City of Angels (1998) Poster

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Very Romantic ... Very Good ...
Michiel Waaijer20 February 2000
I thought City Of Angels was very good. I'm usually very critical towards movies, but City Of Angels got to me. Meg Ryan usually plays in Romantic Comedy's (Sleepless in seatle, You've got mail) but this time, City Of Angels, admittedly a Romantic film, but it isn't a comedy. Far from it, it's a drama in all of its aspects. And Meg Ryan converts to that change very well. She acts great in this movie. It wasn't an easy part for her, there is a lot of crying involved, and a lot of dramatic moments in her characters life.

As goes for Nicolas Cage's character. Oh my god, he plays Seth with such excellence. Really, i don't think that anyone else could play the part as great as he did. The way he looks, the way he moves .. so cool.

Ok the storyline is a little unbeleivable, but you musn't be held back by that fact. Just beleive the unbeleivable. Just go with the plot, and follow the movie closely.

I'm not suggesting that City Of Angels is the best in it's sort. It won't win any oscars, but what i am saying, is that it's a nice movie, with great actors, great music and a good storyline which rolls towards very emotional ending.

You won't be dissapointed.
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Unbelievably underrated
Andrew-16215 September 1999
I just watched this movie again for about the 3rd time. People say the movie is depressing, unoriginal, and boring. I'll bend on the depressing part, but the other 2 are completely un-true.

Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan give pretty good performances, nothing oscar-worthy, but it's not the acting that makes this movie great. It's beautiful. Pure heaven to the eyes and ears. While you see the wonderful scenes, and backgrounds, with wonderful color and beautiful art direction, and hear the perefectly performed and selected score in the background (with contributions from U2, Sarah McLachlan, and the surprise hit "Iris" from the Goo Goo Dolls) it doesn't really matter what kind of acting is happening. The screenplay is pretty good, but somewhat lacking, which is why I give it an 8.25 on a scale from 1-10. Its a love story, yes, and can get cheesy at points, but none the less, it's still worth seeing once or twice.
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*soul toucher*
sami_almehdi3 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Good heavens, this is by far the best lovestory I've ever seen. A perfectly carried out movie about this angel (Nicolas) that gives up eternity in Heaven to be with a woman (Meg) on Earth. This movie really touches your soul, so don't go destroy it by watching it with a bunch of friends. As a matter of fact, It made me cry like a baby... City of Angels actually makes you reflect about life/death and you'll know it touches your soul. I've never before been so affected (in a good way though =) by a lovestory, but this one; it's hard to describe you have to see it! // a gracefulness
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A movie that touches the heart...
babeth_jr4 April 2006
I absolutely love this movie. I have seen it several times and it still never ceases to bring me to tears. Nicholas Cage does a wonderful job portraying Seth, an angel who falls in love with a workaholic doctor, convincingly portrayed by Meg Ryan (in a definite departure from her usual kooky, girl next door role). The movie is beautifully photographed, and the love story, although a little far fetched, (angel gives up being an angel to become human to be with the woman he loves) it is still incredibly moving. Without giving away all the best parts of the movie, you had better have plenty of Kleenex on's definitely a tearjerker. The ending of the movie is a testament to the power of love and life...powerful stuff. This is definitely a "chick flick", but is just wonderful on all levels. I have always believed in angels, but after seeing this film it gave me a different perspective of our guardian angels. A must see!
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This movie is worth falling for.........
Sourish Karmakar23 December 2005
This movie is worth falling for ,when u really want to hold the hands of Magi,feel her,touch her and really leave the eternity to just be with her. The theme was so wonderful that u really want to live with the characters and just hope to be one of them, that proves why man is afraid to die ,because he know that he will lose all the sensations for what human being is really crafted by the god, to live in pain leaving the eternity,but to feel love.The characters are excellently played,even the scores following were just letting you feel the theme and live with the characters. I really can't understand the harsh notes of critics and there sharp views but I can feel that this movie is worth falling for, even if you have to loose your eternity.This is my first comment on this site but I feel may be I delayed it only to give my first one to this one only.(24-12-05)
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Dumbed-down, cheesed-up remake of a truly great film
Michael K. Weise4 April 2008
Nothing in film upsets me more than a dumbed-down, cheesed-up remake of a truly great work of art.

I cannot understand what would possess anyone to commit such an atrocity, and I cannot recommend that anyone waste their time on this piece of trash when they could instead be watching the original, "Wings of Desire" (1987), and its sequel. The remake may employ better-known actors, but it adds nothing of merit while stripping away most of the original's emotional depth.

Had I not first seen the vastly superior original, I might have enjoyed this movie enough to sit through more than the first half and give it 4/10 stars.
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Artistic vision and commercial gloss that works.
trjktb14 April 2002
I was hesitant to see this movie for the longest time. Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan in a romantic drama would seem to spell a movie filled with forlorn looks and sweet nothings whispered to each other. Upon seeing it, this movie proved my suspicions true.

However, I was astonished at how much more this film had. The sheer amount of interesting concepts, combined with the ability to look at humanity from some distance, made this movie well worth the watch. If this film succeeds, and I believe it does, it is precisely because of the mixture of Hollywood gloss and original Wenders magic. Something for everyone, if only you give it a little thought.

Touching date movie, nice discussion piece, and filled with attractive people, City of Angels is wonderfully shallow and surprisingly deep at times, making it well worth the watch.
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Wywalk7 June 1999
I'm about the easiest person in the world from which to jerk a tear, and this movie left me completely dry-eyed. Yes, it was a very Hollywood story, complete with quick, convenient character transformations & plot discoveries & a very predictable plot-line, but a well-done Hollywood tale can often reduce me to big, blubbering sobs. I think the main problem with this movie was the total miscasting of Nicholas Cage - I agree completely with those who say that had they met him in the hospital corridor as Meg did they would have been terrified & called hospital security!! There was no warmth or wisdom or charisma or anything in his portrayal - it was as though he was hiding everything that normally makes Nicholas Cage sexy & compelling in a mis-guided effort to appear wise & ethereal. Had an actor like John Travolta or Jeff Bridges or any number of independent film stalwarts been cast, some charm & a sense of humor could have shown through, I could have understood why he compelled her, and perhaps the story would have moved me, in spite of the Hollywoodish-ness.
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Are You in Despair?
Petunia-217 January 2000
A very different look at the world of angels and their interaction with human beings. If this were a story about the devil, IMDB would have plenty of comments so I am not surprised to read so many negative ones.

I don't believe that angels wear black, but I do believe in the premise of this movie: "sometimes things are true whether you believe in them or not."

Meg Ryan, a very unlikely choice, was thoroughly believable as an obsessive-compulsive doctor who never sleeps. When she loses a patient for the first time, she cries bitterly and cannot understand how it could have happened--all witnessed by Nicolas Cage as Seth, an angel who was sent to escort her patient to heaven. Cage allows himself to be seen by Ryan in a hospital corridor and sweetly asks, "Are you in despair?" This entire conversation sweeps the women in the audience into their evolving relationship. Yes, I guess this is definitely a woman's movie.

Others in lesser roles were quite good. Dennis Franz nails the part of a former angel who has "fallen to earth." (I do not watch his television show so this was the first time I have seen him act--I was impressed.) Andre Braugher, formerly of Homicide (a show I did watch), was terrific as Seth's closest angel friend, although he had very few lines, as usual Braugher was effective. His smile at the end of the movie stays with you.
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A Nice Romance Story
ccthemovieman-117 February 2008
Overall, this is a nice love story that I enjoyed the first time I saw it but decreasingly so with future viewings. After three, it was enough, but that's two more than I usually watch of Meg Ryan films.

Since it's Hollywood, you know there is going to be misguided theology, in this case the subject is angels and heaven. None of the "sermons" in here are Biblical, believe me. it's really more of a love story than anything else. Plus, it's an interesting story with good visuals.

Nicholas Cage plays a likable guy. There are actually a few good messages about God and angels - mainly that they exist - and another good message being that all of us should appreciate more what we have here on earth, starting with our senses (smell, taste, touch, etc.)

Anyway, if you like a good romance story, you should like this movie.
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bertrand-tan30 December 2005
its a truly brilliant movie especially when you pay attention to the soundtrack. the words in the movie are brilliant, especially Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls and and Angel by Sarah Mclachlan. Probably the two most brilliant movie songs that i have heard and they match this movie so fittingly.

on another note, Nicholas cage was a brilliant choice for this role. his eyes and his tone, while not making him sexy in any way, fit him into this role like a glove.

Truly recommend this movie as a brilliant piece of film and a beautiful story.
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"how to spoil a classic": a handbook
stifen3 November 1998
I've watched "Wings of Desire" and "Faraway, so close" two or three times -yes, I LOVE those movies. In my opinion, "City of Angels" is a bad copy of "Wings...", a bad copy between the obvious and the disrespectful.

First, the acting -all you have to do to be an angel is lift your eyebrows (as Nick Cage enjoys doing the whole movie). He wanders through the film looking as if he's about to cry; he's no angel, just a good-looking guy trying to play the innocent-and-loving character. Meg Ryan -well, why bother? She's the standard actress for this kind of romantic journeys -maybe because she always performs the same way.

Then, the photography. No spoiler here: remember when Cage and his angelical companion Cassiel, standing on a skyscraper, mention the beauty of the view -which we are carried to see; and there, all over the screen, stands this awfully big Marlboro ad. Oh, how lovely! Also, those unavoidable pieces of every simplistic romance movie: the "character ponders it over" with its score of incidental music, and the "great slow-mo" moment of ecstasy.

And last, the plot. Plenty of cliches ("love conquers all", "the wages of sin is death", "the materialistic who starts to believe again"...), absolutely predictable, flat characters, clumsy lines. Love is far more complex than this -and so is death.

Looking at this picture I ask: why is it that nobody thinks of re-writing "Romeo and Juliet" or repainting Van Gogh's "The sunflowers", but everybody thinks it right to remake "Psycho" or "Wings of Desire"?

Look for the best-seller: "How to spoil a classic: The Movie!"
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This movie gave me a toothache!
sev_hreshtak5 January 2007
Syrup wrapped in fluff, dipped in mush, sprinkled with sugar and rolled in cheese - absolutely disgusting! I mean the dialog was forced and unnatural. Here's a sample and I quote:

"I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it. One."

How sappy is that? Sounds like it was written by some angst-ridden emo.

Meg Ryan looked like a 16 year old boy (but then again she always does) and Nicolas Cage looked like a drenched chicken.

The story line was a bucket of crap! I mean! How much BS can you feed a viewer before he/she gets nauseated and just vomits!

If you have an IQ of 100+ you should not be watching this movie.
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Could be worse
anon1mat020 December 1999
When I first saw this movie, I though about it's interesting concept (despite it's silliness), which at that moment seemed, somehow, different for an American movie. Then I saw the original from Wim Wenders and every thing became clear. It is strictly necessary destroy a wonderful movie, in order to make it "acceptable" for the american public? Anyway, there are some nice things like the photography, and some production issues (clearly plagiarized from the Wim Wenders filmography) which make the movie acceptable for the people who had not seen the original or any of the Wim Wenders' angels series.

A last comment: Why on earth American movies need to explain everything in the ending?
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Why remake a classic when you don't know what you are doing?
groovygu30 August 1999
Wim Wender's spectacular "Wings of Desire" was made into an unintentional parody by Brad Silberling. As his second film, he had the extremely difficult task of making an exceptionally well received German film into a palatable form for American audiences. Well, he blew it. Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan were not properly cast. Making her a cardio-thoracic surgeon (a heart doctor) is totally assinine and to be exceptionally beautiful on top of that? Yeah, right. What was Silberling thinking? Lord only knows but I have to say. Forget this one. It is a clunker beyond belief.
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When you take the art from an artistic film with a weak plot you get...
flugscheibenwerfer6 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
... right, a weak film with a weak plot. I love "Der Himmel über Berlin" (Wings of Desire) but I always felt that the plot was very weak compared to the emotions and the art in the film. I thought, City of Angels might have improved on the plot aspect so I was intrigued to see what they came up with. Well, they did improve on the plot but in the mean time they managed to get rid of everything that touched me in "Wings".

The nice little stories of the humans they are watching and also the dialogs between Cassiel and Seth were completely dumbed down. The former angel who tells Seth to become human is some kind of gluttonous hedonist and stuffs Ben&Jerry's inside of him instead of enjoying a simple cup of coffee. And I almost burst out laughing when Seth said "red... COLOR" after he became human even though the whole film was shot in color and nothing hinted that he couldn't see colors.

I'll stop lamenting now! Go, see the original and NOT for the plot!
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Excellent Entertainment
robby-5721 December 2005
Being both a big Meg Ryan, and Nicolas Cage fan, I was eager to view this movie. Both Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage were at the peak of their careers when this movie was made, and I'm sure a lot was expected putting both of these big draws in this movie. Dennis Franz was just beginning his big run on NYPD BLUE and his character brought the plot of this movie together. I felt it a terrific movie. It was expertly shot with beautiful scenery, great sound tracks, and a story line that held your attention throughout. I judge movies by criteria #1, Was I entertained? It met that criteria and more. Only wish this movie had gone longer with the two of them together, just to see how they would faired. I can only imagine.
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Disliked this movie
bridgetsnape26 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I could suspend disbelief of angels and half angels living among us - I may even believe it. What was unbelievable to me is when Meg Ryan leaves the house while newly human Nicholas Cage is in the shower just to get a peach or pear or whatever fruit it was. I just can't imagine that she would be apart from him for even a few minutes when they are finally together. Then - I really can't believe the whole no helmet/look ma no hands/closed eyes bike ride. Are you kidding me? I actually enjoyed the movie up until these scenes. But this part was so unbelievable it just really turned me off.

It was disappointing because I love nearly all the actors - even the supporting cast.

Oh well. Hopefully Cage & Ryan will team up again one day.....

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Hated the ending
utgard149 February 2014
Loose remake of Wings of Desire that goes less for the artsy approach and more for the romantic drama. Nic Cage plays an angel who falls in love with pretty surgeon Meg Ryan. Cage, as always, is an acquired taste. His usual half-ham approach to acting is on display here. If you are familiar with him and don't like his style, then you will hate this so don't bother. Ryan is adorable and pretty and can cry on cue. So she's perfect for this kind of schmaltz. Dennis Franz appears in a reworking of Peter Falk's wonderful role in the original film. Falk was the best part of Wings of Desire for me. Franz is OK here but not particularly memorable.

Despite its flaws, I was actually enjoying it for the most part. Not loving it, but enjoying it. It was pleasant enough. But the downbeat ending killed the whole thing for me. Look, you don't want to make a pretentious art film like Wings of Desire -- OK, cool, I'm with you there. But if you're going to make a mainstream love story, then stick with that and don't give me some depressing ending. It made me feel like I wasted my time with the whole thing. It had nothing profound to say and certainly didn't have the nice visuals of Wings of Desire, so it really needed to make the love story work. Instead it makes an attempt at the last minute to become something more than it is and it fails. Nice soundtrack though.
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Yeeeehhh, Hollywood ripped off another foreign movie!!
ricardopthomaz25 November 2011
I just had to see, folks, how much Hollywood would drag this to it's complete sappiness.

I was fortunate enough to being able to see "Der Himmel Über Berlin" (Wings of Desire) from 1987 and it's sequel, "In Weiter Ferne, so nah!" (Faraway, So Close!) from 1993, both wonderful films by German director Wim Wenders, and believe me, when you see them you just don't see the time passing, they are very, very slow, but these movies keeps you so focused that you just feels like flying over Berlin with those angels.

With this Hollywood mock up, it's the other way around. There's so much clichés and so much cheesiness, that you keep looking on your watch how much time is left for the movie to end.

Seth is a complete sappy version from Damiel, the angel from the Wenders films. It just angers me thinking why Hollywood feels the need of having their own version of foreign movies, why they can't just let these movies alone? Despite some remakes that really respects the original flick and sometimes even tends to pay homage to them, this one is a total flop.

It drains all the philosophical and elaborate lines from the original Wenders films and tries to get to our emotions with gratuitous cheesy lines and dialogs.

Avoid this film. Watch Wenders masterpieces instead. Damiel and Cassiel in the originals are much better pals than Cage and Braugher. Plus in the original films we have Peter Falk, the Columbo to make us good company as well.
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Do yourself a favour - watch DER HIMMEL UEBER BERLIN !!!
dosers6 October 1998
Do yourself a favour - watch the original 'Wings Of desire'. It's a beautiful film, which unfortunately some people have not taken the time to understand I feel (as it's described as boring). City of Angels in my opinion, and I really wanted to like it, was a predictable, senseless and Hollywoodized version that explained itself to death. Watch the original - nuff said !

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The first accurate OR scene I've ever seen
jmweh18 December 2005
There's just one point I want to make about this movie, and that's about the OR scene when they're doing a coronary bypass. This is the first time I've ever seen a correct movie rendition of it, it's usually a baroque farce, but not here. Every instrument I could see, the bypass machine, the aortic cannula, the headlamps, the ECG monitors (and the traces!), the orders given, the type of suture, were correct (except I suspect they chose a heavier suture than normal 7-0, since a 7-0 would be very hard to see, it looked more like 4-0 or 5-0). Even the tying of knots, the Joule strengths used for defibrillation, the lidocaine dosages, the body temperature during bypass, the kind of mag the bypass operator is reading, the music (except we had Bach, country & western, Dylan or Cat Stevens, depending on surgeon and how the procedure was going), the time it will take to reprime the pump to get back on cardiac bypass again; I found not one single error! There's this one moment when everyone looks under the table, which is weird, but then Meg Ryan leaves the table, so even that is OK from a sterility point of view. I don't know if other people care, but this kind of care for detail makes a movie a lot more enjoyable for me.

Oh, one more remark: the reanimation with internal cardiac massage is a bit short, they give up a bit too soon. But that's exactly what she blames herself for, later.
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Knight_Shade7 March 2003
Yet another American flick made because a great foreign film didn't get proper distribution. "Wings of Desire", a lovely film, serves as the template for this bad attempt at a stylish, big budget remake. There's no reason to see "City of Angels", unless you enjoy watching foreign flicks then renting the American analogue to see how badly they messed it up, like "Abre Los Ojos" versus "Vanilla Sky" (shudder).

A lot of folks seem to enjoy Nicholas Cage, and truth to tell, I've never thought much of him. He has his moments, but in general, I find his performances contrived and lacking in genuine intensity, though he DOES try very, very hard to LOOK hardcore. For example, in an interview after "City of Angels" was released, he said that his approach to the character in the film was very simple - as an ethereal, metaphysical creature, he figured the best way to show that sort of other-worldly gravity would be not to blink during filming. Way to go, Nick. You just blew away ALL of your dwindling credibility. Go back to making timewasters like "The Rock".

And poor Meg Ryan. Forever trapped as the Doris Day of the new millennium, except for her brief stint as a badgirl in "The Doors" or as an action star in "Courage Under Fire", which I like to call "GI Jane Lite". She really needs to make something a bit more substantial, I'm getting tired of her sweet, squinty smile.
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DoctorSkyTower19 November 2000
Nick Angel falls in lurve with Meg the heart surgeon... but he's an angel and she's a human and he so wants to lurve her just like a normal man. Gives up his immortal existence and becomes a man, just for Meg!

This flick is very long, very slow, and very boring. Because its just so Hollywood, the cliches roll out thick and fast. To get through this flick without suffering from a severe bout of diarrhoea, it is essential you sustain all suspension of disbelief.

Meg the (empty-headed) heart doctor is extremely beautiful and has an extremely successful, privileged life style. She botches up an operation and loses a patient and spends the first hour of the flick feeling sorry for herself. Scary-looking Nick Angel sniffs around her like an invisible stalker. (Hollow Man, anyone?) She is suffering such unbelievable hard ship, she needs an angel's intervention!

Never mind the starving children and homeless destitutes! Angels only answer the prayers of wealthy, beautiful, spoiled brats!

The sentimental side of this flick is dumb and just like eating stale marsh mellows, only stickier. The audience is supposed to feel for the main characters but they are played by the cast so shallowly it's like watching Mills and Boon instead of reading it.

The ending (had to be coming!) is one of the worst I've ever seen! It is the biggest cliche of all - a TRUCK!!? If you don't know what I'm talking about, you will have to sit through this movie to find out! But it was a complete laugh! Soooo.... Hollywood!!!
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