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Michael Cimino

The director: Michael Cimino The crime: "Heaven's Gate" (1980) The story: Not all directors are detested because of their low-brow aesthetic. After a promising early career studded with awards and praise, Cimino went wildly overbudget with his revisionist western "Heaven's Gate." The project nearly bankrupted the studio, was a box office dud and helped put a permanent crimp on his career. A subsequent run-in with executives over his direction of "Footloose" caused him to spend the rest of his career working outside the studio system. And though "Heaven's Gate" enjoyed a bit of a reprieve in the eyes of audiences years later, the rest of his films have been met with indifference. United Artists
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