7.7/10
9,310
67 user 84 critic

Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 15 May 1939 (USA)
At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract.

Director:

Writer:

(screen play)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An escaped prisoner and a stuffy law professor vie for the hand of a spirited schoolteacher.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Ronald Colman
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

During World War II, American expatriate Harry Morgan helps transport a French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sensuous lounge singer.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Walter Brennan
Holiday (1938)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan
Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Captain Henri Rochard is a French officer assigned to work with Lieut. Catherine Gates. Through a wacky series of misadventures, they fall in love and marry. When the war ends, Capt. ... See full summary »

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan, Marion Marshall
Ball of Fire (1941)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A group of ivory-tower lexicographers realize they need to hear how real people talk, and end up helping a beautiful singer avoid police and escape from the Mob.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka
Gunga Din (1939)
Adventure | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 19th century India, three British soldiers and a native waterbearer must stop a secret mass revival of the murderous Thuggee cult before it can rampage across the land.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Victor McLaglen
Red River (1948)
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Dunson leads a cattle drive, the culmination of over 14 years of work, to its destination in Missouri. But his tyrannical behavior along the way causes a mutiny, led by his adopted son.

Directors: Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson
Stars: John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Missing for seven years and presumed dead, a woman returns home on the day of her husband's second marriage.

Director: Garson Kanin
Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A flamboyant Broadway impresario who has fallen on hard times tries to get his former lover, now a Hollywood diva, to return and resurrect his failing career.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A chemist finds his personal and professional life turned upside down when one of his chimpanzees finds the fountain of youth.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Marilyn Monroe
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Bat Mac Pherson
...
Judy MacPherson
...
...
...
Dutchy (as Sig Rumann)
Victor Kilian ...
Sparks
...
Gent Shelton
...
Tex (as Donald Barry)
...
Joe Souther
Manuel Álvarez Maciste ...
The Singer (as Maciste)
Milisa Sierra ...
Lily (as Milissa Sierra)
Lucio Villegas ...
Doctor
...
Mike
Edit

Storyline

When the ship San Luis makes a stop at the port of Barranca, to deliver mailbags and load bananas, cabaret singer Bonnie Lee leaves the boat for some hours to look around. She meets a gang of American flyers, who works for a warm-hearted Dutchman. He is the owner of a scrubby hotel, but also of the shaky Barranca Airways, lead by the tough flyer Geoff Carter. The only way to fly out of Barranca is through a deep pass at 14.000 feet above the ground. As the weather is often stormy and foggy, the flights are extremely difficult, and several flyers have already lost their lives. Bonnie falls in love with Geoff, who reminds her of her father, a trapeze artist who worked without safety net. She decides to leave the boat and stay at the hotel. But Geoff is scared of being detained by a woman. He wants to continue his risky lifestyle uninterrupted. The situation is aggravated when a new flyer, Bat MacPherson, turns up with his wife Judy. He once caused the death of a young flyer, by leaving ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

BIG As The Fog-Shrouded Andes! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' Only Angels Have Wings  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was inspired by a true story of a real-life couple Howard Hawks met while scouting Mexican locations for Viva Villa! (1934) (which was eventually directed by Jack Conway). See more »

Goofs

When Joe's plane clips the tree and loses the right wing, the plane rolls to the left. In fact, asymmetric lift would roll the aircraft to the right due to greater remaining airfoil surface on the left side. See more »

Quotes

Judith 'Judy' MacPherson: [Judy's drunk and stumbles] Quick, close the door. Judy's lost her equilibrium.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Adieu au langage (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Peanut Vendor
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Moïse Simons
Lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert and Marion Sunshine
Played on piano by Jean Arthur and accompanied by the restaurant band
Partially sung by Cary Grant
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A man's gotta do...
19 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is relentlessly male and relentlessly American. It functions brilliantly within the Hawksian "system" where male bonding is key, and where Woman is an outsider. Where romance is a minor part of life and where love is expressed through symbols and not through language. The group of professionals and their easy, jocular interaction is the beating heart of this film and all the group scenes are brilliantly directed. I also like the element of screwball comedy (a genre in which Hawks is one of the few masters) which presents itself in Grant and Arthur's "coffee" scene. It shows how much Hawks trusts his actors and his material in that he knows that such changes of tone can strengthen, rather than weaken, the key drama. I love this film even though its presentation of the world is not the one I'm the most sympathetic to. The film is not incredibly strong in psychological nuances - not when compared to directors like Sirk, Fuller, Welles, N. Ray, etc...and the basic tone is that of a stoicism which occasionally cracks (slightly) under pressure, but which almost immediately reestablishes itself. It's an attractive world view, but not one I'm incredibly comfortable with. There is no place here for ambiguity - not on any deep, non - localized level. I've been reading some Hawks interviews, and I now understand why Hawks was uncomfortable with being labeled an "artist". His attitude towards films and film-making is clearly the same as the attitude of the men in this film towards their work and their lives (and deaths). It's simple: you're either good enough or you're not, and you're only as good as your last flight. This identification between the man (Hawks) and his production (Only Angels Have Wings) helps to illuminate the greatness of the film, but it also explains its emotional and aesthetic limitations.


19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Location of the mountain landing spud-boy
in comparison to To Have and Have Not (1944) olebuttermilksky5-1
Favorite Scene? cinemajay
Censorship dave_wlogan
TCM The_Only_Real_Thalia
Outstanding Film; Not Talked About Much csu16387
Discuss Only Angels Have Wings (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?