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The Preacher's Wife (1996)

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An angel comes to Earth to help a preacher save his church and his family.

Director:

Penny Marshall

Writers:

Robert Nathan (novel), Robert E. Sherwood (earlier screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Dudley
Whitney Houston ... Julia Biggs
Courtney B. Vance ... Reverend Henry Biggs
Gregory Hines ... Joe Hamilton
Jenifer Lewis ... Margueritte Coleman
Loretta Devine ... Beverly
Justin Pierre Edmund ... Jeremiah Biggs
Lionel Richie ... Britsloe
Paul Bates ... Saul Jeffreys
Lex Monson Lex Monson ... Osbert
Darvel Davis Jr. Darvel Davis Jr. ... Hakim
William James Stiggers Jr. William James Stiggers Jr. ... Billy Eldridge
Marcella Lowery ... Anna Eldridge
Cissy Houston ... Mrs. Havergal
Aaron A. McConnaughey Aaron A. McConnaughey ... Teen
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Storyline

Good natured Reverend Henry Biggs finds that his marriage to choir mistress Julia is flagging, due to his constant absence caring for the deprived neighborhood they live in. On top of all this, his church is coming under threat from property developer Joe Hamilton. In desperation, Rev. Biggs prays to God for help - and help arrives in the form of an angel named Dudley. However, Dudley's arrival seems to cause even more trouble... Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They needed help. What they got was a miracle.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 December 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Preacher's Wife See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,649,752, 15 December 1996

Gross USA:

$48,102,795

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$48,102,795
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Whitney Houston originally turned down her role, because she felt that she could not relate to her character. She admitted that in real-life, she was not attracted to nice men like Reverend Biggs. She also felt that she would be uncomfortable dressed as a middle-class housewife. She eventually was able to relate to Julia's love for her family and church. See more »

Quotes

Julia Biggs: Your mother would always tell me, "Girl, you need to get some meat on those bones. Henry ain't got nothing to grab on to back there!"
Rev. Henry Biggs: She just wanted you to eat, that's all.
Julia Biggs: No, she probably wanted me to be as fat as her.
Rev. Henry Biggs: She wasn't that fat.
Julia Biggs: Please, if a policeman saw your mama come walking down the street, he'd yell, "break it up!"
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Chris Rock Show: Episode #1.2 (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

I Go To The Rock
Written by Dottie Rambo
Performed by Whitney Houston with the Georgia Mass Choir
Courtesy by Arista Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Nice Try
18 October 2002 | by harry-76See all my reviews

This updating of "The Bishop's Wife" has much going for it. The cast is just fine, the productional values are on a high level, and the over all intention commendable.

What "The Preacher's Wife" ends up being, however, is only an average family film. The essential difficulty, as I see it, is in Nat Mauldin and Allan Scott's screenplay.

Their script seems to lack a keen sense of structure, with too many highs and peaks, often via musical performances, which emerge inserted and bloated rather than integral and balanced.

The decision to provide Whitney Houston with full-scale musical numbers tends to more distort than enhance the film's focus. After some rip-rousing bring-down-the-house gospel fests, it seems like the end credits ought to start rolling . . . instead the play goes on anticlimactically.

Director Penny Marshall might have stepped in and ordered some sharp editing to tighten matters up and shape the film into an effective dramatic form. For this seems to be not a musical, but a light comedy/fantasy with a few incidental music interludes.

How wonderful to see the excellent Denzel Washington in a role and film in which he so lovingly believes. He invests his earnest effort into making this a winner, and he's most ingratiating in the part. Houston makes a nice costar, and the entire cast is delightful.

There's much to enjoy in "The Preacher's Wife," and there are some mighty pleasant humanistic expressions to savor and delight in along the way.


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