Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Days of Heaven (1978)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Days of Heaven (1978)

In director/writer Terrence Malick's moving and beautiful love-triangle drama set in the WWI-era:

  • the breath-taking visual images and cinematography of Oscar-winning Nestor Almendros
  • to the tune of Leo Kottke's acoustical guitar "Enderlin," a steam locomotive carrying migrant workers crossed a high suspension/trestle scaffold bridge, silhouetted against the partly cloudy blue sky - with the view of the original threesome of the film sitting atop the train as it journeyed through Midwest farmlands and America's heartland with dozens of other would-be harvest hands, including: ex-apple juggler Bill (Richard Gere), Bill's girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) posing as Bill's sister, and Bill's young sister Linda (Linda Manz) - all traveling from Chicago; Linda narrated (in voice-over): ("Me and my brother, it just used to be me and my brother, we used to do things together. We used to have fun. We used to roam the streets. There was people suffering of pain and hunger. Some people their tongues were hangin' out of their mouth...In fact, all three of us been goin' places, lookin' for things, searchin' for things, goin' on adventures. They told everybody they were brother and sister. My brother didn't want nobody to know. You know how people are. You tell 'em somethin' - they start talkin'")
  • Linda's voice-over reflections about a fiery apocalypse that would consume everything in its path, unless one was judged to be good and saved by God's mercy in heaven: ("...the whole Earth is goin' up in flame. Flames will come out of here and there and they'll just rise up. The mountains are gonna go up in big flames, the water's gonna rise in flames. There's gonna be creatures runnin' every which way, some of them burnt, half of their wings burnin'. People are gonna be screamin' and hollerin' for help. See, the people that have been good - they're gonna go to heaven and escape all that fire. But if you've been bad, God don't even hear you. He don't even hear ya talkin'")
  • the arrival of horse-pulled wagons across the golden plains at sunset, bound for a wheat farm on the flat landscape of the Texas Panhandle - and the sight of an entrance archway amidst immense fields of golden wheat, and an imposing farm house standing three stories tall in the distance as a lone fixture - the abode of "Farmer" (Sam Shepard)
  • the beautiful wheat field sequence at dawn's light as the priest blessed the harvest ("For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. As soon as thou scatters them"), before tractors and threshers moved in from a hilltop and migrant workers began to gather the wheat
The Start of the Wheat Harvest
(Sam Shepard)
Priest Blessing Harvest
Beginning of the Work
  • the devastating scene of the arrival of locusts, signaling workers into the fields with shovels, branches, noisemakers and other swatters to scare off the invaders - to kill them, smoke them out, collect them by the bushel-full, and burn them in a bonfire, although their deafening sounds and implacable, gnawing and devouring mandibles had already done damage
  • Linda's final voice-over as the film concluded, when she escaped from a boarding school's dance academy and met up with a farm friend, to proceed away toward an uncertain future: "This girl, she didn't know where she was goin' or what she was gonna do. She didn't have no money on her. Maybe she'd meet up with a character. I was hopin' things would work out for her. She was a good friend of mine"

Migrant Workers' Train

Voice-Over Narrator: Linda (Linda Manz)

Archway Entry to Wheat Farm in the Panhandle

The "Farmer's" Imposing Three-Story House

Two Migrant Workers: Bill (Richard Gere) and his girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) Posing as his Sister


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