Angels in Hollywood


There's a new movie coming out in January called Legion starring Paul Bettany as the Archangel Michael who rebels against Heaven to save mankind from the Apocalypse.  This is not the first time Hollywood has tried to tell a story about angels.  Here are some of the most memorable from movies and television. 

It's a Wonderful Life - Frank Capra's classic features Henry Travers as Clarence, the angel trying to earn his wings by saving the life of the suicidal George Bailey (played by James Stewart in what I consider to be his greatest role).  You can't top this.  "Every time a bell rings..."

Highway to Heaven - This was a great series, even with its sappy storylines.  Michael Landon played Jonathan Smith, an angel trying to earn his wings by doing good deeds on Earth with his human sidekick Mark Gordon played by the gruff but goodnatured Victor French. 

Angels in America - Based on the epic play by Tony Kushner, this metaphor about the AIDS epidemic during the 1980s featured an all-star cast: Patrick Wilson, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker, James Cromwell, and others.

City of Angels - Not as good as the original Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders, this was still a decent film starring Nicolas Cage, Meg Ryan, Andre Braugher, and Dennis Franz.  The soundtrack was superb!

Supernatural - The TV series in which the Winchester brothers battle monsters (read my earlier blog entry) has gotten even better with its mythology about a war between angels and demons with humans caught in the middle.

Michael - John Travolta plays a fallen angel with major human imperfections in this Nora Ephron movie.   The big flaw in my opinion was the horrible performance by William Hurt. 

The Prophecy - This series of movies starred Christopher Walken as a dark Gabriel in all his cheesy glory.  The first one was a solid b-movie, the rest were garbage.

Dogma - Kevin Smith gave us this irreverent look at religion with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as angels, George Carlin as a cardinal, and Alanis Morrisette as God.  Really, what more can I say?

Fallen - This underrated television mini-series had some great moments.  A teenager discovers that he's half-angel and must come to terms with his powers as he's drawn into the war between Heaven and Hell.

There are others, like Constantine with Keanu Reeves and Tilda Swinton as the angel Gabriel; Saving Grace with Holly Hunter getting guidance from Leon Rippy as the heavenly Earl; various versions of Heaven Can Wait (my favorite is the one with Warren Beatty); the goofy baseball flick Angels in the Outfield with Danny Glover, Tony Danza, and Christopher Lloyd; What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams; The Preacher's Wife starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston; the stupid Teen Angel; and many others.

Let me know if you have any favorites I haven't mentioned.

Comments

MediumRob said…
Touched by Angel had a (very few) moments. There was an angel in one episode of Millennium's first season, to good effect. But surely Babylon 5 has the best take on angels... ;-)
Carolyn said…
Hi Nick - I'm always on the lookout for fellow It's a Wonderful Life fans. I wrote a song called George Bailey, would love for you to check it out via my website below. Best of luck with everything...

Carolyn Sills
www.carolynsills.com