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The Preacher's Wife (1996)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  13 December 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 8,460 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?


In 2009, Whitney Houston revealed on The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) that by the time The Preacher's Wife (1996) started shooting, her cocaine and marijuana habits had gotten so bad that there was never a day while filming the movie on which she had not done some drugs. See more »


Julia Biggs: Who would use Baby Wet Wet for Jesus?
See more »


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


Step By Step
Written by Annie Lennox
Performed by Whitney Houston
Courtesy by Arista Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Nice Try
18 October 2002 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – See all my reviews

This updating of "The Bishop's Wife" has much going for it. The cast is just fine, the productional values are on a high level, and the over all intention commendable.

What "The Preacher's Wife" ends up being, however, is only an average family film. The essential difficulty, as I see it, is in Nat Mauldin and Allan Scott's screenplay.

Their script seems to lack a keen sense of structure, with too many highs and peaks, often via musical performances, which emerge inserted and bloated rather than integral and balanced.

The decision to provide Whitney Houston with full-scale musical numbers tends to more distort than enhance the film's focus. After some rip-rousing bring-down-the-house gospel fests, it seems like the end credits ought to start rolling . . . instead the play goes on anticlimactically.

Director Penny Marshall might have stepped in and ordered some sharp editing to tighten matters up and shape the film into an effective dramatic form. For this seems to be not a musical, but a light comedy/fantasy with a few incidental music interludes.

How wonderful to see the excellent Denzel Washington in a role and film in which he so lovingly believes. He invests his earnest effort into making this a winner, and he's most ingratiating in the part. Houston makes a nice costar, and the entire cast is delightful.

There's much to enjoy in "The Preacher's Wife," and there are some mighty pleasant humanistic expressions to savor and delight in along the way.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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