One Foot in Heaven

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 8


Audience Score

User Ratings: 156
User image

One Foot in Heaven Photos

Movie Info

Author Hartzell Spence's popular biography of his preacher father was the source for One Foot in Heaven. Fredric March stars as Methodist cleric William Spence, whose calling requires him to move his family from parish to parish on a near-monthly basis. The children resent the fact that they're never able to sustain friendships, while Reverend Spence is equally upset by what he perceives to be encroaching immorality in the early 20th century. Spence's stubbornness loses him as many parishioners as he gains, but he is gradually humanized by a series of random events. In the best of these, the Reverend, who has railed against movies from the pulpit, attends a "scandalous" picture show--and as the picture reaches its climax, he finds himself cheering on the good guys as loudly as everyone else!


Fredric March
as William Spence
Martha Scott
as Hope Morris Spence
Beulah Bondi
as Mrs. Lydia Sandow
Gene Lockhart
as Preston Thurston
Grant Mitchell
as Clayton Potter
Moroni Olsen
as Dr. John Romer
Harry Davenport
as Elias Samson
Elisabeth Fraser
as Eileen Spence (age 17)
Frankie Thomas
as Hartzell Spence (age 18)
Laura Hope Crewes
as Mrs. Thurston
Jerome Cowan
as Dr. Horrigan
Ernest Cossart
as John E. Morris
Nana Bryant
as Mrs. Morris
Mary Field
as Louella Digby
Hobart Bosworth
as Richard Hardy Case
Roscoe Ates
as George Reynolds
Clara Blandick
as Mrs. Watkins
Paula Trueman
as Miss Peabody
Virginia Brissac
as Mrs. Jellison
Casey Johnson
as Fraser Spence (age 10)
Carlotta Jelm
as Eileen Spence (age 11)
Peter Caldwell
as Hartzell Spence (age 10)
Harlan Briggs
as Druggist MacFarlan
Olin Howland
as Zeke Harris
Frank Mayo
as Drummer
Fred Kelsey
as Conductor
Vera Lewis
as Mrs. Simpson
Milton Kibbee
as Alf McAfee
Dorothy Vaughan
as Mrs. Erlich
Sarah Edwards
as Mrs. Spicer
Herbert Heywood
as Storekeeper
Tempe Piggott
as Mrs. Dibble
Dick Elliott
as Casper Cullenbaugh
Charlotte Treadway
as Ella Hodges
Gig Young
as Groom
Ruth Robinson
as Lydia's Maid
View All

Critic Reviews for One Foot in Heaven

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (8)

  • Out of Hartzell Spence's deeply affectionate biography of his ministerial father, William Spence, the Warners have derived a cheerful and warmly compassionate film, an excellent character study and an adult entertainment on the screen.

    Feb 3, 2012 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…
  • A warm and human preachment for godliness.

    Feb 3, 2012 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • The movie's stiff sense of virtue won it an Oscar nomination, but more impressive is Scott's weirdly distant performance as a woman who impulsively accepts the life of a church mouse and then finds she can't do much for her children.

    Feb 3, 2012 | Full Review…
  • This is a warm, sincere and unpretentious picture.

    Sep 28, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Touching crowd-pleasing family drama.

    Apr 8, 2015 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • In one of his finest performances, Fredric March plays Rev. William Spence, a Methodist minister who devotes his life to transforming wavering parishes into strong pillars of faith.

    Feb 3, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for One Foot in Heaven

  • Dec 23, 2013
    An outdated if charming piece on the life of a Canadian doctor in training who decides to become a Minister and drags his family across the western U.S. to attend to the faithful. He gets into many battles and seems un-Minister like when he talks about wanting to give people a good thrashing. Nonetheless, this is a passable drama.
    John B Super Reviewer

One Foot in Heaven Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features