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City of Angels (1998)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Romance  |  10 April 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 90,122 users   Metascore: 54/100
Reviews: 319 user | 109 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

Inspired by the modern classic, Wings of Desire, City involves an angel (Cage) who is spotted by a doctor in an operating room. Franz plays Cage's buddy who somehow knows a lot about angels.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Teresa Messinger
Rhonda Dotson ...
Susan's Mother
Man in Car
Woman in Car
Christian Aubert ...
Foreign Visitor in Car
Air Traffic Controller
Jimmy, Anesthesiologist


Seth is an angel who accompanies the spirits of the recently dead to the ever after. Seth has never been human and so has has never experienced touch or taste. When in the hospital however he comes across Dr. Maggie Rice, a brilliant young heart surgeon who is devoted to her profession and her patients. Seth has the power to let himself be seen but Maggie finds him far too mysterious. Seth also meets a patient, Nathaniel Messinger, who has news for him - he too was once an angel like Seth but chose to fall to Earth and become human. Seth makes a decision on his future, which does not turn out as he had expected. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What if angels walked amoung us, and one of them fell in love with us? See more »


Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality including language, and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

10 April 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un ángel enamorado  »

Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,369,048 (USA) (10 April 1998)


$78,745,923 (USA) (28 August 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Colm Feore's character is called Jordan Ferris. This is a combination of the last names of superhero Hal Jordan/Green Lantern and his love interest Carol Ferris. Eventually they were adapted into Green Lantern (2011), with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively playing Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris, respectively. See more »


When Meg Ryan listens to Dennis Franz's heart with her stethoscope, she places the stethoscope in her ears backwards. (Ear canals angle forward and stethoscopes do likewise - putting them in backwards is painful and can also prevent them from working) Ouch! See more »


Maggie: Are you a visitor?
Seth: Yes.
Maggie: Well, visiting hours have been over since 8.
Seth: Wh-Why do they have that?
Maggie: What?
Seth: Hours. Doesn't it help the patient to be visited?
Maggie: Well, who are you visiting? Mr. Messinger?
Seth: Right now?
Maggie: Yeah.
Seth: You.
See more »


Referenced in Emmerdale: Episode #1.3522 (2003) See more »


If God Will Send His Angels
Music by U2
Lyrics by Bono and The Edge
Produced by Flood and Howie B.
Performed by U2
Courtesy of Island Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

American Pop Translation of Wenders' Classic Turns Lush Film into Romantic Whimsy
28 August 2006 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

This 1998 romantic drama is as fanciful as fantasy movies come, and John Seale's beautiful cinematography goes a long way toward creating the dream-like quality essential to pull this type of movie off. Director Brad Silberling and screenwriter Dana Stevens have decided to amplify the romantic elements of Win Wenders' wondrous 1987 classic, "Wings of Desire", but stick to the basic plot elements. The transatlantic adaptation is not altogether successful because the greater themes of immortality and human fallibility in the original film have been submerged in favor of more individualized needs like sensuality and love. The thematic change trivializes the film into little more than a piece of romantic whimsy.

Now set in Los Angeles, the plot focuses on an angel named Seth who walks freely among the living and remains unseen unless he so desires. He gets drawn to Maggie Rice, an exacting surgeon who loses her first patient on the operating table. In the middle of her personal crisis, Seth comes into her life filling an emotional void, setting the stage for the pivotal decision he needs to make - remaining immortal as an angel or becoming human to experience the passion he feels for Maggie. Luckily, in probably her best dramatic performance, Meg Ryan is especially resonant as Maggie as she mutes her natural sprite-like manner into a palpable sadness that fits the character.

With a part that risks skirting parody during the first half, a steadily unblinking Nicolas Cage plays Seth in a plaintive, child-like manner until the story moves toward its inevitable climax. I still find it difficult to believe that Seth's discomforting, Norman Bates-like manner would provide such a powerful attraction to Maggie at the outset. I also think the ending plot manipulations are a botch, a contemptible attempt to twist the viewer into thinking a greater point has been made when in fact, the viewer has been sucker-punched. Andre Braugher's becalming manner is used to good effect as fellow angel Cassiel, and Dennis Franz is appropriately ostentatious as a junk-food-addicted hospital patient who is not what he appears to be. By the way, the interiors of the San Francisco Main Library (opened two years before) never looked better than under the guise of LA's in this movie.

There are a surprising number of extras for such an early release DVD (1998) with three separate commentary tracks, the first by Silberling, the second by Stevens and co-producer Charles Roven, and the third by composer Gabriel Yared. Seale and production designer Lilly Kilvert contribute select-scene commentaries on the other side of the disc. There are two featurettes - a half-hour making-of documentary called "Making Angels" and a ten-minute short focused strictly on the visual effects. Seven deleted scenes, two music videos (including the Goo Goo Dolls' then-omnipresent MTV hit, "Iris"), and the theatrical trailer round out the major DVD extras.

8 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Good 'cry' films jussayin
Why does the angels gather in library? aylina-m
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Musical score (soundtrack) karen526
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