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  • Wings Of Desire [1987] [DVD]
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Wings Of Desire [1987] [DVD]

79 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois, Peter Falk
  • Directors: Wim Wenders
  • Format: PAL, Original recording remastered
  • Language: English, French, German, Hebrew, Turkish
  • Subtitles: English
  • 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: PG
  • Studio: Starz Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Feb. 2003
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JI25
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,522 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

In this film written and directed by Wim Wenders, Bruno Ganz plays Daniel, one of two angels who watch over the citizens of Berlin, listening to their thoughts. When he falls in love with a trapeze artist (Solvieg Dommartin), he dreams of becoming human. With the help of an American actor (Peter Falk, playing himself), in Berlin to make a film about the war, Daniel achieves his desire. The film was remade in 1998 as 'City of Angels' starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.


"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, --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Born free on 5 Sept. 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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94 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Ntshk on 9 Dec. 2004
Format: DVD
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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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 3 Oct. 2002
Format: DVD
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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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Jun. 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A morning after the night before film that leaves such a deep impression that you wake with your head teeming with images and moments from it. I notice there are one or two reviewers who just "don't get it". I think the deal here is that if you don't have a feel for poetry, that is modern poetry , Baudelaire and after, then this will leave you lost and twitching. This fim is like one of Rilke's Duino Elegies bought to life for the screen. The premise, if you haven't already picked up on it, is that Angels are moving among men and women in Cold War, East Berlin. Invisible except to the occasional child, infinitely benign, but detached observers, they search endlessly for the most exquisite tokens of human expression, frailty and dignity, amid the myriad humdrum acts that constitute their otherwise monotonous lives. The more seeminly fragile and insignificant then the more treasured they are. From time to time the Angels get together to compare notes on the little acts and incidents that have left the deepest impressession on them. The Angels hear the thoughts of all those they move among, and for an extended part of the film's opening, we move with them through streets, tower block apartments and on public transport, randomly sampling the fragmentary thoughts of those they pass, from their most pressingly humdrum anxieties, through to the profoundest of reveries. The resulting stream of consciousness inevitably takes on the character of poetry of the most universal kind. Very gradually a plot emerges which eventually includes twists and revelations, gently comic and breathtakingly profound, that leave one with a stupified grin and a warm trickle inside, just knowing such innocence and purity of vision are still to be found in this life.Read more ›
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