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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
3,715 ( 414)
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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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

Peter Falk called his role in Wings of Desire (1987) "the craziest thing I was ever offered", but accepted after a phone call from director Wim Wenders. When Wenders told him his part had not been developed yet, Falk responded, "I've worked that way with John Cassavetes. I prefer working without a script". See more »

Goofs

Upon waking Damiel is hit by a cuirass presumably thrown from the helicopter he sees above. If a 10 pound piece of armor was dropped by a helicopter at 100 feet it would exert over 635 pounds of force on Damiel, more than the 520 necessary to crush his skull. Even if it doesn't hit him directly it would hurt him much more than it appears to. 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

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Joanna Going (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

When I Go
by Minimal Compact
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Poet re-discovers life, love and beauty
10 December 2004 | by batzi8m1See all my reviews

It's amazing that any non-German speakers can even appreciate this movie. True the basic story is universal and beautiful, but it's Peter Handke's poetry that makes it breathtaking. Wenders had done other Handke works in film - Alice in the Cities, The Lefthanded Woman, The Goalie's fear of the Penalty- but this one is very different.

This movie is about giving up the ethereal life of the observer and actually living it. Handke had lived as a hermit after his wife's suicide and raised their child alone for 10 years - claiming all he needs of a woman is a good prostitute every so often. This movie script marks his turn to the pure love of life that this dreary Goth never really displayed, even in his youthful writings. It's the wonder of the child within discovering life in all it's beauty -- in even the most mundane and everyday things.

************ PLOT SPOILER ALERT ***********

The job the angels that nobody seems to have noted here is this: They can exist in all times flowing through one spot (Berlin) and must record instances of Humans

expressing "Spirit".

A damned rare thing, it's true, but they must record it whenever they can.

Hollywood chose to leave that notion completely out of that horrible Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan "Vehicle" remake.

(Worth it for the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Mick Harvey's Crime and the City Solution alone)


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