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on May 10, 2017
I watched this after one of my professors from last semester recommended it when I told her I was going to be in Berlin this summer. While it is a cold-war era movie, it really shows off the city and the people who live there. The movie also has literary value, and I realized while I was watching it, that my professor (English department) was challenging me (a science major) to look beyond the obvious and ask questions such as "what is desire?" and "How does the use of color reflect desire?"
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VINE VOICEon April 28, 2008
Like my title suggests, `Der Himmel uber Berlin' is a film of intensely angelic proportions; a film that is the visual equivalent of a thousand beautiful strokes of the pen. Watching `Der Himmel uber Berlin' is a treat for the eyes as well as the mind. It has been hailed as Wim Wenders finest film, and while I have not seen many of his other films I must say that this would be a hard film to top. If you are only aware of the Hollywood remake of this movie (i.e. `City of Angels') then you are in for an unexpected treat, for Wenders original is a far cry from the Cage/Ryan film. This is not to be seen as a knock of `City of Angels', which just so happens to be a personal favorite of mine, but it is meant to inform you that `Der Himmel uber Berlin' is a masterpiece whereas `City of Angels' is merely a great film.

The film opens in beautiful sepia as angel Damiel watches over the city of Berlin. In fact the majority of this film is Damiel and fellow angel Cassiel walking about the city, listening to the thoughts of the men and women groping for meaning in their lives. One of the earliest sequences scales the apartments within one building, allowing us to hear what the angels hear, and it's this scene that really told me all I needed to know. This film is going to unlike anything I've ever seen before.

`Der Himmel uber Berlin' tells the story of Damiel, an angel who longs to experience the pleasures of life in the flesh, as a human, tasting the sweet air and seeing the vibrant colors, feeling the soft breathe of another and tasting their skin. As he walks the city he contemplates all that he is missing and dreams of one day forsaking his eternal forever for a chance at mortal happiness. Then his eyes fall upon the beautiful Marion, a lonely trapeze artist who captures Damiel's heart instantly. Now his longing to be a part of her world is stronger than ever and as the film draws to a close he has to make the most important decision of his life.

The idea of angels forsaking their heavenly home for the affections of women is not entirely new and or original; for if you remember, that did happen in the Bible, but what Wenders does with `Der Himmel uber Berlin' is make that action honorable, beautiful even. This film paints a vastly different picture than that of Biblical accounts. There is no adverse affects to the angels decision to leave his rightful home, just new experiences and a chance at love and `life'. What this film lacks in dramatic tension (`City of Angels' created its own) it makes up for in artistic beauty (something `City of Angels' didn't attempt to capture). `Der Himmel uber Berlin', as I mentioned, is intoxicating to watch. The sepia in which the majority of the film is shot (to capture the angels muted state) is rich and magnificent, even more so than the colors that flood Damiel's eyes upon becoming `human'. The words spoken (or should I say `thought') by the cast of characters are graceful and meaningful, words that stay with the viewer and incite him to contemplation.

The acting is also beautiful orchestrated. Bruno Ganz is flawless as Damiel, capturing his loneliness, his longing and eventually his overwhelming joy. I have never been a fan of Cage and honestly feel that his one-note performances drag down the films he inhabits. The same can be said for `City of Angels' (which thrives on Meg Ryan's magnificent performance) but nothing of the sort can be said for Ganz who embodies Damiel with believable perfection. Solveig Dommartin is effortless as Marion, the epitome of searching, an individual longing to be found by something deserving of her affections. Otto Sander delivers superbly as Cassiel and Peter Falk (who plays himself in an interesting twist) gives a very honest and tender performance.

In the end it is Wim Wenders whose star shines the brightest though. His direction is effortless and beautiful. He creates an intoxicating masterpiece that will be hard to top. `Der Himmel uber Berlin' is a strange and unique journey, but it is a journey well worth taking. Allow yourself to be carried away by its poetry; I promise you will be richly rewarded.
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on February 5, 2017
Bruno Ganz is believable as an angel.
Peter Falk was a treasure.
I enjoy the music each time, and will probably watch it again in the future.
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on May 29, 2001
This is one of the most original and unusual movies you'll ever view. Discovering this movie was a sychronistic event indeed. I went to Blockbuster Video one evening without having any idea about what to watch...but, as I love Peter Falk and was unfamiliar with this particular role, I decided to give Wing's of Desire a try. From the first few seconds of this movie I knew I was about to experience something new and profound.

The voice over of German actor and star, Bruno Ganz, is hypnotic as is the soundtrack which matches the metaphysical theme of this movie perfectly. The movie asks the universal questions: What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Why am I ME and not YOU? Why does one person appreciate their life, while another throws it away? The questions, and even some of the answers,are beautifully illustrated through the eyes of two angel's as they follow and guide their human charges. When the audience "sees" through the eyes of the angels, everything is shown in black and white. When the audience views the action through the eyes of the humans...all is in vivid color.

The story takes an unexpected turn when Bruno Ganz begins to fall in love with a beautiful woman who works for a traveling circus who has called to him through her dreams. Now, the questions become his: Will he remain an angel and immortal, or will he become human and face what all humans face?And is love worth it?

This plot alone would be enough to make the movie well worth the watching, but the added subplots really make this movie a gem. Peter Falk plays...well, Peter Falk...but, with a real suprise twist near the end that will grab you. There is also an elderly Jewish "story teller" who drifts in and out of the movie, adding another rich dimension to this already multi-layered cinematic dessert.

Admittedly, this will not be everyones cup-of-tea. If you can't stand subtitles for one, stay away. This movie is so ingrossing, however, that I suspect you will forget that you are even reading. There are a lot of twists and turns that will make you use your brain cells, but if you like that sort of thing, then you will love this movie.

I place this film in my top 10 all time favorites list. You will either love it, or it will leave you absolutely cold. This is not a movie anyone could possibly feel neutral about. It generates very strong feelings from those who view it. My strong feeling? Wing's of Desire is a masterpiece...pure and simple. Do yourself...not to mention, your brain cells...a favor. Buy this movie, or at the least rent it, then decide for yourself. My hunch is that you will agree with the majority and give it an enthusiastic thumbs up.
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on October 15, 2014
The love of my life and I were talking a few days ago about "City of Angels." She recommended that I see this one. It is a German film. There is a strong plot that builds to the end of the film. Unlike City of Angels, this one has a happy ending. At the close the "Angel" becomes the story teller as he shares the secret of a fulfilled life. This film makes the Hollywood version look like amateur work. If you can speak German, the film is ever better, however the English subtitles are excellent translations of the dialogue. It is an amazing film.
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on July 18, 2016
This is a fascinating contemporaneous statement, but while I enjoyed it as a Berliner and a child of that post-war period, my wife did not quite get into it. A must for anyone who is into history of film and post-war film making.
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on January 6, 2017
An old favorite. Sharing with a friend! The inspiration for "City of Angels."
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on January 2, 2017
I hadn't seen this film in years so was excited to watch it again. It's as beautiful as I remembered.
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on April 1, 2016
I liked this original movie but still enjoy the remake of it as well....
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on July 18, 2016
A very strange movie, interesting photography but overly long. I was intrigued by the recitation, in German, of the poem "When the Child was a Child", which I had heard in an English version in a piece by Van Morrison. I googled it, and discovered that it was, in fact, written by Peter Handke.
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