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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)
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Popularity
1,867 ( 2,582)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 18 wins & 11 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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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White (partly)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wim Wenders: a film-crew member in the scene where Otto Sander observes a movie set. See more »

Goofs

When Damiel rides the subway, the train passes a station without stopping. There are fresh posters on the station wall so this is not one of the "ghost stations" where trains did not stop in the 1980s. 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 ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

When I Go
by Minimal Compact
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Our Town for the Cold War Generation
22 February 2005 | by bejasusSee all my reviews

If my grandchildren ever ask me what it was like back in the Cold War, I'll tell them to watch this movie. It is both frighteningly bleak and lyrically beautiful. It captures the spirit of the times (Western civilization immediately before the fall of the Berlin Wall) better than any movie I've ever seen. And it manages to be a love letter to those times while also showing the place and time in all its inescapable ugliness.

The overall plot moves forward pretty nicely for a movie where plot doesn't seem to matter all that much, and there are some beautiful vignettes, beautifully photographed, acted, and directed. I'm not sure how anyone can make it through the movie without falling in love with Bruno Ganz's angel. I think the movie's lyricism holds up well on multiple viewing -- as long as you liked it the first time. If the self-consciously art-house form bugs you, however, or you find the screenplay's "poetry" to be too facile, you'll probably find this movie grating. I, however, have never seen people reading silently in a public library without thinking of this movie . . . .


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