7.7/10
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Only Angels Have Wings (1939)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 25 May 1939 (USA)
At a remote South American trading port, the manager of an air freight company is forced to risk his pilots' lives in order to win an important contract.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writer:

Jules Furthman (screen play)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cary Grant ... Geoff Carter
Jean Arthur ... Bonnie Lee
Richard Barthelmess ... Bat MacPherson
Rita Hayworth ... Judy MacPherson
Thomas Mitchell ... Kid Dabb
Allyn Joslyn ... Les Peters
Sig Ruman ... Dutchy (as Sig Rumann)
Victor Kilian ... Sparks
John Carroll ... Gent Shelton
Don 'Red' Barry ... Tex (as Donald Barry)
Noah Beery Jr. ... Joe Souther
Manuel Álvarez Maciste Manuel Álvarez Maciste ... The Singer (as Maciste)
Milissa Sierra Milissa Sierra ... Lily
Lucio Villegas Lucio Villegas ... Doctor
Pat Flaherty ... Mike
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Storyline

When the ship San Luis makes a stop at the port of Barranca, to deliver mailbags and load bananas, cabaret singer Bonnie Lee leaves the boat for some hours to look around. She meets a gang of American flyers, who works for a warm-hearted Dutchman. He is the owner of a scrubby hotel, but also of the shaky Barranca Airways, lead by the tough flyer Geoff Carter. The only way to fly out of Barranca is through a deep pass at 14.000 feet above the ground. As the weather is often stormy and foggy, the flights are extremely difficult, and several flyers have already lost their lives. Bonnie falls in love with Geoff, who reminds her of her father, a trapeze artist who worked without safety net. She decides to leave the boat and stay at the hotel. But Geoff is scared of being detained by a woman. He wants to continue his risky lifestyle uninterrupted. The situation is aggravated when a new flyer, Bat MacPherson, turns up with his wife Judy. He once caused the death of a young flyer, by leaving ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Thundering DRAMA! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 May 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Howard Hawks' Only Angels Have Wings See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,180,000, 31 December 1939
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dutchy's statements about flying, "Include me out," is a quote from Samuel Goldwyn. It is one of many malapropisms attributed to him. See more »

Goofs

Toward the beginning of the movie, when Tex the lookout radio guy says, "OK, it's open," you can see the whole mountain range in the background slightly shift to the right. (Apparently, somebody was moving the set backdrop or bumped into it while the scene was being filmed.) See more »

Quotes

Bonnie Lee: [Watching a plane taking off in the fog] Oh, that's the most wonderful thing I've ever seen.
Geoff Carter: Yes, reminded you of a great, big, beautiful bird, didn't it?
Bonnie Lee: No, it didn't at all. That's why its so wonderful. Its really a flying human being.
Geoff Carter: Well, you're right about one thing. A bird would have too much sense to fly in that kinda muck.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Becoming Cary Grant (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Some of These Days
(1910) (uncredited)
Written by Shelton Brooks
Partially played on piano by Cary Grant and hummed and partially sung by John Carroll
Played on piano by Jean Arthur and accompanied by the restaurant band
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This film flies on Hawks' wings
22 February 1999 | by dabrams-2See all my reviews

For a remarkably compelling story about a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants airmail service in South America, director Howard Hawks has assembled a cast that includes Cary Grant as the airline's owner and Jean Arthur as a tourist stranded between boats who catches his eye. While the performances are all superb (especially Thomas Mitchell as the veteran pilot Kid), it is Hawks who turns a rather ordinary plot into an extraordinary film. Watch this movie for its visual style and atmospheric mood (note especially how Hawks fills the frame with actors while Arthur and Grant are sitting at the barroom piano), and be prepared for the ride of your life!


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