"When granted an interview with God, John Denver - an assistant manager at Food World, thinks that it is a practical joke by one of his friends. When the invitation turns up again in an unexpected place, it gets his attention - even though he doesn't believe in God. George Burns plays wonderfully as God and the ensuing scenes where he convinces Denver that he is who he says he is have an enduring and endearing quality. His message is simple. God is alive. God cares. We have been given everything we need to make it work - and it can, if we want it to. Convincing the world, however, is another matter. From the religious editor at the LA Times who thinks Denver is just another fruitcake to Denver's boss at Food World who is offended that Denver would suggest that God would pick an unbelieving assistant manager instead of him, a man who has prayed with Billy Graham, no less, all the personalities come out. After an appearance on Dinah Shore, spaced out weirdos show up on his lawn and harass his kids and wife. Finally, a panel of religious experts agree to give Denver a set of questions that he could not possibly answer (they are written in Aramaic). After completing the questions, Denver delivers his package and a few choice words from God to a stereotypical televangelist (aka "God's Own Quarterback" - having delivered the benediction at this year's Superbowl). The film finally culminates in a courtroom scene where Burns, as God, gives a powerful delivery. This film has some of the best writing. Burns has many humorous lines - it IS a comedy - but he also has some pretty profound and meaningful lines. In an obvious reference to the film The Exorcist, he comments on how easy it is for people to believe in the devil. But not God. He says that what we have here is some of his best work, that we should take care of it and appreciate it. He says that he knows how hard it can be in these troubled times to believe in God but, if it helps, we should know that he believes in us."
A great movie
Simon Gifford | St. Albans, UK | 08/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In this movie God (played by George Burns) chooses a supermarket assistant manager called Jerry Landers (the late John Denver) to try and persuade a town of non-believers that He is alive and kicking, and spread the Gospel. Jerry has a tough time convincing people that he really has seen the Almighty (even he thinks he is having a joke played on him at first) which spawn some nice comic situations, like trying to tell the audience of a TV chat show what he has seen.I really enjoyed this movie because while it is undeniably funny with some good lines provided by Burns and great chemistry between him and John Denver on screen - it is also very thought provoking. It makes some good points about religion and how we can perceive God - He can be whatever we want Him to be. ("I`m coming at you in a way you can understand" says Burns to Denver).I think anyone would enjoy this movie. It has great comic performances, and John Denver proves his talents weren`t just confined to singing. Highly recommended."
CULT MOVIES 40
firstname.lastname@example.org | sydney, Australia | 02/02/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"40. OH! GOD! (comedy, 1977) Jerry (John Denver) is an assistant-manager for a produce store. He's an honest man who has a wife and 2 kids. Just your normal kind of guy that is until God (George Burns) requests an audience with him. He has picked Jerry to carry his message of good will to an increasingly pessimistic world. But Jerry finds that people are difficult to convert, he even has trouble trying to make his family understand that God appears to him as a kindly old guy. His faith remains strong until his call starts to slowly filter through.Critique: A surprise box-office hit when first released, it spawned other sequels that proved interesting ('OH! GOD! BOOK 2', 'OH! GOD! YOU DEVIL'). 81 year old George Burns shines as the perennial God, a role that he played with sweet abandonment. His deliveries of lines are perfectly executed. This God seems to have an answer for everything: on creating the world he quips; "to tell you the truth I thought about it for 6 days and did the whole thing in 1". What's most interesting is that the film takes an unbiased, non-religious look at our Creator. This God doesn't believe in religions or its leaders, and sees "human suffering" as being our fault (not his) since we perpetrate the acts. No wonder the very simple themes and in-jokes appealed to so many.QUOTE: Jerry: "Sometimes, now and then, couldn't we just talk?" God: "Tell you what, you talk I'll listen.""
J. Stillman | 10/17/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There haven't been many comedies made that address the existence of God. "Bruce Almighty" is a recent film. Even though Jim Carrey is funny and Morgan Freeman is imposing as the King of Kings, the movie aims for cheap jokes and barely scratches the surface of giving the audience any insight into God's presence.
On the contrary, "Oh God!" makes me laugh, but also makes me think about why I exist and why good and bad things happen. I like the script very much. There are some funny moments as Burns tries to convince Denver that he's God. The rain in the car scene is my favorite.
But the movie also is intelligent and thought-provoking, especially when Burns gives his answers to the questions that are asked of him in the hotel.
There are very few special effects in this movie, and I think that also makes it stronger and more believable."
The Legendary George Burns In His Most "Heavenly", Role
Simon Davis | 03/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If ever a movie could be termed "charming", then Carl Reiner's delightful little comedy "Oh God!" starring George Burns and John Denver would most definately be it. This film had such an original premise to it at the time of its release and after viewing this film again last week I can say its main strength still rests in the brilliant casting of George Burns as "the guy upstairs", if you know who I mean! This low key and charming story is a real favourite of mine and each screening I have of it reaffirms my strong belief that actors dont have to be twenty two, tanned, buffed, and beautiful to be interesting on screen. "Oh God!" is that real rarity nowadays of a film that is equally touching, warm and thought provoking all the while carrying a positive message that isn't rammed down our throats. Prior to this film's release I'm sure George Burns would never have come to anyone's mind if they had been asked to describe what they thought God was "supposed", to look like. Depicted in the movie as an eighty something little guy with glasses, wearing a baseball cap, and with a dry ready wit it somehow totally works and seems perfectly natural. Ever since my first viewing of "Oh God!" many years ago whenever my thoughts turn to the "guy upstairs", in an instant an image of George Burns in his basball cap and plaid work shirt shuffling along the street springs automatically to mind. As has been written there's alot to be said for the power of film!"