Days of Heaven

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Got wheat? Days of Heaven does, and then some. Surely this is one of the most beautiful films ever made. Terrence Malick's second film about love, death and whole grains set in the turn-of-the-century Texas panhandle was filmed in 1976 before being released in 1978.

What is this film all about?
At the turn of the century, Bill, his sister Linda and his other "sister" Abby (in reality his girlfriend) flee Chicago slums for the open plains of Texas. They end up working on a wheat farm owned by The Farmer. The Farmer falls for Abby. When Bill finds out that The Farmer is terminally ill, he convinces Abby to marry The Farmer thinking that he will soon inherit the farm. But things don't go quite as planned for everyone.


Bill talks with the farm foreman
Off to a hard day's work in the field
Linda takes a break
Bill talks with Abby--notice the wheat in the background
The landowning farmer must also work terribly hard
Farm equipment in all its glory
Bill and another farm worker come to blows--over who was the best James Bond
A sad Linda
Oh, it's tough to be the boss!
Nothing like sparking romance over an open fire
Nothing like ruining romance by setting the farm on fire
Bill and Abby in their salad days.
Sam Shepard (The Farmer) and Brooke Adams (Abby) take a break
The Farmer's house on the hill
The farm foreman and the Farmer
Another picture of the Farmer and his accountant
More farm equipment
The Farmer and Abby

Cast credits

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Memorable lines

I'm always looking out for you.
You deserve a medal.

He was tired of living like the rest of them nosing around like a pig in a gutter. He wasn't in a mood no more. He figured there must be something wrong with 'em, the way they always got no luck, and they ought to get it straightened out. He figured some people need more than they got, other people got more than they need. Just a matter of getting us all together.

I think I love you.
What a nice thing to say.

You're like an angel.
I wish I was.

I got to like this farm. Do anything I want, roll in the fields, talk to the wheat patches. When I was sleepin' they'd talk to me. They'd go in my dreams.

Sometimes I feel very old, like my whole life's over, like I'm not around anymore.

You know what I thought when I first saw you? I thought if only I could touch your hair that everything would be alright. You make me feel like I've come back to life. Isn't that funny? I always thought that being alone was just something that a man had to put up with you know. It's like uh I just got used to it. Sometimes it's like you're right inside of me you know that I can hear voice and feel your breath and everything.

The devil just sittin' there laughing. He's glad when people does that. Then he sends them to the snakehouse. He just sits there and laughs and watch while you're sitting there all tied up and snakes are eating your eyes up. The snakes go down your throat and eat all your systems up.
(Cut to Bill and Abby kissing. The Farmer sees this and smashes things.)
I think the devil was on the farm.

The sun looks ghostly when there's a mist on the river and everything's quiet. I never knowed it before. And you could see people on the shore but it was far off and you couldn't see what they were doing . They were probably calling for help or something or they were trying to bury somebody or something. We seen the trees that the leaves are shaking and it looks like shadows of guys that are coming at you and stuff. We heard owls squawking away hooting away. We didn't know where we were going and what we were going to do. I'd never been on a boat before. That was the first time.
Some sights that I saw was really spooky that it gave me goosebumps. I felt like cold hands touching the back of my neck and, and it could be the dead coming for me or something. I remember this guy his name was Blackjack, he died. He only had one leg and he died. And I think that was Blackjack making those noises.

(about her school friend)
This girl she didn't know where she was goin' or what she was gonna do. She didn't have no money or nothin'. Maybe she'd meet up with a character. I was hoping things would work out for her. She was a good friend of mine.

Interview excerpts

In the documentary Visions in Light director of photography Nestor Almendros says Malick:

On the subject of shooting the film at "Magic Hour," Almendros comments:

Haskell Wexler, who took over as Director of Photography when Almendros left to shoot another film, says:


NEW!!! Film and literature references

Thanks to Peter for film facts and info, and Karl for going on a unique tour of Toronto, Canada's movie memorabilia stores on a quest for Days of Heaven.

Back to the Flicks of Terrence Malick

Writing copyright T. Oates 2001