IMDb > Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
Only Angels Have Wings
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Only Angels Have Wings (1939) More at IMDbPro »

Only Angels Have Wings -- Jean Arthur is a stranded showgirl who sets her sights on Cary Grant in this rousing adventure taleof men who fly mail planes over the Andes.


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7.7/10   8,263 votes »
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Up 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Jules Furthman (screen play)
View company contact information for Only Angels Have Wings on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 May 1939 (USA) See more »
BIG As The Fog-Shrouded Andes! See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more »
User Reviews:
Not just another Hawks and Grant film - it's a lot more than meets the eye See more (64 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Cary Grant ... Geoff Carter

Jean Arthur ... Bonnie Lee

Richard Barthelmess ... Bat Mac Pherson

Rita Hayworth ... Judy MacPherson

Thomas Mitchell ... Kid Dabb

Allyn Joslyn ... Les Peters
Sig Ruman ... Dutchy (as Sig Rumann)
Victor Kilian ... Sparks

John Carroll ... Gent Shelton

Don 'Red' Barry ... Tex (as Donald Barry)

Noah Beery Jr. ... Joe Souther
Manuel Álvarez Maciste ... The Singer (as Maciste)
Milisa Sierra ... Lily (as Milissa Sierra)
Lucio Villegas ... Doctor

Pat Flaherty ... Mike
Pedro Regas ... Pancho
Pat West ... Baldy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Enrique Acosta ... Tourist (uncredited)
Harry A. Bailey ... Tourist (uncredited)
Wilson Benge ... Assistant Purser (uncredited)
Dick Botiller ... Tourist (uncredited)
Stanley Brown ... Harkwright Jr. (uncredited)
Cecilia Callejo ... Felice Torras - Geoff's Lady Friend (uncredited)
Candy Candido ... Bass Player (uncredited)
Lew Davis ... Shorty - Mechanic (uncredited)
Vernon Dent ... Ship's Captain (uncredited)
Curley Dresden ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Elena Durán ... Elena Silva - Geoff's Lady Friend (uncredited)
Budd Fine ... First Mate on the Ship's Bridge (uncredited)
Eddie Foster ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Tex Higginson ... Foreman #2 (uncredited)
Raúl Lechuga ... Tourist (uncredited)
Jack Low ... Banana Foreman (uncredited)
Francisco Marán ... Plantation Overseer on Trolley (uncredited)
James Millican ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Charles R. Moore ... Charlie - Waiter (uncredited)
Forbes Murray ... Mr. Harkwright - Mine Operator (uncredited)
Tessie Murray ... Tourist (uncredited)
Aurora Navarro ... Tourist (uncredited)
Inez Palange ... Lily's Aunt (uncredited)
Ed Randolph ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Al Rhein ... Mechanic (uncredited)
Ky Robinson ... Mechanic (uncredited)

Robert Sterling ... Bit Role (uncredited)
Rafael Storm ... Rafael - Purser with the Scar (uncredited)
Sammee Tong ... Sam the Cook (uncredited)
Victor Travers ... Plantation Overseer (uncredited)
Bud Wolfe ... Mechanic (uncredited)

Directed by
Howard Hawks 
Writing credits
Jules Furthman (screen play)

Eleanore Griffin  contributor to treatment (uncredited)
Howard Hawks  story "Plane from Barranca" (uncredited)
William Rankin  contributor to treatment (uncredited)

Produced by
Howard Hawks .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Dimitri Tiomkin 
Cinematography by
Joseph Walker (photography)
Film Editing by
Viola Lawrence 
Art Direction by
Lionel Banks 
Costume Design by
Robert Kalloch (gowns) (as Kalloch)
Makeup Department
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Arthur S. Black Jr. .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sam Nelson .... second unit director (uncredited)
Richard Rosson .... second unit director (uncredited)
Art Department
Chesley Bonestell .... background paintings (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Roy Davidson .... special effects
Edwin C. Hahn .... special effects (uncredited)
Harry Redmond Jr. .... special effects (uncredited)
Harry Redmond Sr. .... special effects (uncredited)
Paul Mantz .... chief stunt pilot (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Elmer Dyer .... aerial photographer
Music Department
Morris Stoloff .... musical director (as M.W. Stoloff)
Howard Jackson .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Ben Oakland .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Louis Silvers .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Other crew
Paul Mantz .... chief pilot
Paul Mantz .... technical adviser
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Howard Hawks' Only Angels Have Wings" - USA (complete title)
See more »
121 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Argentina:13 | Australia:G | Finland:K-16 | France:U (re-release) | Germany:6 | Netherlands:14 (original rating) (1939) | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (video rating) (1992) | UK:U (passed with cuts) (1951) | USA:Approved (PCA #4942) | West Germany:16 | West Germany:12 (cut version)

Did You Know?

Richard Barthelmess had deep scars that resulted from an infection due to plastic surgery. The only way to cover them up was with heavy make-up, but Howard Hawks convinced him to leave them the way they were because "those scars tell the story and are important to your character." Hawks also removed planks to make Barthelmess appear smaller, to reflect his character's inferiority among his fellow pilots.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When McPherson takes off with the patient, the chimney smoke shows he's taking off with the wind instead of against the wind. Taking off against the wind would increase his relative speed and help him take off.See more »
Geoff Carter:You'd better be good!
Bonnie Lee:I won't be as corny as you.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in To Have and Have Not (1944)See more »
The Peanut VendorSee more »


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34 out of 40 people found the following review useful.
Not just another Hawks and Grant film - it's a lot more than meets the eye, 14 October 2005
Author: Ruby Liang (ruby_fff) from sf, usa

This may be an overlooked Howard Hawks film. It's really a thoughtful film with substance under the guise of Hollywood famous stars and lively screenplay banters. Subject touches on death just 20 minutes into the film. Certainly no dull pacing. It has golden segments, like the exchanges between Grant and Barthelmess, Grant and Mitchell, Mitchell and Arthur, Arthur and Grant, and 10 minutes later, we see people gathered round by the piano singing songs and cajoling - not without sorrow beneath. Be not fooled, sentiments are there for friends passed away. It's not, but it is, a way of handling grief.

It's life, matter of fact and not hung up or lingering, simply moving on, devil may care, with boldness, dare, and risk-woe-begotten (or forgotten, for that matter). Men - one track-minded, to fly to deliver no-matter-what. Women - worry, or why worry. To love the man, much of letting go and let him be comes with the territory, even if it's Jean Arthur or Rita Hayworth. The story revolves around not just Cary Grant's Geoff leading the pack in the Andes, but also Thomas Mitchell's brother gone, Richard Barthelmess' past recur, Rita Hayworth's nostalgic fear, and the spunky, sentimental Jean Arthur's Bonnie wraps it all up. The supporting cast aptly contributes from the restaurant-hotel-mailing service owner, the lively South American accents and melody, to the pilots who are green and know not what peril is, and the lone fog-watcher and his donkey. Secrets revealed, conflicts challenged, and there's a growing promotion of trust through it all. Between business partners, colleagues, friendship or marriage - that unquestionable trust, without asking out loud but understood within - is what life and dare all about.

This film grew on me. I first saw it on cable TCM the latter half and couldn't wait to catch it again for the full story. Screenplay by Jules Furthman, music score by Dimitri Tiomkin, directed and produced by Howard Hawks, "Only Angels Have Wings" 1939 (available on DVD) is full of life, humor, drama, adventurous spirits, and non-stop exchange of word deliveries - entertaining, enjoyable, and heart-warming.

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