The Preacher's Wife (1996)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  13 December 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 8,466 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 38 critic

Good natured Reverend Henry Biggs finds that his marriage to choir mistress Julia is flagging, due to his constant absence caring for the deprived neighborhood they live in. On top of all ... See full summary »



(novel), (earlier screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Bates ...
Saul Jeffreys
Lex Monson ...
Darvel Davis Jr. ...
William James Stiggers Jr. ...
Billy Eldridge
Marcella Lowery ...
Anna Eldridge
Mrs. Havergal
Aaron A. McConnaughey ...


Good natured Reverend Henry Biggs finds that his marriage to choir mistress Julia is flagging, due to his constant absence caring for the deprived neighborhood they live in. On top of all this, his church is coming under threat from property developer Joe Hamilton. In desperation, Rev. Biggs prays to God for help - and help arrives in the form of an angel named Dudley. However, Dudley's arrival seems to cause even more trouble... Written by Jonathan Broxton <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They needed help. What they got was a miracle.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 December 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ask melegi  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,649,752 (USA) (13 December 1996)


$48,093,211 (USA) (18 April 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Whitney Houston originally turned down her role because she felt that she could not relate to her character. She admitted that in real life she was not attracted to nice men like Reverend Biggs. She also felt that she would be uncomfortable dressed as a middle-class housewife. She eventually was able to relate to Julia's love for her family and church. See more »


Julia Biggs: Your mother would always tell me, "Girl, you need to get some meat on those bones. Henry ain't got nothing to grab on to back there!"
Rev. Henry Biggs: She just wanted you to eat, that's all.
Julia Biggs: No, she probably wanted me to be as fat as her.
Rev. Henry Biggs: She wasn't that fat.
Julia Biggs: Please, if a policeman saw your mama come walking down the street, he'd yell, "break it up!"
See more »


Referenced in Game On: Martin's Baby (1998) See more »


Written by Kirk Franklin
Performed by Whitney Houston with the Georgia Mass Choir
Courtesy by Arista Records
See more »

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User Reviews

It's a Wonderful Bishop's Life
12 March 2010 | by (Japan) – See all my reviews

I saw this when it was in the theaters. I basically loved it mainly for its music and Jennifer Lewis' (Julia's mother) performance, but also I loved the opening and closing (climax) scenes. I'm basically a sucker for that kind of thing, and I understand how other people wouldn't find it interesting. I just saw the movie (The Bishop's Wife) which it was based on and finally feel qualified to comment. TPW was not just a remake of TBW, but more of a combination of TBW and "It's a Wonderful Life." Henry in TPW was the character of Jimmy Stewart in IWL, always caring for the underdog (altho very cynical to the angel's angelhood); Joe Hamilton in TPW was "Mr Potter" of the same, with his schemes to redevelop and control the town. I actually found it charming the way elements of TBW found themselves woven into TPW: the ice skating scene, the typewriter-turned-PC, the final sermon, to name a few. But I did realize that the message had been diluted into a feel-good comedy. There are no moments where one feels deeply moved merely by dialogue, such as TBW's Dudley's story of David and the Lion, which captivates the Bishop's entire household, down to the all-business secretary (not to mention the audience!). In TPW, we are made to be moved by the beautiful music; and as such, I guess we might as well just buy the soundtrack. TBW reminded me that special effects are only as good as the movie itself.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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