Heaven Can Wait (1943)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Heaven Can Wait Videos & Photos

Movie Info

On the day of his death in 1943, the spirit of Henry Van Cleave (Don Ameche) obligingly heads for the place where so many people had previously told him to go. The immaculately dressed septuagenarian arrives at the outer offices of Hades, where he is greeted by His Excellency (Laird Cregar), the most courteous and gentlemanly Satan in screen history. His Excellency doubts that Van Cleave has sinned enough to qualify for entrance into Hades, but Henry insists that he's led the most wicked of … More

Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Romance, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Samson Raphaelson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 14, 2005
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


as Henry Van Cleve

as Martha

as Hugo Van Cleve

as Mrs. Strabel

as His Excellency

as Bertha Van Cleve

as Albert Van Cleve

as Mr. Strabel

as Randolph Van Cleve

as Mademoiselle

as Peggy Nash

as Jack Van Cleve

as Flogdell

as Henry at Age 15

as Albert at Age 15

as Mrs. Craig

as Grandmother

as Mrs. Cooper-Cooper

as Jack as a Child

as Albert's Father

as Grace's Mother

as Jack as a Child

as Miss Ralston

as Clerk in Britano's

as Policeman

as Henry at Age 15 Mont...

as Henry at Age 9

as Doctor

as Jack Van Cleve
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Heaven Can Wait

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Scripted by Raphaelson, the helmer's frequent collaborator, this light, suave comedy of manners (his first in color) displays what's known as the Lubitsch touch and would have been more successful with a more charismatic actor than Don Ameche.

Full Review… | July 26, 2008

Elegant, ironic Lubitsch gem.

July 14, 2006
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for Heaven Can Wait

Not the predecessor of the Warren Beatty vehicle of the seventies, Heaven Can Wait is a sweet comedy that follows the life of philandering playboy Henry Van Cleve, as he drifts through the phases of his life, narrating along the way. There are certainly parts that are either aged by the particular brand of humor, and others that are plain tiresome, but when the film deals with the early years of Henry's life it's all too angelic to watch. There is some very dark humor as well, especially concerning the devil's role in the film, which is less of a creepy creature and more of a slick businessman talking over a merger. As the film follows the personal timeline of Ameche, his ease and charm filter through every bit of his performance. We never truly grasp the sentimentality of his relationships with his parents, wife, or son, but all the constructs are present, and therefore the performance comes through as a genuine article. Still, Ameche's transformation from elegant Casanova to settled bumpkin is unsettling and the subsequent storyline concerning his son's reputation is both unnecessary and uninspired. Gene Tierney manages to reclaim much of the spotlight as an aged wife to Ameche, pulling focus with her gleaming sapphire eyes and empire waist. Though their chemistry is subtle, it's also very tender. When speaking about her to Satan, Henry has left his ways and is now a morose old man, hoping for a second chance and a good natured heart to guide him back to his wife. Touching overall.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Don Ameche is subtle but superb as Henry Van Cleve, the trust-fund Casanova who feels compelled to recount his life story to Satan at the gates of hell.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

The original Heaven Can Wait. If you've seen the remakes, I recommend taking a look at this one.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

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