Defending Your Life (1991)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  5 April 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 12,848 users  
Reviews: 84 user | 24 critic

In an afterlife resembling the present-day US, people must prove their worth by showing in court how they have demonstrated courage.



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4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Agency Head
Jeep Owner
Car Salesman
Tram Guide
Peter Schuck ...
Sharlie Stuart ...
Beth Black ...
Soap Opera Woman
Soap Opera Man
Game Show Moderator
Wil Albert ...
Game Show Contestant
Sage Allen ...
Game Show Contestant


Yuppie Daniel Miller is killed in a car accident and goes to Judgment City, a waiting room for the afterlife. During the day, he must prove in a courtroom-style process that he successfully overcame his fears (a hard task, given the pitiful life we are shown); at night, he falls in love with Julia, the only other young person in town. Nights are a time of hedonistic pleasure, since you can (for instance) eat all you want without getting fat. Written by Jon Reeves <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The first true story of what happens after you die.


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

5 April 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Visa al paraíso  »

Box Office


$16,371,128 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Actress Lee Grant played a character, Lena Foster, with a similar first name to her own. See more »


After Daniel's 'trial' is completed and he and Bob Diamond go back to Bob's office where Bob is handed an envelope with the judgment, the envelope is clearly unsealed when it is handed to Bob, yet in his office Bob tears open a sealed envelope. See more »


[first lines]
Daniel Miller: I was driving to work this morning thinking I will be here, in 2 months, it'll be 10 years. And you're like my real family. Isn't that tragic.
Daniel Miller: I got a call from my mother this morning, she wished me a happy birthday, and hinted around the fact that I wasn't making enough money. If you can call "are ya still making the same salary, honey" a hint. And my ex-wife used to say the same thing, although she never used the name "honey".
Daniel Miller: So, maybe in three years I can ...
See more »


Referenced in Minority Report (2002) See more »


Home on the Range
Written by Brewster M. Higley and Daniel E. Kelley
Arranged by David W. Guion
Performed by Albert Brooks
See more »

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User Reviews

A Funny, Thoughtful Film
3 September 2001 | by (NC) – See all my reviews

I have seen this film many times, and each time I seem to enjoy it more and more. Albert Brooks gets a hat-trick by directing, writing, and starring in this film about what life is like after death and what lies ahead for each individual. Many have already gone into great detail about the particulars of the film. I want to add that the film has tremendous heart. Albert Brooks gives probably his best performance as a man riddled with inner fears and yet learning quickly about life. The humour underlies almost every line in the film, much of it subtle and some more obvious. Brooks has a definite grasp of the little annoyances in life as he pokes fun at all kinds of situations that many of us just forget ever happened. The supporting cast is very good. I don't ever remember Meryl Streep looking so well. She seems to be so at home in her role. Lee Grant is as always a major plus, and Buck Henry adds his special subtle humour in a small role. But acting honors and many of the big laughs go to Rip Torn who looks like he is having a ball in his role defending Brook's character. The film, above all, says something about the fears and constraints we have in our lives and how they hold us back emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. How true!

45 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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