Heaven Can Wait parents guide

Heaven Can Wait Parent Guide

What do you do when death calls you home too early?

Overall B-

Life has a plan, always a plan. But for Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty), the L.A. Rams rising star quarterback, that plan includes a few glitches.

Release date June 28, 1978

Violence B-
Sexual Content B-
Profanity C+
Substance Use C+

Why is Heaven Can Wait rated PG? The MPAA rated Heaven Can Wait PG

Run Time: 101 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Life has a plan, always a plan. But for Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty), the L.A. Rams rising star quarterback, that plan includes a few glitches.

Snatched from sure death moments before impact with a speeding car, Joe arrives at a paradisiacal way-station with a novice heavenly escort—forty-seven years too early. By the time the paperwork is sorted out, Joe’s body has been cremated and it’s up to the angelic Mr. Jordan (James Mason) to find him a replacement. Disgruntled with the options shown him, Joe is at last smitten by the pleas of a beautiful, young schoolteacher, Betty Logan (Julie Christie) who has come to appeal her town’s case against businessman Leo Farnsworth and his intentions to build a factory in their area. Convinced by Mr. Jordan that as Farnsworth he can help Betty, Joe steps into the dead man’s drugged cadaver before it’s discovered.

Certain of their plot to kill her husband; Mrs. Farnsworth’s (Dian Cannon) respite in a stiff drink is shattered when a very lively Farnsworth bounds into the office. The hysterical woman is hustled out of the way by her accomplice lover, Farnsworth’s personal assistant, so they can devise another attack on the unlucky millionaire. Joe, while pursuing the English educator and coaching a company besieged with lawsuits, chases his NFL dream by shaping up his loaner body for a tryout with the Rams. (He secured this opportunity by having enough cash to buy the team.) But with only hours remaining until he suits up for the big game, Joe’s borrowed physique is recalled leaving him bodiless once again.

Directing, as well as starring in Heaven Can Wait, Beatty plays an upbeat, health conscious athlete who dashes through the stuffy halls of the Farnsworth’s estate, disdains the injustices of big business and just wants to play football. While the depiction of an adulterous wife and mild profanities penalize this movie, families with older children may find this Hail Mary story of chasing your destiny despite heavenly fumbles, worthy of some real first down yardage.

Directed by Warren Beatty, Buck Henry. Starring Warren Beatty, James Mason, Julie Christie. Running time: 101 minutes. Theatrical release June 28, 1978. Updated

Heaven Can Wait
Rating & Content Info

Why is Heaven Can Wait rated PG? Heaven Can Wait is rated PG by the MPAA

Overall: B-
The infidelity of a tippler and her lover, along with moderate profanities blemish a story otherwise redeemed by the good guy qualities of a man bent on achieving his life dream of playing in the Super Bowl.

Violence: B-
Accident between cyclist and car heard but not seen; man shown restraining screaming woman, mirror over bed drops but misses intended victim, high-powered rifle used to shoot character in the back, shot heard and character falls into garden well.

Sexual Content: B-
Clothed, unmarried couple shown in bed numerous times, kissing between unmarried couple in bedroom, kissing scene in garden between Joe and Betty.

Language: C+
At least: Eight moderate profanities, four mild profanities, eleven terms of Deity

Alcohol / Drug Use: C+
Football coach shown smoking, nervous wife depicted drinking to relieve stress, drinks shown with dinner, man poisoned in bathtub, football players spray each other with champagne.

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Heaven Can Wait Parents' Guide

After inviting the press and others into the company’s board meeting, Joe gives the executives a pep talk on being “popular players” and not making mistakes when they are on a winning streak. Do you think that big businesses are concerned about the impact that they have on others? Does Joe’s advice make good business sense?

Often when a close-up shot of Betty is shown, her eyes are highlighted with a soft light. How can the use of light emphasize different moods in movies?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Down to Earth , released in 2001, is a remake of this film.