Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death) Reviews

Page 1 of 32
½ February 4, 2019
A near perfect movie. A great premise, well acted (bar the woman from Boston with a cut-glass British accent).
½ December 16, 2018
The first fifteen minutes of this film is one of the best opening scenes to any film I have seen. With a brilliant (and fun) premise, this movie goes plenty of strange and enticing places. A propaganda film made from the heart, with beautiful and unbelievable sequences of fantasy and space. Heaven is well crafted and brought to life with such thoughtfulness. It also is absurdly progressive and preaches a really interesting message. This movie was funded by the UK to help relations between Britain and the US, and it delivers on that promise without ever being too much.
November 20, 2018
Beautiful and impressive drama which is moving, life affirming and thoughtful. David Niven is a charming star and directing team Powell and Pressburger do their usual great job.
½ February 10, 2018
One of the best movies that most do not know about. This is the film that put me onto Powell and Pressburger. 1001 movies to see before you die.
December 28, 2017
1946 'fantasy' starring David Niven as a World War II pilot, Peter Carter who falls in love with an American radio operator (Kim Hunter).
Trouble is the pilot's Lancaster bomber has just been shot mid air and he has had to make an exit from the aircraft without the aid of a parachute.
In reality Niven's character should be dead and going to a heavenly world. However remarkably he somehow survives and falls in love with the radio operator in person.
The pen pushers in Heaven have made an arithmetic error it appears and deem it there task to send Carter to Heaven.
What follows is a trial where it is to be decided if Carter is to go to Heaven now or be allowed to live the rest of his life living on earth.
The film was titled Stairway To Heaven for it's U.S. release. The title coming from some of the remarkable set design including what appears to be a massive stairway to heaven.
The earth scenes are shot in glorious Technicolor however those in Heaven are monochrome.
The film is also notable for its use of great sets such as the heavenly court with an apparent audience of hundreds and freeze frames throughout the film.
The film also has a U.S.-U.K. relationship story that comes to the fore in the court scenes.
Interesting ideas in a pre-digital era.
December 28, 2017
High concept matched by exceptional execution. Stonewall classic.
½ August 1, 2017
I've never heard of this film before 2017. I began to watch it because I liked the actor or David Niven. I've never quite seen another film like it ? although in some ways it reminds me of Citizen Kane.

The cast is universally excellent. The story is moving and fascinating in its journey between real life and heaven. The directing and art production are amazing. There are few films which have such visually arresting scenes.
½ June 30, 2017
Visually interesting and definitely the kind of film that they don't make anymore, but not exactly my cup of tea--rather dated.
½ April 18, 2017
It is the final heavenly court room scene that allows this fine film to transcend the sentimental romance. Such a statement on the wonders of love has rarely been made more powerfully in film.
March 12, 2017
Very deep and complex movie let alone innovative. In the course of the film you remember with astonishment that this a 1946 movie. Very daring movie with many layers of different themes that seamlessly interweave into the one whole.
February 27, 2017
Started good, but then devolved into utter crap.
½ January 7, 2017
Wonderful movie with a fantastic, poetic ending. A true love. The acting was good and the story was great. It was a bit cheesy at times though.
August 31, 2016
A Matter of Life and Death is the grandfather of British cinema, a film you can watch no matter the time, place or mood and you'll come away feeling on top of the world every time. A classic in every sense of the word.
May 18, 2016
It Would Do Well To Have A CGi-Beefed-Up Remake..But As It Stands, The Classic Matinée Style Makes It A Lovely Little Gem. Overall It Is Good, But There Sits In There Some Really Boring Bits & A Few Bizarre Takes On Things, That Really, Just Made Me Laugh At The Crumminess. It Needed To Go A Little More Sci-Fi & A Lot Less Cheesy Romance.
April 15, 2016
A Matter of Life and Death is filled with hypnotic, beautiful images, and ingenious, sharp dialogue, but the most amazing of all is its pure, enthusiastic imagination.
March 13, 2016
I loved this film from Master filmmakers Powell & Pressburger. Martin Scorsese is also a big fan. Shot in gorgeous Technicolor with some parts in B&W. It's an interesting fantasy story, a pilot survives a plane crash. turns out he should've died, but he survived and must pleas his case in Heaven not to be taken. Shortly before the crash, he connected and fell in love with his radio operator. The production design is outstanding, one of the best parts of it. I will certainly watch this one again!
January 3, 2016
I really haven't seen very many of director Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger films, but I was very impressed with this tale of an injured WWII RAF pilot, David Niven, who's is caught between life and death. Much of the film takes place in Heaven, where the heavenly administrators try to convince Niven that his time is up, while earthly doctors try to save him. Earth is in vibrant color and heaven is in an ethereal black and white. Now having watched this film, I wonder if Wim Wenders borrowed this aesthetic for his equally magical story of heaven and angels, "Wings of Desire." Characters in the film are warm and real, but the real knockout for me was the black and white impressionistic visual style for the scenes when Niven is in heaven. I missed it in the opening credits, but when I went back to look, the film was shot by one of the all-time great cinematographers, Jack Cardiff, who shot some unabashed classics like "The Red Shoes" or "The African Queen" to modern films that really popped visually like "Rambo: First Blood Part II" or "Conan the Destroyer." Also appearing in the film are Kim Hunter (who I'd never seen as a young actress and is quite glamorous), Raymond Massey and Richard Attenborough. Overall, I was very taken with this film and think this will be the first in a binge watching marathon on Powell & Pressburger films.
December 19, 2015
Quite brilliant, anyone who doesn't enjoy this film I don't want to know!
½ November 30, 2015
A pilot cheats death & must now defend his second chance before a celestial court in this romantic propaganda fantasy made in bold Technicolor by the timeless Powell/Pressburger team.
½ November 24, 2015
Watching this classic more than half a decade later (for the first time on screen), it's obvious that its visual and conceptual creativity are way ahead of its time. The same cannot be said, however, about the stereotypical acting, ranging from David Niven's stiff upper lip English toff to Marius Goring's fay French aristocratic toff; and the sometimes overstating and long-winded writing in the last act of the film. Where there is no doubt or argument though, is the masterly and awe-inspiring direction and production from the stars of the film: Powell and Pressburger.
Page 1 of 32