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Only Angels Have Wings [DVD]

Cary Grant , Jean Arthur , Noah Beery    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: 5.32 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Only Angels Have Wings [DVD] + His Girl Friday [DVD] + The Awful Truth [DVD] (1937) [2003]
Price For All Three: 15.71

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Product details

  • Actors: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Richard Barthelmess, Thomas Mitchell
  • Directors: Noah Beery
  • Producers: Dimitri Tiomkin
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: UCA
  • DVD Release Date: 10 Jan 2005
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006OR0M6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,539 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Hands down, Only Angels Have Wings is one of the most buoyantly entertaining movies in the American cinema. It is also a razor-sharp example of the action-oriented films of Howard Hawks, the wide-ranging auteur who would go on to make To Have and Have Not and Red River. This one is set in Barranca, a South American port city swathed in perpetual night fog, where a band of mail pilots struggle daily to get their planes through a treacherous mountain pass. They don't care about the mail so much as they live by the rules of adventure, professionalism and friendly rivalry. Cary Grant is the leader of this daredevil group, a man who won't be pinned down to anything except his own code of stoicism. ("I don't believe in laying in a supply of anything" he says, which may be why he's always asking people for matches to light his cigarettes.) His cool style is tested by the arrival of a wisecracking blonde (Jean Arthur) and an ex-mistress (Rita Hayworth); Rita's now married to a pilot (Richard Barthelmess), disgraced by a single act of cowardice. Hawks always got great mileage from throwing a bunch of colourful characters together in an enclosed space, where death could strike in a moment. The great secret about Hawks is that although his feel for action was crackling, he was really more interested in the way people exchanged sidelong glances or lit each other's cigarettes--there's a lot of both in Only Angels Have Wings. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Howard Hawks directs Cary Grant, Jean Arthur and Rita Hayworth in this classic story of a group of fearless pilots who fly cargo planes over the Andes and live in close quarters along an oft-fogbound little airstrip. However, their world is suddenly invaded by a stranded showgirl.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't make 'em like this anymore. 9 Feb 2005
By A Customer
This review contains no plot-spoilers! For a film this old, it's a pleasant surprise to see the beautiful DVD print transfer. There's also superb sound (no hiss, no crackles, even through headphones). Right from the opening scenes, you know this is a film that is going to be good. Then Cary Grant walks in, and you know it's going to be superb. The atmosphere of the location is absolutely believable, within the limitations of the set design of the 1930s. The storyline is strong and character-based and the dialogue is sharp and witty. All the actors mesh perfectly. Yes, this is man's man's world; but because everyone "knows where they stand", men bond deeply, are tender with each other, and even cry too. One of those rare films, like Brief Encounter, in which every shot seems perfect and perfectly-placed. Of course, for those reared on post-Star Wars FX, there's a certain amount of suspension of disbelief needed - but I defy you not to awed on the single-shot on-location scene in which a plane swings around an immense desert mesa and then lands.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By J. Lovins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Columbia Pictures presents "ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS" (1939) (121 min/B&W) -- Starring: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Richard Barthelmess, Rita Hayworth & Thomas Mitchell

Directed by Howard Hawks

While waiting for her boat, Bonnie Lee (Jean Arthur) stops at a small airport in South America. The pilots there deliver mail over a dangerous and usually foggy mountain pass. Geoff Carter (Cary Grant), the lead flyer, seems distant and cold as Bonnie tries to get closer to him. Things heat up as Judy MacPherson (Rita Hayworth), Geoff's old flame, shows up with her husband Bat MacPherson (Richard Barthelmess) who is an infamous pilot.

Scripted by Jules Furthman from a story by Hawks, 'Only Angels Have Wings' is a treasure trove of terse, pithy dialogue: one favorite scene occurs when, upon discovering that he's about to die, Thomas Mitchell says he's often wondered how he'd react to imminent death-and, now that death is but a few moments away, he'd rather that no one else be around to witness his reaction.

Good score by the great composer Dimitri Tiomkin.

Special footnote: ~ Howard Hawks remembers: "When the movie was released a certain critic said 'It's the only picture Hawks ever made that didn't have any truth in it.' I wrote him a letter and said, 'Every blooming thing in that movie was true.' I knew the men that were in it and everything about it. But it was just where truth was stranger than fiction."

1. Howard Hawks (Director)
Date of Birth: 30 May 1896 - Goshen, Indiana
Date of Death: 26 December 1977 - Palm Springs, California

2. Cary Grant [aka: Archibald Alexander Leach]
Date of Birth: 18 January 1904 - Horfield, Bristol, England, UK
Date of Death: 29 November 1986 - Davenport, Iowa

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment. 19 Nov 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a good entertainment film. Good story, actors and acting. Very good for Cary Grant fans and with a touch nostalgia for the older viewers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtitled 23 May 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The case states that this film has Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portugese, Spanish and Turkish subtitles (film only, special features are not subtitled)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aging well 16 May 2011
By bsmith
The film, alas not me. This is a wonderful old story, which was used as a base for the 1980s television series 'Tales of the Gold Monkey'. I bought this film because of this link, my two children, 9 and 12, love TGM and I thought this would be a nice foray into black and white. I was right, they loved it. This is a classic story with high adventure in the days before CGI. It's nice to see that, given the chance, the younger generation can appreciate a good story and leave their imaginations to fill in the details.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sound a problem 7 May 2014
By sunrise
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Such a shame. I bought this for my parents. Had to give up after a few minutes. Compared to the sound quality of, for example, the equally old film "It's a Wonderful Life" this was a real disappointment.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great 17 Feb 2014
By Alison
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Not a bad movie, good enough to spend a bit of time on. A bit corny but old films are much like that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Only Angels Have Wings 26 Aug 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although I don't think this film is one of Cary Grants better films, it was enjoyable and amusing in parts.
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