Critic Reviews



Based on 10 critic reviews provided by
Slant Magazine
The other reason why Hawks's film can't be approached as a pure sociological interrogation is that it's, quite visibly, a Hollywood production with certain inescapable commitments to entertainment convention. This isn't to downgrade the movie, though, as there's a reason why Hawks and other Old Hollywood filmmakers have become so revered.
The film offers genuine intrigue and excitement.... But its ultimate power derives largely from its unusual ethos, which celebrates pragmatism at the expense of emotional behavior while simultaneously acknowledging just how profound a pragmatist’s emotions can be.
Total Film
One of [Hawks'] finest pictures: a swoony saga of fatalistic flyboys and the women who try to keep their feet on the ground.
Hawks weaves brawny romance and humor and a man’s-man sort of heartbreak into his tribute to the ideal of vocation.
Grant is absolutely superb as the impassive Geoff.
This isn’t quite tense or funny enough to become the masterpiece some Hawks lovers claim. But it is smart, incisive and often very funny.
Only Angels Have Wings is a powerful character study, and director Hawks and his fine, predominantly male cast carefully develop the personalities of an interesting collection of characters. Though much of the dialogue is predictable, the story is strong, the acting is outstanding, and Hawks's cameras move with fluid grace through the confining sets.
In Only Angels Have Wings, Howard Hawks had a story to tell and he has done it inspiringly well.
It is an eccentric and entertaining movie soap-opera.
When you add it all up, Only Angels Have Wings comes to an overly familiar total. It's a fairly good melodrama, nothing more.

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