104 user 39 critic

Heaven Can Wait (1978)

A Los Angeles Rams quarterback, accidentally taken away from his body by an overanxious angel before he was meant to die, returns to life in the body of a recently murdered millionaire.


Elaine May (screenplay), Warren Beatty (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Warren Beatty ... Joe Pendleton
Julie Christie ... Betty Logan
James Mason ... Mr. Jordan
Jack Warden ... Max Corkle
Charles Grodin ... Tony Abbott
Dyan Cannon ... Julia Farnsworth
Buck Henry ... The Escort
Vincent Gardenia ... Krim
Joseph Maher ... Sisk
Hamilton Camp ... Bentley
Arthur Malet ... Everett
Stephanie Faracy ... Corinne
Jeannie Linero Jeannie Linero ... Lavinia
Harry D.K. Wong Harry D.K. Wong ... Gardener
George J. Manos George J. Manos ... Security Guard


Joe Pendleton is a football quarterback preparing to lead his team to the Superbowl when he is almost killed in an accident. An overanxious angel plucks him to heaven only to discover that he was not ready to die, and that his body has been cremated. Another body must be found without his death being discovered, and that of a recently murdered millionaire is chosen. His wife and accountant, the murderers, are confused by this development, as he buys the Los Angeles Rams in order to once again quarterback them into the Superbowl. At the same time, he falls in love with an English environmental activist who disapproves of his policies and actions. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

28 June 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El cielo puede esperar See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,192,799, 2 July 1978, Limited Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bruce Kimmel has clarified confusion regarding the film's source stage play and the various cinema movies associated with it in some way: "Once upon a time there was a play by Harry Segall called 'Heaven Can Wait', written in 1938 and not produced on Broadway. Nevertheless, the film rights were bought and the resulting 1941 film, retitled Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), was a hit. This was followed by a 1943 Ernst Lubitsch film called Heaven Can Wait (1943) that had nothing to do with Mr. Segall, his play or Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). Then came Down to Earth (1947), starring Rita Hayworth, which was a sort of sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), bringing back the characters played by Edward Everett Horton and James Gleason, but not the central characters. That same year [actually late 1946], the Segall play finally made it to Broadway but under a different title, 'Wonderful Journey' - a production that ran only nine performances. Flash forward to 1978 - Paramount Pictures and Warren Beatty remake Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) but change the title back to Segall's original title, 'Heaven Can Wait'. Two years later comes Xanadu (1980), starring Olivia Newton-John, which was a sort of remake of Down to Earth (1947), the sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). Now jump to 2001 when Segall's 'Heaven Can Wait' is remade again, this time as Down to Earth (2001) starring Chris Rock - and having nothing to do with Down to Earth (1947), the sort of sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)". See more »


During the long scene at the wishing well, the wellhead alternates between being in sunshine and being in the shade. See more »


Joe Pendleton: It's alright. There's nothing to be afraid of.
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Entry of the Gladiators
By Julius Fucík (as Julius Fucik)
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User Reviews

A good comedy
16 May 2003 | by mm-39See all my reviews

This film is entertaining. I like Warren in this film, and the script is crazy enough that it works. There is a message about hope in this film, and we all need hope. Some parts of the film can be so funny, I like how they end it. This film ties all the lose ends up nicely. I remember the 78 and 79 Rams those were pretty good teams. 7 or 8 out of ten.

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