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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.

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, (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Curt Bois ...
Homer
...
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
...
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
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Storyline

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:

library | angel | circus | love | germany | See All (57) »

Taglines:

There are angels on the streets of Berlin.

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Release Date:

6 May 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sky Above Berlin  »

Box Office

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)| (partly)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Cassiel is crossing the street, there is a bus coming. You can hear the bus driver let off the accelerator to allow the actor to pass, and then accelerate when he is clear. But the character is an angel, which adults cannot see, yet by the sound of the bus, it is clear that the bus driver sees him. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Bad Company (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Angel Fragments
by Laurie Anderson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

lyrical and haunting work of art
13 June 2004 | by (Mississippi,United States) – See all my reviews

Two angels named Damiel and Cassiel are onlookers on the lives of people in Berlin. Damiel longs to become human mainly because of a trapeze artist he has become drawn to. Both dote on how the world would look if they could see it with color, feel of things, and breathe air. The angels in Wim Wender's "Wings Of Desire" are separated by the rest of the world and see this world in black and white. They look upon the many sad happenings that occur, how people go about their daily lives. The angels take notes and share lifelong memories of people they have looked upon over the years. They can hear people's thoughts and how they feel about their lives. Damiel is the one the movie focuses on more. Cassiel understands Damiel's desire, but doesn't long for humanity iname way. The film isn't coy about the fact that being an angel could be quite lonely and sort of exasperating. The film's dialogue(mostly thought)from the people across Berlin are more lyrical. It's as if their thoughts are a daily constant of Shakespeare..a long tragedy of loneliness among other emotional longings. The trapeze artist, Marion, is quite a thinker and always feels as if someone has always been their to guide her through the paths of life. Peter Falk(Yep, Columbo)appears as himself playing in a film in Berlin. Many address him as that famous detective. He, like the children, can sense the Angels' presense around him..and there's quite an interesting reason why he can. The film is very pondering and haunting. Life is quite bleak. Berlin is a fascinating setting for a film like this. We often see what history has done to Berlin..the scars show such devastation, yet this brings an element that reaches out to you. We see that life goes on around the ruin..the devastation. The angels have seen that ruin first hand. The film has Cassiel following an old dying Jew. There's a particular scene I love which has the old man walking down ruined streets. He says to himself,"This can't be Potsdamer Platz." He continues to walk and remember the places that use to exist where only ruin reveals. This scene, among so many, define the film's elegant melancholy. The film really is an unforgettable gem. Towards the end, our angel Damiel makes a decision to accept a life as a human. This adds to the film's overall dilemma. I asked myself,"Are we taking things like smelling coffee, touching an apple, or simply watching the rain as it slides from a gutter for granted." The opportunities to exist and live should be appreciated somewhat. What if we are on the otherside of the spectrum? What if we had to look at others living and breathing and smelling? *****/*****


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