Branson, Missouri. Some call it the new Nashville or the Las Vegas of the Bible Belt. Over the past ten years, nearly 40 theaters have shot out of the ground in this once sleepy Ozark Mountain town of fewer than 4000 inhabitants. Here in America’s heartland, country legends and television and stage stars from yesteryear have reincarnated themselves and offer up good ol’ patriotic, Christian entertainment to six million tourists annually.
HEAVEN ON EARTH follows filmmaker Rick Minnich’s quest to find the perfect America which Branson promises to be. Seeped in nostalgia, and wallowing in stars, stripes and neon lights, Branson is populated by such colorful figures as USO pin-up girl Jennifer Wilson, country music star Barbara Fairchild, boy wonder Matthew Matney, and, of course, Jesus Christ himself in the bombastic musical “The Promise.” Mixing show numbers, interviews, and behind the scenes shots, HEAVEN ON EARTH weaves a dense portrait of the making of the American myth. The film climaxes with the largest Veteran’s Day celebration in the United States, including a rare, chilling interview with General Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, in which he reflects upon his dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Still only a small dot on the map, Branson now offers more theater seats than Las Vegas and Broadway combined, and has established itself as the second most popular drive-to holiday destination in the United States.