Heaven Can Wait (1978)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy, Romance  |  28 June 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 13,578 users  
Reviews: 92 user | 28 critic

A Los Angeles Rams quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an overanxious angel before he was meant to die, returns to life in the body of a recently murdered millionaire.


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Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hamilton Camp ...
Jeannie Linero ...
Harry D.K. Wong ...
George J. Manos ...
Security Guard


Joe Pendleton is a football quarterback preparing to lead his team to the Superbowl when he is almost killed in an accident. An overanxious angel plucks him to heaven only to discover that he was not ready to die, and that his body has been cremated. Another body must be found without his death being discovered, and that of a recently murdered millionaire is chosen. His wife and accountant, the murderers, are confused by this development, as he buys the Los Angeles Rams in order to once again quarterback them into the Superbowl. At the same time, he falls in love with an English environmental activist who disapproves of his policies and actions. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 June 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El cielo puede esperar  »

Box Office


SEK 3,864,734 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was made and released about thirty-two years after its source stage play "Wonderful Journey" by Harry Segall, which had been originally entitled "Heaven Can Wait", had been first performed in 1946. The Broadway production opened at the Coronet Theatre on Christmas Day the 25th of December 1946 where it ran for only nine performances before it closed on 1st January 1947. See more »


When Joe takes over the body of quarterback Tom Jarrett, the Super Bowl game is in sudden death overtime. However, all the players are wearing spotlessly clean uniforms. See more »


Max Corkle: You be the trainer and I'll start on Sunday.
Joe Pendleton: I'm starting against Dallas? What about Jarrett?
Max Corkle: They don't want to go with Jarrett. They want to go with you. Happy Birthday, Joe!
See more »


Referenced in Entourage: Entourage (2004) See more »


By A. Pestalozza (as Albert Pestalozza)
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User Reviews

Football Fairy Tale
26 April 2002 | by (California, USA) – See all my reviews

I too was surprised that this film received a not-much-better than average rating. I am not a huge fan of Beatty, but I think he plays his role in this movie perfectly, running rampant through the lives of his unfaithful wife and private secretary (Charles Grodin couldn't be better), and his former coach. Joe Pendleton is so sweet and earnest that he deserve a happy, fairy-tale ending. I don't think the script ever descends into sappiness and there is a fine ensemble cast. I laugh out loud still, even though I have seen the movie several times, and I still get a bit teary-eyed at the end. This film deserves better!

27 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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