MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 308 this week

Stairway to Heaven (1946)
"A Matter of Life and Death" (original title)

 -  Drama | Fantasy | Romance  -  March 1947 (USA)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 11,277 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 62 critic

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Exclusive Trailer

View the Foxcatcher Exclusive trailer with Steve Carell and Channing Tatum


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 27 Feb 2011
 
a list of 45 titles
created 25 Oct 2011
 
a list of 34 titles
created 16 Feb 2012
 
a list of 23 titles
created 03 Jan 2013
 
a list of 49 titles
created 03 Mar 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Stairway to Heaven (1946)

Stairway to Heaven (1946) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Stairway to Heaven.

User Polls

3 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson
The Red Shoes (1948)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A young ballet dancer is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A 'Land Girl', an American GI, and a British soldier find themselves together in a small Kent town on the road to Canterbury. The town is being plagued by a mysterious "glue-man", who pours... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Joan Webster is an ambitious and stubborn middle-class English woman determined to move forward since her childhood. She meets her father in a fancy restaurant to tell him that she will ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A WW2 U-boat crew is stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Richard George
Fantasy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

This a film version of the opera "The Tales of Hoffmann", however it is NOT just a film of a staged performance. 'Michael Powell' & Emeric Pressburger (and the rest of "The Archers") work ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Moira Shearer, Robert Rounseville, Ludmilla Tchérina
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A British aristocrat goes in disguise to France to rescue people from The Terror of the guillotine.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Niven, Margaret Leighton, Cyril Cusack
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When Nazi anti-aircraft fire damages a British bomber, its crew bails out and seeks help from the Dutch underground.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Godfrey Tearle, Eric Portman, Hugh Williams
Gone to Earth (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A beautiful, superstitious, animal-loving Gypsy is hotly desired by a fox-hunting squire...even after she marries a clergyman.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
Hour of Glory (1949)
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on 1943 England, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins, Kathleen Byron
Peeping Tom (1960)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Karlheinz Böhm, Anna Massey, Moira Shearer
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Robert Coote ...
Bob
...
An Angel
...
An English Pilot
Bonar Colleano ...
An American Pilot
Joan Maude ...
Chief Recorder
Marius Goring ...
Conductor 71
...
Doctor Reeves
Robert Atkins ...
The Vicar
Bob Roberts ...
Dr. Gaertler
Edwin Max ...
Dr. Mc.Ewen
Betty Potter ...
Mrs. Tucker
...
The Judge
...
Edit

Storyline

Returning to England from a bombing run in May 1945, flyer Peter Carter's plane is damaged and his parachute ripped to shreds. He has his crew bail out safely, but figures it is curtains for himself. He gets on the radio, and talks to June, a young American woman working for the USAAF, and they are quite moved by each other's voices. Then he jumps, preferring this to burning up with his plane. He wakes up in the surf. It was his time to die, but there was a mixup in heaven. They couldn't find him in all that fog. By the time his "Conductor" catches up with him 20 hours later, Peter and June have met and fallen in love. This changes everything, and since it happened through no fault of his own, Peter figures that heaven owes him a second chance. Heaven agrees to a trial to decide his fate. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

heaven | love | doctor | fog | england | See more »

Taglines:

The Greatest Experience In The Emotion Of Love! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

March 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Matter of Life and Death  »

Box Office

Budget:

£320,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Dye-Monochrome)| (colour) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A 60 minute (with ad breaks) adaptation of this film was broadcast on 26th July 1951 as part of the "Screen Director's Playhouse" series on American radio (NBC) using its alternative title of "Stairway to Heaven", starring Robert Cummings and Julie Adams. See more »

Goofs

When the table tennis game is frozen, the ball moves back a few inches from the first shot of the game to the second, and the position of Frank's left arm changes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: This is the universe. Big, isn't it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Foreword (Scrolled up the screen at the start of the film): This is a story of two worlds the one we know and another which exists only in the mind of a young airman whose life & imagination have been violently shaped by war [Pauses, then scrolls up to reveal] Any resemblance to any other world known or unknown is purely coincidental. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of an Englishman (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Staircase Theme
Composed by Allan Gray
Recurring theme
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Beautiful
20 October 2001 | by See all my reviews

A Matter of Life and Death, what can you really say that would properly do justice to the genius and beauty of this film. Powell and Pressburger's visual imagination knows no bounds, every frame is filled with fantastically bold compositions. The switches between the bold colours of "the real world" to the stark black and white of heaven is ingenious, showing us visually just how much more vibrant life is. The final court scene is also fantastic, as the judge and jury descend the stairway to heaven to hold court over Peter (David Niven)'s operation.

All of the performances are spot on (Roger Livesey being a standout), and the romantic energy of the film is beautiful, never has there been a more romantic film than this (if there has I haven't seen it). A Matter of Life and Death is all about the power of love and just how important life is. And Jack Cardiff's cinematography is reason enough to watch the film alone, the way he lights Kim Hunter's face makes her all the more beautiful, what a genius, he can make a simple things such as a game of table tennis look exciting. And the sound design is also impeccable; the way the sound mutes at vital points was a decision way ahead of its time

This is a true classic that can restore anyone's faith in cinema, under appreciated on its initial release and by today's audiences, but one of my all time favourites, which is why I give this film a 10/10, in a word - Beautiful.


60 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Goofs not mentioned in the goofs section Rheli
Any sign of a Blu-ray Disc release? stevewoodhouseuk
Could it have possibly have inspired the chess scene in 'The Seventh sea filmfancritic
Midsummer Night's Dream Scene Schmoozette
The jury aonesue
Marius Goring Miss-M
Discuss Stairway to Heaven (1946) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?