We're No Angels - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

We're No Angels Reviews

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February 24, 2016
An odd comedy that got better as it progressed. It was interesting to see Humphrey Bogart and Peter Ustinov together, but I don't think the pairing lived up to my high expectations. It's a decent classic film worth seeing once. (First and only viewing - 2/23/2016)
August 10, 2015
One of my favorite non-traditional Christmas films. There's nothing bad about it.
½ September 15, 2014
What an odd little movie. In fact nearly every review used the phrase "oddly charming" and I think I'm inclined to agree. I think perhaps as a comedy, it's a little dated. Bogart in an apron isn't so hilarious in the 21st century as it must've been in 1955. But it was sort of sweetly sentimental considering the murdering and such. The actors were all convincing in their roles, and I can't say I've ever seen anything quite like it. I'd also never heard the featured Christmas carol, and I tend to be a little obsessive about my Christmas collection, so that's interesting. it was a little heavy handed with the constant reminders that these people were criminals, but that's probably my only complaint.
June 18, 2014
More one liners than any other comedy
½ June 9, 2014
I don't know why I don't spend more of my time watching classics like this from the 50s. It seems every time I do I'm totally charmed by the way movies were made back in the golden age. My one and only complaint about this film is that it takes some time getting started. The first few scenes are just overloaded with verbal exposition, which nowadays would be considered a movie sin. So here's the story: A group of escaped cons are looking to get off Devil's Island and to freedom. In order to get everything they need for safe passage off the island, they find a family who run a store and they plan to kill and rob them on Christmas. Yes, it starts out pretty hard to like these guys. But as they spend some time with this family they find that these people are dealing with a lot of troubles and maybe, just maybe, they don't deserve to die. It's such an odd plot because these guys clearly don't care about the law, but perhaps they have a bit of a moral compass despite their willingness to lie, rob, and kill with no remorse. We're No Angels almost feels like a stage play because all the action takes place on about 3 or 4 different sets, but it's very creative and has that Christmas setting without feeling like a holiday film.

The movie relies almost entirely on the talent of the 3 lead actors, so I guess it's a good thing they got such excellent talent. Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, and Aldo Ray are all amazing. Bogey is surprisingly solid in a comedic role, and has the most subtle transition from villain to hero. You almost believe he is still capable of horrible things right up to the conclusion. Ustinov is probably the least-convincing as a criminal, but he is hilarious when they have him using his safe-cracking talents. He's so charming with the family, you can't help loving him. Aldo Ray shows the most depth to his character. We are shown that he can be quite a womanizer, but he has a heart of gold inside. His conversations about love and romance are a big highlight in the film. There were a couple other performances that stood out for me. First of all was Leo G. Carroll as the man who welcomes in these convicts. He has this world-weary look to him that fits perfectly in his role. You can tell he's a kind man who's suffering because of his situation. The final actor worth mentioning is Basil Rathbone. He is so deliciously evil as Cousin Andre. It makes a great contrast having someone who is so detestable to contrast against the ones who are the real crooks in the film.

The biggest thing that worked for me in We're No Angels was the script. All I can say is, the art of writing dialogue has diminished significantly since these "good old days." The wit of the convicts is amazing, particularly the way they talk so casually about committing crimes. It is perfectly crafted so that every time you think these guys are so sweet they throw in a line like "People like that, how can you cut their throats?" It's also interesting seeing how the resident's of Devil's Island are so accustomed to convicts hanging around, they just treat it like no big deal. Oh, there's a convicted rapist on the roof? Who cares? It feels so foreign, but creates a good backdrop for a unique story you don't see every day. We're No Angels now ranks as one of the classics that I will gladly watch any time, and I might have to find myself a copy on DVD so we can add it to our Christmas movie watch-list. How can you not love a movie as humorous as this that follows up a silly scene with one where they throw out a brilliant line like "If crime showed on a man's face, there'd be no mirrors." I highly recommend this movie for a few laughs and a very unexpected twist on the classic holiday film genre.
June 6, 2014
Absolutely fabulous movie for its time. Great perforomances from all the cast .watched it again recently
April 24, 2014
A rare Humphrey Bogart comedy, and it works perfectly!

Seeing Bogart in the lead role, and the movie being about a jailbreak, I was expecting an adventure-drama. Instead I got a comedy, and a very good one at that.

Incredibly sharp dialogue and some devilishly clever and funny sub-plots make this an hilarious movie. Add in the fact that it is set at Christmas, and there is a great amount of Christmas sentimentality and fun involved too.

The other things that carry the movie are the performances of Bogart and, especially, Peter Ustinov. Bogart delivers his lines well and cannot be faulted, but Ustinov has a perfect sense of comedic timing. Plus his Englishness makes him seem so much funnier.

Aldo Ray is a bit hit-and-miss as the third non-angel. Sometimes you feel he is just reciting his lines without any sense of timing or tone, but others then hit the mark well.

Good support from Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, Leo Carroll and Gloria Talbott.

A must-see, especially at Christmas.
March 8, 2014
If you could see crime in a man's face, there wouldn't be any mirrors.

Devil's Island is a famous island on the Mediterranean that houses a jail house and small village. Three convicts break out of jail and hide out as workers at a local convenience store. They do small odd jobs to help the family and earn their keep and they eventually plan to rob the store blind to gain enough money to eventually leave the island. They begin to learn more about the family and try to help them the best they can. After they see the poor way the family lives, the criminals may become saviors...

"I had forgotten that you're pretty."
"You only say that because I look like you."

Michael Curtiz, director of White Christmas, Mildred Pierce, Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Yankee Doodle Dandee, Four Daughters, and Kid Galahad, delivers We're No Angels. The storyline for this picture is actually outstanding and extremely fun to watch unfold. The characters were fascinating and the script and acting was first rate. The cast includes Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov, Joan Bennett, Basil Rathbone, and Leo Carroll.

"A man doesn't travel 4,000 miles to prove he's a louse. He could do that in a letter. I always did."

Michael Curtiz is one of my all time favorite directors and I was thoroughly impressed by this movie (this is honestly the best film I have seen in a while). The story unfolds beautifully and I couldn't get over how much I liked the characters (and how they played off each other, like Three Stooges Gangsters). Overall, this is a must see movie that is worth adding to your DVD collection.

"The only real mistake I ever made was getting caught."

Grade: A
½ January 20, 2014
Charming and witty holiday favorite. Our family watches it every Christmas season.
½ January 5, 2014
This film was low on my radar and at times it seems it would make a better play than a movie, but our three convicts are comical and endearing enough to make it work most of the time. Some Christmas spirit and Adolph the snake do not hurt the film either. If not already, it seems that this should be a Christmas classic.
December 15, 2013
Gentle comedy but an interesting enough fusion of Humphrey Bogart and Peter Ustinov.
July 17, 2013
This movie is hilarious. It is one of the few movies that is enjoyable from beginning to end. Peter Ustinov, Humphrey Bogart, and Aldo Ray make a superb trio of likable criminals. Contains some of the funniest quotes I have ever heard.
February 3, 2013
It was funny (in a more somewhat subtle style, I think), witty, and an overall great tale. Very enjoyable watch.
February 1, 2013
A Special Christmas For One Family
January 22, 2013
not a very satisfying ending
December 26, 2012
A rare comedic turn for tough guy Bogart as he teams up with Peter Ustinov and Aldo Ray who break out of prison on Devil's Island and helps out a family in the nearby town of Cayenne. Quick quips and one-liners make this a delightful holiday escape.
December 20, 2012
Breezy but rather stagy.
December 15, 2012
Enjoyable enough but ultimately pretty forgettable comedy about escaped convicts from Devil's Island, Bogart, Ustinov and Ray, hide out in the home of kindly merchant, Leo G. Carroll. It's a fun cast of typically dramatic actors that also includes Basil Rathbone and Joan Bennett. The film was directed by Bogie's "Casablanca" director Michael Curtiz, but this film is a far cry from that film's greatness. Still, it's an enjoyable enough of light comedy.
December 9, 2012
Beautifully scripted dark comedy with a brilliant cast led by Humphrey Bogart and Peter Ustinov. Three criminals plot to rob a family at Christmas as a means to escape prison. But they reconsider when they come to feel bad for the family, who has fallen on hard times. Being criminals, they're talents are more than a match for the sanctimonious snobs causing all the trouble. The fun comes in watching the gleeful and inventive ways in which the robber wannabes dispatch the truly malevolent characters.
November 30, 2012
Pithy, entertaining dialogue and interesting, but non distracting direction as well as fine performances make this a holiday favorite of mine.
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