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788 Ratings

Heaven Can Wait

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
United States, 1943
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy


Deceased playboy Henry Van Cleve presents himself to the outer offices of Hades, where he asks a bemused Satan for permission to enter the gates of hell. Henry proceeds to recount a lifetime of wooing and pursuing women, his long, happy marriage to Martha notwithstanding.

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Heaven Can Wait Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1944 | 3 nominations including: Best Picture

These acidic jokes are predictably mitigated by Lubitsch’s effervescent touch. Heaven Can Wait is possibly the director’s most downbeat film, darker in some respects to even To Be or Not to Be. But Lubitsch consistently finds ways to alleviate serious moments of romantic longing and feelings of betrayal.
August 22, 2018
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It’s felicitous, with HEAVEN CAN WAIT serving as a sort-of microcosm for his career, representing a gradual maturation from ribald preoccupations to contentment vis-à-vis settled domesticity… Above and beyond these accolades, or even the fact that his version of hell is so Lubitschian that it’s more endearing than it could possibly be foreboding, is the indefinable feeling that only a Lubitsch film can evoke—HEAVEN CAN WAIT does a devil of a job arousing it.
September 29, 2017
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Setting aside his usual corkscrew plotting to survey a life from start to finish, Lubitsch finds in the procession of life milestones one showcase after another for the graceful economy of his expression.
June 15, 2016
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