Bill and Abby are hustlers, but the farmer refuses to believe him and sends him away. As the foreman leaves, he tells Bill that he is aware of the "sibling's" scheme. Time passes and Bill becomes frustrated when the farmer does not die as expected. A travelling circus’ airplane lands on the farm; and the performers and crew are invited to stay for a while. One night, as Bill and Abby party with the new guests, the farmer sees Bill give Abby a short kiss on the lips. The farmer wakes Abby in the middle of the night and demands to know what is going on between her and Bill. Although Abby insists that they are just affectionate siblings, she later tells Bill that she feels guilty for hurting the farmer. Realizing that Abby has fallen in love, Bill leaves town but returns at the beginning of the next harvest. Abby and Linda are happy to see him; and Bill and Abby privately apologize to each other. As they bid each other farewell, the farmer watches from his rooftop and becomes enraged when they kiss. Later that day, locusts plague the farmland and the workers struggle to smoke them out with a bonfire throughout the night. Bill stays on to help, but the farmer challenges him to a fight, which results in overturned lanterns that ignite an uncontrollable fire. The entire harvest burns. Bill finds Abby and tells her that the farmer knows their secret and insists that they run away. As Abby packs to go, the farmer catches her. He pulls out a gun, ties her up, and goes after Bill. The farmer searches all night and finds Bill at dawn. As the farmer raises his gun, Bill stabs him in the chest with a screwdriver and runs away. As the foreman finds the farmer dying, Bill, Abby and Linda escape. After pawning jewelry, they buy a boat and travel down the river, living off the land, but Abby is wracked with guilt. The foreman and the local police track them down. When Bill sees the police coming, he grabs his shotgun and runs; however, the police give chase and shoot him dead, leaving Abby and Linda devastated. Months later, Abby puts Linda in a boarding school and hops on a train filled with soldiers heading to war. Linda’s old friend from the farm finds her in the school and helps her run away. Reunited, the friends wander aimlessly down the train tracks. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.