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Wings of Desire (The Criterion Collection) (1987)

Curt Bois , Solveig Dommartin , Wim Wenders  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Curt Bois, Solveig Dommartin, Peter Falk, Bruno Ganz, Otto Sander
  • Directors: Wim Wenders
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002IVDLGY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,695 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wings of Desire (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin) is one of cinema’s loveliest city symphonies. Bruno Ganz is Damiel, an angel perched atop buildings high over Berlin who can hear the thoughts—fears, hopes, and dreams—of all the people living below. But when he falls in love with a beautiful trapeze artist, he is willing to give up his immortality to come back to earth to be with her. Made not long before the fall of the Berlin Wall, this stunning tapestry of sounds and images, shot in black and white and color by the legendary Henri Alekan, is movie poetry. And it forever made the name Wim Wenders synonymous with film art.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Wim Wenders
  • Audio commentary featuring Wenders and actor Peter Falk
  • The Angels Among Us (2003), a documentary featuring interviews with Wenders, Falk, actors Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander, writer Peter Handke, and composer Jürgen Knieper
  • Excerpt from: Wim Wenders Berlin Jan. 87, an episode of the French television program Cinéma cinémas, including on-set footage
  • Interview with director of photography Henri Alekan
  • Deleted scenes and outtakes
  • Excerpts from the films Alekan la lumière (1985) and Remembrance: Film for Curt Bois (about the actor who plays Homer in Wings of Desire)
  • Notes and photos by production designer Heidi Lüdi and art director Toni Lüdi
  • Trailers
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Atkinson and writings by Wenders and Handke

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
205 of 211 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
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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89 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The DVD is splendid. July 15, 2003
By mail
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I first saw Wings of Desire in 1988. It is impossible to tell someone what this movie is about. They best way to describe it is to tell that you will learn from it. It shows you what it is to be alive, appreciate life, and to fall in love with the world around you. Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander are gorgeous! They fit very well together. Solveig Dommartin was a joy to watch. Her use of multiple languages to display her thoughts and emotions was very well done. Curt Bois fit into his role 100% and was superb. Peter Falk was a splendid addition to the film and also fit nicely with his use of English and a tiny bit of German. This movie teaches about Cold War Berlin and the wall that divided the city. It teaches you to strive for what you desire in life because you can get it if you really want it. Wim Wenders and Peter Handke were geniuses with fitting all of this together. This movie is totally not Hollywood style. There is no sappy romance or most of the cast getting shot to death in brutal ways. There is no script cast in stone. It pulls at your heart and your mind and never becomes tiresome or boring. It does not tell you step by step the plot. It gives basic ideas and lets you decide in your heart how you will feel the film. Wim Wenders is brilliant! Berlin has changed so much since Wings of Desire was released. Wim Wenders has kind of frozen time and preserved this era of Berlin for us. It does not show Berlin as some beautiful majestic town like a Hollywood film would. It shows how the people are a kind of eclectic group kind of pushed together and pulled apart in this walled off land. Wim Wenders gives a lot of behind the scenes info in the angels among us section of the DVD. Wim Wenders' director's commentary is priceless. Read more ›
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122 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artistic, Poetic, Sublime! July 26, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I'll confess that I've had problems in the past getting into some of Wenders' films. Many go too over the deep end on the existential and intellectual elements and result in my ending up feeling alienated. This film, however, leaves one feeling connected to the entire world plus infinity. There is an inspiring romance (in German cinema no less!) between angel turned-to-mortal Bruno Ganz and a beautiful circus performer. Before he becomes a mortal, there are wonderful moments of him and the other angels standing guard over us mortals, listening and watching us. I felt as if I were immersed in an epic poem in those scenes. This film is also beautiful, flowing like a painting and done in a mixture of black & white plus color. There are wonderful acting moments throughout by the entire cast but especially by Bruno Ganz and Peter Falk. I haven't seen Ganz in a role this good since he played the Count in "The Marquise of O" for Fassbinder. I tried watching the American remake of this movie, "City Of Angels" with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan and couldn't bear watching what we (Americans) had done to this Cannes' award winner. Well worth owning, this film can be watched over and over, just like any great piece of art.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profoundly Beautiful! April 17, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is a one of a kind cinematic experience, it's like nothing you've ever seen. Inspired, poetic, lyrical, mystical, beautiful, touching, all this and more, and yet the description of this movie is hard to put into words. The premise is excellent; the adventures of angels hovering over Berlin. Beautiful black & white and color imagery. The poetic dialogue is profound and beautiful, the whole cast is priceless especially Bruno Ganz and Peter Falk. Expert direction by Wim Wenders. Beautiful movie about angelic romance and has a way of reminding us of what we have and of being more grateful that we are living, it makes you ask yourself questions, and some are mentioned in the film; "Why am I me, and why not you, why am I here and why not there, where does space end and where does time begin. Truly a one of a king movie. From a scale of 1-10 I give this movie a 10!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A poetic meditation on existence and human condition
I am writing this after my second viewing. The movie is a successful piece of art in many levels: photography, storytelling, acting and simple yet smooth transition between scenes. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Kafishna
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Film
This is one of my favorite films of all time. Its a beautiful film and I recommend anyone that hasn't seen it to do so. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Breanna_Elise
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Wim Wenders film
I just float along when I watch this movie (my most recent viewing was my 3rd or 4th) Wim Wenders' films can be hypnotic at their best and this is probably my favorite of his.
Published 4 months ago by kbnewman
5.0 out of 5 stars NASTASSIA KINSKY-NICK CAVE-PETER FALK (COLUMBO)--BRUNO GANZ-CURT BOIS-...
One of the best movies I have seen in years. Important as a time capsule for Berlin. Just one example, Alexanderplatz before speculator scum developed it into a juke box. . Read more
Published 4 months ago by yuri_nahl
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow-paced, subtitled, study of the human-angel condition
If you like slow-paced, subtitled, mostly black & white, studies of the human-angel condition - this movie is for you. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Older version of City of Angels
I do not usually review movies, but I did love this movie. I only watched it because I was inspired by a newer version of it, City of Angels with Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Solana Tara, Author
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST EXISTENTIAL FILMS EVER
That's saying something, as most films have an existential theme/element - at least leitmotif. Jump in, it's now or never,....
Published 4 months ago by Kristin L Seekircher
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking if it doesn't put you to sleep
While "Wings of Desire" is a genuine work of art, gently crafted, well conceived, beautifully acted - it's slower than molasses on a cold day, and if you're an impatient... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Janis Hendler
4.0 out of 5 stars Wings of Desire
Wing N' Things

Movie had many nuances that kept you engaged. I liked Peter Falk, and Damiel especially his soulful eyes. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Robin S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best movie ever
One of my two favorite movies. You can see the Nick Cage remake, which is very good for American audiences. But why not see the original. Read more
Published 6 months ago by A. Steinke
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Defective Disc?
Yeah, me too. It's really annoying - I finally got around to watching it today, and it's screwed up.
Dec 17, 2009 by Ryan Felts |  See all 4 posts
seeking cool international DVDs
As to French, I'd highly recommend Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring. I also enjoyed My Father's Glory, and My Mother's Castle.

From Spain, I enjoyed Tristana, and Open Your Eyes.

My concentration is Asia, and I very much enjoyed Be With You, Heaven's Bookstore, Coquille, Yomigaeri... Read more
Nov 2, 2009 by C. G. Mercer |  See all 2 posts
Subtitles for English/Deaf on Wings of Desire Blu Ray? Be the first to reply
WWII theme in Wings of Desire Be the first to reply
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