As a fan of Warren Beatty I just had to see this movie again and was excited to see it posted on this site. It's an excellent movie about a football player at the height of his career being taken too soon. My favorite part is when he does not realize he is dead and is about to aboard his flight to heaven. It's then that he decides "Heaven can wait". When he looks at his watch and it keeps flashing the same time over and over he just assumes its broken. Warren Beatty is a fine actor and I feel in love with him on his first movie "Splendor in the Grass" with Natalie Wood. This was a great step back in time when movie producers cared about the story line and what the viewers saw more than the $$$.
Heaven does wait...
Victoria Tarrani | Betwixt FL and CA, USA | 02/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recently I watched the new DVD release of a classic favorite Heaven Can Wait. Twenty-three years after it's screen release, the delightful Warren Beatty film still has the power to enchant and make me smile. Beatty is superb. Julie Christie is wonderful. Dyan Cannon hasn't changed at all through the years and is as beautiful now as she was then. The entire cast brings the story of a brand new angel who wanted to "save" Joe from so much pain at his death that he brought him out of his body early. Yes, the angel killed him. This angel's first assignment shows the mistakes any beginner can make, of course the ramifications are larger. Joe would not have been between the crashing cars. Joe refuses to go to heaven; he wants to be returned to his body -- but it has been cremated. Reviewing many body-replacement opportunities (of those who died, but the death was undiscovered) he ultimately sees Farnsworth. He wasn't that interested in being an out-of shape murder victim, until Julie Christie, who has come to demand that her small town be spared a refining plant that would destroy them, comes to the Farnsworth estate in her regal fury that Joe says, "Yes! I'll be Farnsworth. Temporarily." The screen sizzles with romance (rather than today's explicit scenes) as angel Joe is smitten.To the delight of audiences, Beatty tries valiantly to be Farnsworth, but finds it impossible because he has a basic good-hearted nature while Farnsworth was more interested in making money. Follies and surprises follow Joe in his new life, but it was temporary and the murderers are still lurking.I do believe a scene was cut, and perhaps several. There was a scene where's Joe's new idea to advertise his tuna canning never kills "thinking fish" or porpoises and charged one or two cents more per can. In the original movie I believe they showed the amazing results as grocery stores everywhere sold more of his tuna than any other brand. Still, it is a feel-good five star movie, whether a scene was cut or not."
Second chances can be dangerous.
Anthony Hinde | Sydney, Australia | 05/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Do you ever feel guilty for enjoying a film? Perhaps you're just a little reluctant to admit you like it... Okay, I admit it I like "Heaven Can Wait". And this, despite the fact that it stars Warren Beatty who's performances usually make me want to weep, even in comedies. All I can say is that he really shines in this film. Mind you, he is helped tremendously by the supporting cast. I was particularly taken with Julie Christie in the role of Betty Logan, a passionate environmentalist who has taken on a mission to stop industrialist Leo Farnsworth, (Beatty), from destroying a small community in England. Little does she know that Farnsworth died a short time before she met him. Leo's earthly role had been assumed by an unlucky footballer by the name of Joe Pendleton, snatched from life by an overzealous angel during a road accident. If any of this sounds familiar, you may be remembering the original use of the story in the 1941 film, "Here Comes Mr. Jordan", starring Robert Montgomery. Short of Farnsworth being named Bruce instead of Leo, there is little to distinguish these two versions from one another. Even so, I prefer the 1978 version. It just seems to have more charm, more innocence. It also has a touch of class, mainly due to the presence of James Mason, in the role of Mr Jordan, who has to step in and try to make thinks right with the prematurely breathless Joe. Joe is understandably miffed at his mistreatment since he and his team were due to play in the superbowl, Joe's one dream. Mr Jordan offers Joe a number of alternative routes back into the mortal realm. Each path involves taking on the life of a soon to be dead person. Sadly, nothing short of a star quarterback seems to satisfy Joe who eventually settles for a test-drive on the Farnsworth model; rich, powerful but not particularly athletic. From that point on we are taken on a twin journey. On the one hand Joe, despite his new-found wealth, still has super-bowl ambitions. The first step in his plan is to buy his old team. The other path is prompted by the passions of Betty Logan. Farnsworth has to straighten up his corporate image to impress his new lady-love. This is not an easy task given the long list of atrocities his board is quite happy to see continue. I suppose some of the attraction in the story comes from its reversal of our common dreams. Usually we dream of leaving our lacklustre existence and jumping into the swimming pool of the rich and famous. In this case, Joe does get the pool but he just wants to get his old life back. He is too good-natured to be trapped by the false idolatry offered by money. We have the fun of watching him struggle back into his old shoes and take his disbelieving associates with him. In fact, his old coach Max Corkle, (Jack Warden), is one of the hardest to convince but eventually becomes one of Leo's/Joe's biggest supporters. Which is typical of the film. The story is fun but it's the character's friendships that keep us watching."
"How you doin?"
Ghenghis | Monvolia | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great movie, poor treatment by Paramount.
Beatty plays Ram's quarterback Joe Pendleton, recovering from a knee injury as he works his way back into a fight for the starting job, then unfortunately rides his bike into a tunnel but doesn't ride out the other end. We soon find out that he was destined to survive the accident, but was "taken out" by practicing angelic entity played by Buck Henry before the laws of probability and outcome could determine Joe's fate. An appeal is issued to management in the form of the magnificent James Mason as Mr.Jordon, who is left with the task of finding Joe a suitable body to make his return to earth in after we find that Joe's body was cremated before we could work out all the red tape at Heaven's departure terminal.
In the very small "What If You Died and Came Back" genre this is hands-down the best of the bunch. Beatty gets credit for bulking up for the role and amazingly has no credibility issues with the casual audience as an aspiring pro QB with eyes on a shot at the Super Bowl. His natural comic timing and comfort zone chemistry with Julie Christy make this film a real keeper. The contributions by deadpan Charles Grodin and the freneticly delicious Dyan Cannon wiil have you howling in laughter.
Now the bad news. Paramount gets no props for this DVD release. The colors are there, but some scenes actually look like they'd been colorized with others blurry, dark, grainy, and out of focus. As if that weren't bad enough, the audio is frequently out of sync...you know, when the spoken words dont match with movements? I found that rather maddening in spots. The sound is OK but there's nothing but dialogue and clarinet music so who cares. Dont look for extras, they're not there.
5 solid stars for the movie, 2 pitiful stars for the DVD."
My Favorite Movie...
Frank Rodasky | Pacific Northwest | 11/25/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was six years old when I saw this film in the theatre and was instantly affected. When it was over, I knew my life's ambition. To become a saxophone playing football quarterback, and fall in love with a beautiful English girl. Well, I never played football or anything more musical than the kazoo, but I still love beautiful English girls, with Christie at the top of my list. I won't go into detail about the plot of the film, other reviewers have done that and mine would pale in comparison. I'll just say that this is a funny, easy film to like with Beatty giving his most mannered comedy performance, with able support by the always funny Grodin, the hit and miss Cannon (who's very on here) the enjoyable Warden and the great James Mason. Add to all this the fact that Julie Christie alone makes any film watchable for me, and I think it's clear that I'm not the most unbiased of reviewers. But still, I love this movie."
'You put me in a closet!!'
Chris Aldridge | Washington, DC USA | 12/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rarely has a story been this whimsical and fun. I own an old, OLD, VHS tape of this and am on the brink of replacing it with a DVD. I saw the original film a long time ago, and (not meaning to cast any negative opinions) remember nothing about it except that it felt heavier and more disjointed. This version is peerless- from the comic, slightly neurotic turn of angel (and co-writer) Buck Henry, to the extremely neurotic, over-the-top performance of socialite wife Dyan Cannon. Her scenes with Charles Grodin ("yes, Mr. Farnsworth") feebly trying to hide their affair are hysterical. The best moments are with the genteel, easygoing James Mason and trainer Jack Warden (a nice guy who I always felt got short-changed at the end of the film). There's also a certain magical quality felt when hearing the line (used several times throughout) "there's nothing to be afraid of." In fact, there isn't."