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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty satire of commercialism and religion
At the open of the Boulting brothers' production of HEAVENS ABOVE (1963)!, Peter Sellers is a prison chaplin. As one of two Anglican ministers named John Smallwood, he's errantly appointed reverend to the stodgy village of Orbiston Parva. (The "other" Smallwood appears later. He's played by Ian Carmichael.)

Rev. John's socialistic beliefs are immediately at...
Published 22 months ago by Annie Van Auken

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting film from the 60's....
A nice enjoyable tale with Peter Sellers in a typically idiosyncratic role as a vicar who actually adheres to the letter of Christian philosophy. Of course he has converts, is despised by the powers that be, and eventually is run out of town. It all seems to be an analogy to the life of Christ ( right down to the "ascending to heaven" at the end). Does seem a bit...
Published 3 months ago by R. Wark


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty satire of commercialism and religion, January 25, 2013
At the open of the Boulting brothers' production of HEAVENS ABOVE (1963)!, Peter Sellers is a prison chaplin. As one of two Anglican ministers named John Smallwood, he's errantly appointed reverend to the stodgy village of Orbiston Parva. (The "other" Smallwood appears later. He's played by Ian Carmichael.)

Rev. John's socialistic beliefs are immediately at odds with the town's leading citizen, wealthy matron Lady Despard (Isabel Jeans), whose family fortune is derived from "Tranquilax," a 3-in-1 curative product. The vicar's earnest concern for her immortal soul and a biblical reminder about rich folks and "the eye of a needle" convince Lady D. to disperse her millions to the needy. She and Smallwood set up a non-denominational free food distribution center that in short order puts the town's butchers, grocers and dairymen out of work.

The minister's superiors are alerted to unrest in Orbiston Parva and visit Smallwood who, in an act of charity has taken in the Smiths, an enormous family of vagabonds. (Cast note: the oldest Smith boy, Jack is Steve Marriott, late of David Merrick's OLIVER! and soon a member of rock group the Small Faces). Archdeacon Aspinall (Ian Parker) is shocked at the vicarage's rundown condition and concerned about commercial griping over Smallwood's food bank. He summons Rev. John for a psychiatric examination. The shrink mistakenly speaks with the "other" Smallwood, who's outraged that his plumb post was usurped by our hero. The psychiatrist diagnoses him as a violent paranoid schizophrenic, while Rev. John waits quietly for his appointment.

From this point our man of the cloth's good fortune rapidly turns quite sour. There's unruly crowds, strife, and the wistful realization of failure. The story ends most ludicrously, on a small arctic island being used by the fledglng British space program. An ill-considered, tacked-on attempt at humor makes for a desperately weak finale. Those last 10 minutes spoil what was a most engaging movie, but it's still well-worth seeing.

"Heaven's Above!" is available on DVD, also as one-sixth of THE PETER SELLERS COLLECTION.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever, So-British Satire from the Superlative Shepperton Studios, June 24, 2013
This review is from: Heavens Above! (Amazon Instant Video)
Peter Sellers at his pudgy, sweet, pre-Goon Show best, delivers a subtly shaded performance as a naive C of E minister who actually practices what he preaches, to his ultimate downfall. Superb supporting roles by Cedric Parker, Ian Carmichael, Miles Malleson, and Malcolm Muggeridge (who also penned the plot) provide a goldmine of comedy. Realistic without cruelty, uplifting without sentimentality, this movie is a gem in Shepperton Studios' rich tradition of British comedy, rivaling the original "Ladykillers" and even "Dr. Strangelove." If you enjoyed Sellers's final role as Chance the gardener in "Being There," you will see the same empathetic satire here. Favorite line (among many), as delivered by a fundamentalist minister: "Now all these so-called Christians will expect free gifts from the Church, instead of the damnation they so richly deserve!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting film from the 60's...., August 5, 2014
By 
R. Wark (Newmarket NH) - See all my reviews
A nice enjoyable tale with Peter Sellers in a typically idiosyncratic role as a vicar who actually adheres to the letter of Christian philosophy. Of course he has converts, is despised by the powers that be, and eventually is run out of town. It all seems to be an analogy to the life of Christ ( right down to the "ascending to heaven" at the end). Does seem a bit dated now but still fun.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, March 28, 2014
By 
EvesDaughter (Mountain Home, AR, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Heavens Above! (Amazon Instant Video)
Good movie, but, only if you enjoy movies of that era - otherwise, you will most likely rate it low and find it dull. Peter Sellers is always enjoyable, but, this isn't the slapstick he's known for in the Pink Panther movies. For those who can appreciate a movie with British humor that has a plot in place of constant action, this is well worth your time.
This movie is not rated, but is family safe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie shows us the problems of today were well-known generations ago, but can take a humorous view w/ Genius of P.Sellers, October 12, 2014
By 
Electric Ivy "Suz" (sitting on the Moon) - See all my reviews
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Shepperton Studios was about the only movie studio in Great Britain only closing down a decade or so ago. The brilliant Peter Sellers made 100 more movies than most Americans or this generation are aware of. All of them are incredible performances, scrpts and have that wonderful tongue-in-cheek dry British humor. This movie is one example of the fact that the issues of today are nothing new. The Vatican owns every major telescope, including the Hubble, around the world. The comment about the Boy Scouts, politics vs. religion vs. big business vs. unions vs. Pharmacutiecal Lobby all clashes together brilliantly, with stabs at Sellers other work in Lolita, Strangelove and many others if only for a second. The issues have been around for generations and if later generations saw them (like hearing the same in classic popular and rock music of this period) it might show them how to see them in less drastic, even very humorous light as this movie does. If you really enjoy this one, there are numerous others with Sellers at Shepperton where he got his start much earlier than Americans realize!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Old British Movie but Not for Everyone, June 27, 2014
"Heavens Above!" is an old 1963 British movie, and so, the cinematography and sound aren't great, but the story line is good. It is a mostly-humorous movie about the challenges of a new vicar, and outsider, trying to do good in a small village. The ending left us with food for thought.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What if the Church were truly Christian?, October 10, 2014
By 
Rosemarie (CHARLOTTE, NC, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What if the Church were truly Christian?
This is an old movie starring Peter Sellers as a vicar who tries to act like a Christian and sees it backfire. Answers the question, if a person sells all he has and gives it to the poor, what would really happen? Well, chaos ensues as the hapless vicar persuades his new town's richest citizen to do that. Everyone gets free food and the stores go out of business, among other things. Not a laugh riot, but thought-provoking. The actors in this movie are some of the old radio comedians from the BBC in the 1950's, and I really enjoyed seeing them.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good potential but disappointing, January 7, 2014
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This review is from: Heavens Above! (Amazon Instant Video)
This movie had great potential and was, for the first hour or so, quite successful at telling its story, making some good points, and keeping a humorous tone. Unfortunately, the writers/producers could not figure out an ending to match, so they grasped for a most disappointing over-the-top solution. The film is in black and white, and its style is consistent with its early 60s production date. Peter Sellers plays his part well, though it is a much more subdued role than some of his later comic triumphs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 6, 2014
By 
Krishna Das (Southern New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
Dead on and funny in many ways.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Heavens Above, June 25, 2014
This review is from: Heavens Above! (Amazon Instant Video)
Very Britishly tongue in cheek humor. I've always liked Peter Sellers. He has better movies, but this is very typical of his non-Pink Panther movies.
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Heavens Above!
Heavens Above! by Roy Boulting
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