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City of Angels (1998)

PG-13 | | Drama, Fantasy, Romance | 10 April 1998 (USA)
Inspired by the modern classic, Wings of Desire, City involves an angel (Cage) who is spotted by a doctor in an operating room. Franz plays Cage's buddy who somehow knows a lot about angels.

Director:

Brad Silberling

Writers:

Wim Wenders (screenplay "Der Himmel über Berlin"), Peter Handke (screenplay "Der Himmel über Berlin") | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
4,340 ( 195)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Seth
Meg Ryan ... Dr. Maggie Rice
Andre Braugher ... Cassiel
Dennis Franz ... Nathaniel Messinger
Colm Feore ... Jordan Ferris
Robin Bartlett ... Anne
Joanna Merlin ... Teresa Messinger
Sarah Dampf ... Susan
Rhonda Dotson Rhonda Dotson ... Susan's Mother
Nigel Gibbs ... Doctor
John Putch ... Man in Car
Lauri Johnson ... Woman in Car
Christian Aubert Christian Aubert ... Foreign Visitor in Car
Jay Patterson ... Air Traffic Controller
Shishir Kurup ... Jimmy, Anesthesiologist
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Storyline

Seth is an angel who accompanies the spirits of the recently dead to the ever after. Seth has never been human and so has never experienced touch or taste. When in the hospital however he comes across Dr. Maggie Rice, a brilliant young heart surgeon who is devoted to her profession and her patients. Seth has the power to let himself be seen but Maggie finds him far too mysterious. Seth also meets a patient, Nathaniel Messinger, who has news for him - he too was once an angel like Seth but chose to fall to Earth and become human. Seth makes a decision on his future, which does not turn out as he had expected. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What if angels walked among us, and one of them fell in love with us? See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality including language, and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

City of Angels See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,369,048, 12 April 1998

Gross USA:

$78,685,114

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$198,685,114
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The book that Seth gives to Maggie is "A Moveable Feast", a set of memoirs by Ernest Hemingway. See more »

Goofs

When Maggie and Seth are on the floor of Maggie's uncle's cabin, Maggie's hand alternates between touching/not touching Seth's face between shots. See more »

Quotes

Seth: I came to take Mr. Balford... and I saw you. I couldn't take my eyes off you. How you fought for him. And you looked right at me... like I was a man.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD contains some additional/extended scenes:
  • Seth studies Maggie in her home while she is preparing a bath.
  • Maggie's dog Earl leaves her bed at night and she turns the light on. He sits beside Seth who is watching her. As she can't see Seth she just goes back to sleep.
  • The first surgery scene is extended.
  • Maggie prepares dinner while Seth watches her.
  • Seth and Maggie visit Nathaniel Messinger at his bed.
  • After Nathaniel told Maggie that Seth can fall, she goes and searches for angels in the hospital.
  • A montage of small tidbits that had to be cut like Seth talking to a Vietnamese woman or him trying to feel the blowing wind at the beach.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Nostalgia Chick: City of Angels (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Uninvited
Written by Alanis Morissette
Produced by Rob Cavallo and Alanis Morissette
Performed by Alanis Morissette
Courtesy of Maverick Recording Company
See more »

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User Reviews

God-Awful Remake of a Fantastic Film
16 March 2001 | by dcohnSee all my reviews

This horrendous remake takes a takes a clever, warm, ebullient film - Wings of Desire - and turns it into a big budget version of a Lifetime Original Movie.

The plot of both films is simple : Angels are all around us, they are the invisible recorders of human history, they do not get involved in human life. But one angel decides he wants to become human, in this version it's simply because he falls in love with a woman, and falls to earth. It goes on from there...

The ironic thing is that American remakes usually redo rather dark European films as big dumb action flicks and/or lighthearted romances. But City of Angels redoes a joyous, sweet film as the penultimate cheesy melodrama. Here the classic American overkill is not with more explosions and sex, but with more desperate, gaudy, manipulative solemnity and pretension.

In the original, Bruno Ganz plays Damiel, the angel, with a kind of casual elation. He falls to earth not simply because he falls in love, but because he wants to enjoy human life, the simple pleasures - coffee, cigarettes, the circus, children, color, smell, singing, sex, etc... And he doesn't have to have a freakin' epiphany with each discovery of a small part of human existence, part of the point is that he becomes acclamated because he is already more human than angel to begin with. Nicholas Cage plays Damiel like a terrified alien, most of the time feeling very very sorry for us sad humans, and occasionally shedding profound tears of wonder at our potential for good. Honestly I felt like punching Nicholas Cage in his poignantly wistful face every five minutes.

An even more blatent example of the needless overdramatizing comes in the form of the leading lady's role. In the original, the object of Damiel's affection is Marion, played by lovely and talented Solveig Donmartin. Marion is a trapeze artist who lives life to the fullest, but is dreamy and aimless, searching to find a true connection. In the remake, Meg Ryan is a *heart surgeon* trapped in the depths of a horrific depression over the meaninglessness of life and the pain of death. Can I get an oy veh? The love story in the original is quirky and fresh, the lovers spent the majority of time searching for each other, and when they do get together, it is one of the most beautiful and satisfying moments ever caught on film, totally totally devoid of shmaltz. The love story in the remake is ALL SCHMALTZ. Every moment they spend together is meant to be utterly profound, the height of joy and the height of despair - totally maudlin and manipulative. ICKY.

All the problems with the remake stem from these misguided attempts to make the film serious and meaningful. It's bad high-school poetry.

The real tragedy is that because Wings of Desire is a German movie, because it has a reputation for dealing with a lot of very profound and intellectual ideas, because it is very *complex*, people are turned off. I am here to tell you that, yes, Wings is more profound, more intellectual, more complex than City of Angels, but if you give it a chance, it is also lighter, funnier, more joyous, more entertaining, more beautiful, and more magical than City of Angels. Go see the original!!!


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