My fellow Beliefnet blogger Susan Gregg, has a new post about her favorite angel characters in movies and a link to a Beliefnet gallery about angels in movies and television in the past 20 years.
These are all good choices but of course I have to add some of my own recommendations, including some films from before 1990 as well. Claude Rains was a dapper angel assisting a boxer who was sent to heaven before his time in Here Comes Mr. Jordan, later remade with James Mason and Warren Beatty as Heaven Can Wait.
Spencer Tracy was a flier killed in a crash who came back as something between a ghost and an angel to help the woman he loved find love again in A Guy Named Joe, remade with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter as Always.
The most elegant angel in movie history had to be Cary Grant as Dudley in The Bishop’s Wife, gently helping an Episcopalian bishop remember that his priorities were his faith and his family, not the new cathedral. The remake, “The Preacher’s Wife,” stars Denzel Washington.
In “Wings of Desire,” angels observe rather than guide, and one of them finds heaven on earth.
Roy Scheider flirted with a sympathetic angel of death played by Jessica Lange in “All That Jazz.” In “A Matter of Life and Death” (sometimes called “Stairway to Heaven”) a dashing wartime aviator played by David Niven must argue for his life in a celestial court. In “Death Takes a Holiday,” Fredric March plays the Angel of Death who learns what it is that makes humans cling to life so dearly.
And don’t forget Clarence getting his wings at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” George Bailey was not the only one who had a happy ending.