Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
Watch it now
as Geoff Carter
as Bonnie Lee
as Bat Mac Pherson
as Judy MacPherson
as Kid Dabb
as Gent Shelton
as Les Peters
as Tex Gordon
as Joe Souther
as Dr. Logario
as Native Cook
as Lily's Aunt
as Hartwood Jr.
as Assistant Purser
as Ship Captain
as Blonde Spanish Girl
as First Mate
as Banana Foreman
as Planter Overseer
as Banana Foreman
News & Interviews for Only Angels Have Wings
Critic Reviews for Only Angels Have Wings
'Only Angels Have Wings' uses its paper-thin plot as an excuse to mount a scalpel-sharp analysis of men under pressure: bitching, blaming and refusing to back down.
Howard Hawks's stirring tale of a fledgling airmail service that traverses the Andes from a strip in a South American banana port is the ultimate workplace dramedy.
There are jokes and even real profundity, but they rise organically out of what may be Hawks' greatest, shaggy dog-iest masterpiece - maybe the most easy-going great film ever made.
Audience Reviews for Only Angels Have Wings
Cary Grant leads a tight ensemble of mail pilots in the Andes Mountains for whom frequently bad weather conditions turn every regular day of work into a dance of death. Somehow Jean Arthur gets off the boat and gets involved with the guys first and then with Grant. Much of this doesn't make sense or add up and yet the presentation is so atmospheric and well done that damned if one doesn't hang around for the ride. Rita Hayworth, in her first A picture, sizzles even then.
It's a film about adventure and romance, but what we really have here is a study on the nature of death by director Howard Hawks. A lone adventuress (Jean Arthur) steps off the boat in a tiny South American banana port, and makes quick friends with some lonely american pilots working for the local mail company. It's a friendship that ends all too suddenly and all too violently. But where she would shed tears for a soul lost to dust, his fellow pilots choose to sing songs and even laugh it off, as death could come for any one of them at any time. The dashing head of the crew (Cary Grant) is perhaps the most cavalier of the group, but then, he has to be, as he's the one who sends them out (possibly to their deaths). She's attracted to him, and he to her, not as some flighty dame, but as a real woman who knows how to value life. But it becomes her task to convince him that she won't try to change him like his last love (Rita Hayworth) did, and he must make the effort to want something, to want her, for more than a passing fancy. He, who never owns so much as a book of matches, feeling it's too much of a commitment. In the face of the constant threat of death, maybe this all seems unimportant, or maybe it's the only thing that IS important. Maybe that's the heart of the matter, the issue of what this life is all about and what are we doing here and why are we doing it.
There is a scene towards the end of the movie, a pilot is going on "one last flight", and it's one he must make alone. It's the elephant in the room, the fact that everyone knows, but no one wants to say aloud. That we all must one day die, and that we will die alone. The light will die within us and the mystery of death will finally be revealed. It may be wrong to fixate on our ultimate fate, but it's more wrongful still to deny that fate completely. Only Angels Have Wings is a microcosm of all our own little lives put together. We push forward and persevere in our work and loves in spite of our own mortality, because to do otherwise would be to negate our whole existence in the first place.
Great little drama packed full of twists and great characters.
Discuss Only Angels Have Wings on our Movie forum!