8.0/10
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244 user 109 critic

Wings of Desire (1987)

Der Himmel über Berlin (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama, Fantasy, Romance | 6 May 1988 (USA)
An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.

Director:

Wim Wenders

Writers:

Wim Wenders (screenplay by), Peter Handke (screenplay by)
Reviews
Popularity
4,275 ( 456)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 19 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruno Ganz ... Damiel
Solveig Dommartin ... Marion
Otto Sander ... Cassiel
Curt Bois ... Homer
Peter Falk ... Peter Falk
Hans Martin Stier Hans Martin Stier ... In weiteren Rollen - Der Sterbende
Elmar Wilms Elmar Wilms ... In weiteren Rollen - Ein trauriger Mann
Sigurd Rachman Sigurd Rachman ... In weiteren Rollen - Der Selbstmörder
Beatrice Manowski Beatrice Manowski ... In weiteren Rollen - Das Strichmädchen
Lajos Kovács Lajos Kovács ... Im Zirkus - Marion's Trainer
Bruno Rosaz Bruno Rosaz ... Im Zirkus - Der Clown
Laurent Petitgand Laurent Petitgand ... Im Zirkus - Der Kapellmeister
Chick Ortega Chick Ortega ... Im Zirkus - Der Schlagzeuger (as Chico Rojo Ortega)
Otto Kuhnle Otto Kuhnle ... Im Zirkus - Die Jongleure
Christoph Merg Christoph Merg ... Im Zirkus - Der Jongleure
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Storyline

Visible only to those like them and to human children, Damiel and Cassiel are two angels, who have existed even before humankind. Along with several other angels, they currently wander around West Berlin, generally on their own, observing and preserving life, sometimes trying to provide comfort to the troubled, although those efforts are not always successful. Among those they are currently observing are: the cast and crew of a movie - a detective story set in WWII Nazi Germany - which include a sensitive and perceptive Peter Falk; an elderly man named Homer looking for eternal peace; and the troupe of a financially failing circus, which has closed early for the season because of those financial problems. One day, Damiel tells Cassiel that he wants to become human, to feel not only the sensory aspects of physical beings, but also emotional aspects. He embarks on this thought with the full realization that there is no turning back if he decides to do so. His thoughts are largely ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There are angels on the streets of Berlin.

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All of the black & white sequences were shot through a one-of-a-kind filter made from a stocking that belonged to cinematographer Henri Alekan's grandmother. See more »

Goofs

In one of the earlier shots when the camera flies around the Berlin sky, the shadow of the helicopter can be seen in the clouds below. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[in German, using English subtitles]
Damiel: [voiceover] When the child was a child, it walked with its arms swinging. It wanted the stream to be a river, the river a torrent, and this puddle to be the sea. When the child was a child, it didn't know it was a child. Everything was full of life, and all life was one. When the child was a child, it had no opinion about anything, no habits. It often sat cross-legged, took off running, had a cowlick in its hair, and didn't make faces when ...
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Crazy Credits

Dedicated to all the former angels, but especially to Yasujiro, François and Andrej. See more »

Connections

Featured in U2: Stay (Faraway, So Close!) (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Les Filles du Calvaire
by Laurent Petitgand
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User Reviews

 
The most emotionally and spiritually moving film of all time
30 April 2001 | by JaimzaySee all my reviews

A note to those of you who have only seen the bland, woefully wrong-hearted and half-assed "City of Angels", an unnecessary Americanization of this modern classic: this film leaves Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan in the dust. Co-writer/director Wim Wenders spins a visually stunning tale of angels living in Berlin before the wall came down. As they float through the lives of all they encounter, one of them falls in love with a beautiful and lonely trapeze artist. He soon must choose whether or not it is worth sacrificing the endless grace of being an earth-bound angel to know what it is like to be human, to "see at eye level."

After having seen this film eight times or so, I can safely say that it is my favorite movie of all time. I have to watch it at least once a year and every time I do, I discover a new detail, while still being enchanted by the things that made me love this film in the first place. Although leisurely paced, every scene makes a valuable point about how our lives are touched by divinity every day.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

West Germany | France

Release Date:

6 May 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sky Above Berlin See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$17,301, 1 May 1988

Gross USA:

$3,333,969

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,404,057
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color | Black and White (partly)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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