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Wings of Desire (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

An angel meets the actor Peter Falk and falls in love with a French trapeze artist in Berlin. Directed by Wim Wenders.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois, Peter Falk
  • Directors: Wim Wenders
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Color, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 127 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002IVDLGE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,448 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wings of Desire (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 31, 2009
Format: Blu-ray
No movie that I see on a regular basis makes me feel so powerfully the joy of being alive as this one. Although many films and numberless and sappy television shows since 1987 have used angels of one dreadful sort or another, Wim Wenders managed to success while all the others failed. Working from a story by celebrated writer Peter Handke, Wenders takes angels that seem to have more in common with Rilke's Duino Elegies than the Bible or the New Age angels. Their function is to watch and observe and record, and in their own limited fashion, to comfort and commiserate. The trick wasn't to come up with the gimmick of angels being able to listen to the thoughts of humans, but to make those thoughts beautiful and representative of all that is quintessentially human. The trick wasn't to have the angels see in black and white and the humans in color, but in making what was seen, whether two or many toned, beautiful. One has only to see the absolutely appalling CITY OF ANGELS, an English language remake starring Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage, to see that having gimmicks isn't enough; you must have substance as well.

This is not a perfect film. There are some dull moments, and I thoroughly dislike a couple of moments in the film, in particular, Dommartin's speech to Bruno Ganz in the bar near the end of the film. But there are so many magnificent moments, so many moments where they not merely get something right, but produce a moment of almost transcendent beauty, that WINGS OF DESIRE provides more than entertainment, but something akin to a reason to live. The movie becomes in the end a celebration of life, of all the tawdry elements that go into being human. The movie ends in affirming nearly as many things as Walt Whitman does in "Song of Myself."

I love the cast.
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Format: DVD
The first disc features an audio commentary that actually consists of excerpts of interviews with director Wim Wenders and actor Peter Falk over several years. Wenders talks about the origins of Wings of Desire - it was a return to his hometown of Berlin after spending eight years in the United States. He had planned to make another film but it was too complex and expensive. He had to come up with another idea and quick or the production company he had assembled would break up. This fascinating anecdote is only one of many engaging stories as the two men tell all kinds of filming tales. They do a good job of taking us through the making of this film.

Also included are the German theatrical trailer and an amusing "Wen Wunderts" promo trailer.

The second disc features the bulk of the extra material, starting off with "The Angels Among Us," a 2003 documentary where key cast and crew members are interviewed. Wenders wanted to make a film about Berlin, the way he remembered it when he was young. Peter Handke talks about his unconventional approach to the script. For the two main angels, Wenders cast Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander based on their 20-year friendship and working relationship. Everyone speaks quite eloquently about their experiences making Wings of Desire.

"Cinema Cinemas" features an interview with Wenders from the February 17, 1987 episode of this French television program. We see Wenders at work on the set of Wings of Desire with his cast and crew shooting scenes from the film.

Also included are nine deleted scenes with commentary by Wenders and outtakes but only with music. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of footage of the angels observing humanity. The outtakes feature all sorts of beautiful shots of Berlin.
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Format: DVD
What an enchanting and thought-provoking movie! The basic premise is that there are angels watching over the earth -- or maybe only Berlin, where, God knows, they needed angels during the Cold War -- and it's Wim Wenders's conceit that these angels have relatively limited power. They can hear people's thoughts, and they can invisibly touch them and bring some strength and comfort in times of stress, but they seem to have no power over people's choices, and appropriately therefore, they are a rather sober group, with their dark overcoats and neck-scarves neatly tucked in, whose demeanor suggests patience and resignation more than anything else. They seem to like to hang around the library when things are quiet, although, of course, they're invisible to the workers and patrons, and in that setting they have the air of a group taking a break from a Board meeting of a non-profit organization. They seem kindly, but a bit detached -- the demeanor of medical staff in an ICU, perhaps? When filming is done in black and white, it becomes clear to us that we are seeing from an angelic perspective; when color is employed, it's as if we're seeing through human eyes. The quality of the color is distinctive, though -- often it seems like the color of an illustrated children's book rather than "standard" realistic color. Just putting it like that overstates the matter a bit . . . but there is something odd and arresting about it. At times we're given the impression that very young children can see the angels.

The angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz) seems a tad more animated in expression than the others, including his angel buddy Samiel (Otto Sander), and it turns out that that's because he is seriously interested in human beings to the extent of renouncing his angelic status and becoming human.
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