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Wings of Desire (1987)

Der Himmel über Berlin (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama, Fantasy, Romance | 6 May 1988 (USA)
An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.



, (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4,936 ( 503)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hans Martin Stier ...
In weiteren Rollen - Der Sterbende
Elmar Wilms ...
In weiteren Rollen - Ein trauriger Mann
Sigurd Rachman ...
In weiteren Rollen - Der Selbstmörder
Beatrice Manowski ...
In weiteren Rollen - Das Strichmädchen
Lajos Kovács ...
Im Zirkus - Marion's Trainer
Bruno Rosaz ...
Im Zirkus - Der Clown
Laurent Petitgand ...
Im Zirkus - Der Kapellmeister
Chick Ortega ...
Im Zirkus - Der Schlagzeuger (as Chico Rojo Ortega)
Otto Kuhnle ...
Im Zirkus - Die Jongleure
Christoph Merg ...
Im Zirkus - Der Jongleure


Visible only to those like them and to human children, Damiel and Cassiel are two angels, who have existed even before humankind. Along with several other angels, they currently wander around West Berlin, generally on their own, observing and preserving life, sometimes trying to provide comfort to the troubled, although those efforts are not always successful. Among those they are currently observing are: the cast and crew of a movie - a detective story set in WWII Nazi Germany - which include a sensitive and perceptive Peter Falk; an elderly man named Homer looking for eternal peace; and the troupe of a financially failing circus, which has closed early for the season because of those financial problems. One day, Damiel tells Cassiel that he wants to become human, to feel not only the sensory aspects of physical beings, but also emotional aspects. He embarks on this thought with the full realization that there is no turning back if he decides to do so. His thoughts are largely ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

suicide | library | angel | circus | berlin | See All (62) »


There are angels on the streets of Berlin.


Drama | Fantasy | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 May 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sky Above Berlin  »

Box Office


$3,806,540 (USA) (18 September 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Eastmancolor)| (partly)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


All of the black & white sequences were shot through a one-of-a-kind filter made from a stocking that belonged to cinematographer Henri Alekan's grandmother. See more »


The position of the boys' jump-ball changes as Bruno passes by. See more »


[first lines]
[in German, using English subtitles]
Damiel: [voiceover] When the child was a child, it walked with its arms swinging. It wanted the stream to be a river, the river a torrent, and this puddle to be the sea. When the child was a child, it didn't know it was a child. Everything was full of life, and all life was one. When the child was a child, it had no opinion about anything, no habits. It often sat cross-legged, took off running, had a cowlick in its hair, and didn't make faces when ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to all the former angels, but especially to Yasujiro, François and Andrej. See more »


Referenced in The Debridement of Rome (2012) See more »


Der Karibische Western
by Die Haut
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Poet re-discovers life, love and beauty
10 December 2004 | by (Watsonville, California) – See all my reviews

It's amazing that any non-German speakers can even appreciate this movie. True the basic story is universal and beautiful, but it's Peter Handke's poetry that makes it breathtaking. Wenders had done other Handke works in film - Alice in the Cities, The Lefthanded Woman, The Goalie's fear of the Penalty- but this one is very different.

This movie is about giving up the ethereal life of the observer and actually living it. Handke had lived as a hermit after his wife's suicide and raised their child alone for 10 years - claiming all he needs of a woman is a good prostitute every so often. This movie script marks his turn to the pure love of life that this dreary Goth never really displayed, even in his youthful writings. It's the wonder of the child within discovering life in all it's beauty -- in even the most mundane and everyday things.

************ PLOT SPOILER ALERT ***********

The job the angels that nobody seems to have noted here is this: They can exist in all times flowing through one spot (Berlin) and must record instances of Humans

expressing "Spirit".

A damned rare thing, it's true, but they must record it whenever they can.

Hollywood chose to leave that notion completely out of that horrible Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan "Vehicle" remake.

(Worth it for the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Mick Harvey's Crime and the City Solution alone)

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I could onlly stand this for 20 minutes alucardjb
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