Days of Heaven  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Days of Heaven is a 1978 film written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard and Linda Manz. Set in the early twentieth century, it tells a story about transient laborers who travel to the Texas Panhandle to harvest crops on a farm, and who conspire to exploit a dying farmer.

Synopsis

According to the theatrical trailer, the story is set in 1916 (the film shows a 1916 newspaper, and a scene late in the film shows American soldiers headed off for World War I). Bill (Gere), a Chicago manual laborer, knocks down a boss in the steel mill where he works, possibly killing him, and then flees to the Texas Panhandle with his girlfriend Abby (Adams) and younger sister Linda (Manz). Bill and Abby pretend to be siblings to prevent gossip.

The three hire on as seasonal workers with a rich, shy farmer (Shepard) who, although still young, Bill learns is dying of an unspecified disease. When the farmer falls in love with Abby, Bill encourages her to marry him so that they can inherit his money when he dies. The marriage takes place and Bill stays at the farm as Abby's "brother," though the farmer's foreman Robert Wilke suspects their scheme. The farmer's health unexpectedly remains stable, foiling Bill's scheme.

Eventually, Bill's true relationship with Abby is discovered by the farmer, though ironically she has begun to fall in love with her new husband. The farmer goes after Bill with a gun, but Bill kills him with a screwdriver. Although we see that the killing was in self defense, it's clear that (due to the class difference between them and the fact that Bill was perpetrating a scam on the farmer) Bill would be treated as a murderer if caught. Bill and the women escape, but the vengeful foreman puts the police on their trail, and the police ultimately kill Bill. Abby leaves Linda at a boarding school and goes off on her own.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Days of Heaven" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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