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

 -  Drama | Fantasy | Romance  -  March 1947 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 11,175 users  
Reviews: 126 user | 62 critic

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

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Title: Stairway to Heaven (1946)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Robert Coote ...
Bob
...
An Angel
...
An English Pilot
Bonar Colleano ...
An American Pilot (as Bonor Colleano in closing credits)
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 NEAREST THING TO HEAVEN! (print ad - all caps) 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

Dr. Reeves quotes from Lord Byron's poem, "CLXXIII: She walks in beauty like the night" when noting June's arrival. See more »

Goofs

In several scenes the overseas hat worn by June has gold piping for an officer yet she was a Tech Sergeant. 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

Spoofed in Big Train: Episode #1.4 (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Shoo Shoo Baby
(1943) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Phil Moore
Sung on the radio by an unidentified man at the trial
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Simply Beautiful
13 August 2006 | by (Glasgow, Scotland) – See all my reviews

A Matter of Life and Death had me stunned when I first saw it. The marvellous opening, makes you feel like you are floating among the stars in a place of your own. Then it moves to the horrors of war and the down side of life, men dead and more to follow. The story has already been told a thousand times by other reviewers who were as enchanted by this film as I was. The cinematography, the story, everything was just right. In my book it is the greatest film ever made. I liked the way that the earth is in sometimes beautiful, sometimes gritty Technicolour, then what is above is in mystical Black and White. To my dying days I will always love this film. See it before you die.


41 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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