Wings of Desire

1987

Wings of Desire

Critics Consensus

Beyond ravishing, Wings of Desire is Wim Wenders' is aching and heartbreaking exploration of how love makes us human.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 53

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 34,061
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Movie Info

Damiel (Bruno Ganz) and Cassiel (Otto Sander) are angels who watch over the city of Berlin. They don't have harps or wings (well, they usually don't have wings) and they prefer overcoats to gossamer gowns. But they can travel unseen through the city, listening to people's thoughts, watching their actions and studying their lives. While they can make their presence felt in small ways, only children and other angels can see them. They spend their days serenely observing, unable to interact with people, and they feel neither pain nor joy. One day, Damiel finds his way into a circus and sees Marion (Solveig Dommartin), a high-wire artist, practicing her act; he is immediately smitten. After the owners of the circus tell the company that the show is out of money and must disband, Marion sinks into a funk, shuffling back to her trailer to ponder what to do next. As he watches her, Damiel makes a decision: he wants to be human, and he wants to be with Marion, to lift her spirits and, if need be, to share her pain. Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire is a remarkable modern fairy tale about the nature of being alive. The angels witness the gamut of human emotions, and they experience the luxury of simple pleasures (even a cup of coffee and a cigarette) as ones who've never known them. From the angels' viewpoint, Berlin is seen in gorgeous black-and-white -- strikingly beautiful but unreal; when they join the humans, the image shifts to rough but natural-looking color, and the waltz-like grace of the angels' drift through the city changes to a harsher rhythm. Peter Falk appears as himself, revealing a secret that we may not have known about the man who played Columbo, and there's also a brief but powerful appearance by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Wings of Desire hinges on the intangible and elusive, and it builds something beautiful from those qualities.

Cast

Bruno Ganz
as Damiel
Otto Sander
as Cassiel
Curt Bois
as Homer
Beatrice Manowski
as Das Strichmädchen
Hans Martin Stier
as The Dying Man
Peter Falk
as Himself
Lajos Kovács
as Marion's coach
Peter Werner
as Manager
Paul Busch
as Circus
Didier Flamand
as Angel at the library
Olivier Picot
as Air-raid shelter
Dirk Vogeley
as On the highway
Mick Harvey
as Crime & the city solution
Nick Cave
as Himself
Blixa Bargeld
as Member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
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News & Interviews for Wings of Desire

Critic Reviews for Wings of Desire

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Wings of Desire

  • Jul 17, 2016
    Angels observe life in Germany in a gorgeous view of the individual lives of many including Peter Falk who plays himself. Terrific use of camera work by Wenders.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2015
    The music ruined the film for me. Wings of Desire is a film about angels who provide comfort to people in need, one angel falls in love with a trapeze artist became determined to be mortal in order to experience happiness on earth with his new found lover. I love the aerial shots and the use of black and white shots to show the contrast of earth and heaven. The dialogue were beautiful and the theme was nicely done to show the joy of living our lives. However the film may be a bit too lengthy, which could be condensed for better effect.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2014
    An angel falls in love with a human woman and decides to become one of her kind. The inspiration for the Hollywood tear-jerker City of Angels, Wim Wenders's film is decidedly un-Hollywood. Filled with existential reflections and poorly paced, the film is more meditation than plot and story, more philosophical musing than love story. It feels long, though only a little over two hours. Peter Falk, who apparently is an ex-angel, plays himself, and this dash of reality seems incongruent with the fantasy that permeates the rest of the film. Overall, I didn't like either the Hollywood or European version of this story because both seem too far to the ends of extremes.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2013
    Extremely artistic while still commenting on the most basic instinct: the need to be human.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer

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