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Criterion Collection: Wings of Desire [Blu-ray] [1987] [US Import]

Bruno Ganz , Solveig Dommartin , Wim Wenders    Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Criterion Collection: Wings of Desire [Blu-ray] [1987] [US Import] + Paris, Texas [Blu-ray] [1984] + The Seventh Seal [Blu-ray] [1957]
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Product details

  • Actors: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois, Peter Falk
  • Directors: Wim Wenders
  • Writers: Wim Wenders, Peter Handke, Richard Reitinger
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman, Ingrid Windisch, Joachim von Mengershausen, Pascale Dauman
  • Format: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Nov 2009
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,709 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



"There are angels over the streets of Berlin," quotes the movie poster, but these are like no angels you've ever seen. Bundled in dark overcoats, they watch over the city with ears open to the heartbeat of the human soul, listening to the internal musings and yearnings of earthbound humans like existential detectives. In these delicate, astounding scenes we float through the thoughts of dozens of Berlin citizens, from the weary and worn to the hopeful and young, as the angels record the magic moments for some heavenly record. When Damiel (the empathic and sensitive Bruno Ganz) falls in love with an angel of another sort, the lonely trapeze artist Marion (willowy, sad-eyed Solveig Dommartin), he gives up the contemplation and observation of life to experience it himself.

Wim Wenders' most purely romantic film is like poetry on celluloid, a celebration of the transient and fragile moments of being human: the warmth of a cup of coffee on a cold day, the embrace of a friend, the touch of a lover, the rapture of love. Opening with an angel's-eye view of Berlin in silvery black and white (delicately captured by the great cinematographer Henri Alekan, who photographed Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast 40 years earlier), it transforms into a gauzy colour world when Damiel "crosses over" by sheer will. Peter Falk plays himself as a fallen angel with a special sensitivity for celestial visitors ("I can't see you, but I know you're there," he proclaims), and Otto Sander, whose smiling eyes brighten a face etched by eons of waiting and watching, is Damiel's partner. Wenders made a sequel in 1993, Faraway, So Close, and Hollywood remade the film as City of Angels with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. --Sean Axmaker,

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
By Ntshk
I love this film and I love it because of so many things. I saw it for the first time when I was a teenager in mid 90s and I was so impressed... I was roaming the streets of Almaty (my home town in Kazakhstan) with my best friend and I asked her: "Do you think angels are walking together with us and collecting the spiritual signs of our existence?' Of course, it was a joke, by what a romantic joke... A longing for something magical that can happen to a mortal...
When you first watch the film, you wonder why Wim Wenders has picked two aging men in long black coats to be angels. That's not how you imagined an angel, after all. However, the further you watch the film, the more you realise that their angelic nature is in the way they look at everything, in their increadible eyes.
When I think about this film I think about all the good that can happen to an ordinary human being. This film highlights the best in all of us and makes us immortal for a short while... And I believe this feeling is worth it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotically beautiful 5 Sep 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most stunningly effective films to explore the afterlife and the reasons why we return I have ever seen. Furthermore it is beautiful, engrossing and thought provoking

The film is set in a war scarred Berlin. It shows the world of the spirits - souls - who are shown as trenchcoated pigtailed angels. Their world is eternal, without colour, without emotion, without time. They talk of the events of history in no order, just scenes they have recorded in notebooks. They can be everywhere and nowhere. Their job is to listen to the thoughts of human beings and try to comfort them, and to encourage the efforts humans make to learn and grow [many scenes are shot in a public library where there are large numbers of angels encouraging the `students']. They also listen to and support the peace makers and the philosophers - a number of scenes are of an angel's care for an old man who is both.

But angels cannot interfere or intervene, only come in dreams. There is one dramatic scene of a suicide, where the angel tries to comfort and fails. Only at this point does the angel show any emotion - he simply screams NO........

The story is of one angel who becomes fascinated - not love because an angel does not love - with a beautiful trapeze artist and makes the decision to become mortal. Once mortal he experiences the faults of humans [he is duped over the money he is paid for his angel's coat] but he also experiences love, music, taste, touch, the simple joy of a life, the adventure, the challenge.

A spiritual feast
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest films of the 1980's. 3 Oct 2002
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
This is probably Wenders' masterpiece, though it followed the equally wondeful Paris, Texas. Wings of Desire was another collaboration with Austrian writer Peter Handke (The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty). Following the key works of the New German Cinema (Kings of the Road, Alice in the Cities), Wenders went to work in America at Coppola's Zoetrope studios- making the problematic Hammett and the reaction The State of Things. Here he returned to Berlin, still divided by the wall which would fall two years later.
The film sits somewhere between It's a Wonderful Life, Rilke's Duino Elegies, The Cure's Just Like Heaven and The Seventh Seal: a metaphysical romance. The lead character is literally Berlin (the German title is 'The Sky Over Berlin); Wenders uses Damiel and Cassiel as two omniscient angels tracking life in 1980's Berlin: observing like a camera. Here we see them listening to people's thoughts in an unforgettable fashion (and this was an influence on REM's video for Everybody Hurts). Damiel sees Marion, a circus acrobat with a penchant for Nick Cave and decides to make the trip from eternity to her (Wenders reversal of Nick Cave's song From Her to Eternity- played here along with The Carny). Along the way he meets Peter Falk as "Peter Falk"- who just happens to be an ex-angel and the film moves back to pre-history and the spectre of the War and Nazism (Falk is making a WWII movie, with those conotations for West Germany- tying it in with such German films as The Marriage of Maria Braun and Mephisto which explore Germany's dark past).
This is pure poetry, as great as the best of Jean Cocteau in terms of transcendental imagery- every scene has resonance: a truly perfect film now restored on DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hymn To Berlin 23 Dec 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Wim Wenders' film is fantastic,partially because of the acting,photography,and script,but also because of a totally unforseeable event-the Berlin Wall fell two years after the film was made,and so this is an ode to an era which,though historically recent,is now in an unreachable past.I have watched this with my 17 year old neice,who thought the film was great,but,for her,it may as well have been set during the late Byzantine Empire.
The story is easy to summarise.There are angels watching over each one of us(at least in late 1980s West Berlin).They share our joys and sorrows,and try to protect us from ourselves.One(played by Bruno Ganz) is fascinated by us humans to the extent that he falls in love with a trapeze artist,decides to leave infinity and become human.
Before and after his transition to humanity,the angel meets another of his ilk(played by Peter Falk)who decided to become human some time earlier.The angel then meets the trapeze artist-can't tell you any more,I'd ruin the end.
Fans of Nick Cave are in for a treat,he performs most of the soundtrack.
For me,the most impressive aspect of the film is Wenders' use of Berlin,to the extent that the city almost becomes a character in the film in it's own right.The angels meeting on top of the Victory Monument,overseeing us in the University library,comforting us as we ride in ambulances or on the U-Bahn,and,in an unforgettable scene,trying and failing to stop a person leaping from a skyscraper-all of this integrates Berlin's urban landscape so well.
If you've never been to Berlin and are thinkling of going,watch this first.If you like brilliant phtography and a strange,dream-like story with great acting,again watch this.
NB-There was a dreadful Hollywood remake of "Wings Of Desire",called "City Of Angels".It's truly woeful-what do you expect of any film with Meg Ryan in it?-so avoid like the plague.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars would have enjoyed it better if it was in English instead of ...
would have enjoyed it better if it was in English instead of German.but all in all it was a nice movie.
Published 2 months ago by Andrew Smaragdidis
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone who isn't moved by this must have a heart of STONE!
Oh God! Out with the hankies. Anyone who isn't moved when they watch this must have a heart of STONE. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Caro on the couch
5.0 out of 5 stars Wings of desire
love this film, though it's of it's time and a bit heavy at times, it's still worth it, for the black and white film & music by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, actually saw this film... Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. Connelly
5.0 out of 5 stars great Axiom blu ray
Great picture and sound quality on the Axiom blu ray release:
Note that the aspect ratio is: 1.67:1 - so you will see two black stripes on the edges of the screen.
Published 5 months ago by Sebastian Kosnik
4.0 out of 5 stars Wim Venders Classic
The classic movie now looks a little dated, but the theme is still relevant and quite inspiring all the same. It's one that everyone should see once in their life.
Published 6 months ago by John Mayer
5.0 out of 5 stars "Wings Of Desire" on BLU RAY - Compatibility Issues For UK Buyers With...
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of the haunting and visually beautiful Wim Wender’s “Wings Of Desire”. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mark Barry
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
A deep and honest look at the lives of people. Angels hover over Berlin discussing our world and the people in it, finding themselves drawn to the desire of worldly experiences and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Renée Paule
2.0 out of 5 stars Not good
The sound track was not very good and although I did try to keep going with it, I found it too heavy to want to carry on - so didn't
Published 12 months ago by caviar
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful monochrome Berlin
The first time I watched this was for film studies, and I won't lie. I HATED it. In fact I'm pretty sure I fell asleep. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Nick
4.0 out of 5 stars Great viewing
I bought this on the recommendation of a friend
The DVD was great quality and I thoroughly enjoyed the film
Deliver was very quick
Published 14 months ago by K Cannon
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