8.1/10
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149 user 69 critic

Stairway to Heaven (1946)

A Matter of Life and Death (original title)
PG | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | March 1947 (USA)
A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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An English Pilot
Bonar Colleano ...
An American Pilot (as Bonor Colleano)
Joan Maude ...
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Robert Atkins ...
The Vicar
Bob Roberts ...
Dr. Gaertler
...
Dr. Mc.Ewen
Betty Potter ...
Mrs Tucker
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...
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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

Taglines:

A NEW EXPERIENCE! (print ad - all caps) See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

March 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Matter of Life and Death  »

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Box Office

Budget:

£320,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Dye - Monochrome)| (Colour) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Conductor 71 was guillotined during the French Revolution in 1790. See more »

Goofs

In several scenes the overseas hat worn by June has gold piping for an officer yet she was a Tech Sergeant. The piping on June's cap is in fact yellow and green, the colors of the Women's Army Corps. June wears the collar branch insignia of the WAC. See more »

Quotes

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

Referenced in QI: History (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Scherzo
(1842) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played on a record at the Shakespeare rehearsal
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Timeless Classic
21 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

Few movies can be viewed almost 60 years later, yet remain as engrossing as this one. Technological advances have not dated this classic love story. Special effects used are remarkable for a 1946 movie. The acting is superb. David Niven, Kim Hunter and especially Roger Livesey do an outstanding job. The use of Black and White / Color adds to the creative nature of the movie. It hasn't been seen on television for 20 years so few people are even aware of its existence. It is my favorite movie of all time. Waiting and hoping for the DVD release of this movie for so many years is, in itself, "A Matter of Life and Death".


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