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A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

PG | | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy | March 1947 (USA)
Trailer
1:23 | Trailer
A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
David Niven ... Peter Carter
Kim Hunter ... June
Robert Coote ... Bob Trubshaw
Kathleen Byron ... An Angel
Richard Attenborough ... An English Pilot
Bonar Colleano ... An American Pilot (as Bonor Colleano)
Joan Maude ... Chief Recorder
Marius Goring ... Conductor 71
Roger Livesey ... Dr. Frank Reeves
Robert Atkins Robert Atkins ... The Vicar
Bob Roberts Bob Roberts ... Dr. Gaertler
Edwin Max ... Dr. McEwen
Betty Potter Betty Potter ... Mrs. Tucker
Abraham Sofaer ... The Judge
Raymond Massey ... Abraham Farlan
Learn more

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Storyline

Returning to England from a bombing run in May 1945, pilot Peter Carter's plane is damaged and his parachute ripped to shreds. He has his crew bail out safely, but figures it is curtains for himself. He gets on the radio, and talks to June, a young American woman working for the U.S. Army Air Forces, and they are quite moved by each other's voices. Then he jumps, preferring this to burning up with his plane. He wakes up in the surf. It was his time to die, but there was a mix-up in heaven. They couldn't find him in all that fog. By the time his "Conductor" catches up with him twenty hours later, Peter and June have met and fallen in love. This changes everything, and since it happened through no fault of his own, Peter figures that heaven owes him a second chance. Heaven agrees to a trial to decide his fate. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Greatest Experience In The Emotion Of Love! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A great many of the famous men whose statues are on the massive stairway have a common trait: they were believed to have neurological disorders when this film was made. This is a subtle nod to Peter's medical condition. See more »

Goofs

While Peter is riding up the stairway with Conductor 71, they pass the statues (on the left side of the staircase) of Lincoln, then Plato, then Mohammed, and then Solomon. When Peter realizes he needs to go back down the stairs, the statue of Lincoln can again be seen as the next statue coming up. Then, after he stands up to leave, the statue of Mohammed is once again next to him. However, a representation of Mohammed, correctly, is never seen; only the base of the statue with his name-plate on it is seen. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: This is the universe. Big, isn't it?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Foreword (Scrolled up the screen at the start of the film): This is a story of two Worlds the one we know and another which exists only in the mind of a young airman whose life & imagination have been violently shaped by war [Pauses, then scrolls up to reveal] Any resemblance to any other world known or unknown is purely coincidental. See more »

Alternate Versions

The US release was cut to avoid showing the naked shepherd boy in the sand dunes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest Films (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Shoo Shoo Baby
(1943) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Phil Moore
Sung on the radio by an unidentified man at the trial
See more »

User Reviews

 
Timeless Classic
21 December 2004 | by voiceof67See all my reviews

Few movies can be viewed almost 60 years later, yet remain as engrossing as this one. Technological advances have not dated this classic love story. Special effects used are remarkable for a 1946 movie. The acting is superb. David Niven, Kim Hunter and especially Roger Livesey do an outstanding job. The use of Black and White / Color adds to the creative nature of the movie. It hasn't been seen on television for 20 years so few people are even aware of its existence. It is my favorite movie of all time. Waiting and hoping for the DVD release of this movie for so many years is, in itself, "A Matter of Life and Death".


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Russian

Release Date:

March 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Matter of Life and Death See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP320,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$124,241
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Archers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Black and White (Dye - Monochrome) (heaven scenes)| Color (Technicolor) (Earth scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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