Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death)
Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death) (1947)

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: January 23, 1947
DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
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Critic Score: 95% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

What today's audiences will find amazing is the sheer energy of its invention.

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Christopher Lloyd
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Although it's undeniably a great-looking film, I just found A Matter of Life and Death to be too harebrained to take seriously as a piece of important cinema.

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Felix Gonzalez Jr.
DVD Review

In spite of its thematic bleakness, A Matter of Life and Death succeeds in being a sparkling fantasy picture ....

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MFB Critics
Monthly Film Bulletin

In short, a brilliant experiment which will probably be enjoyed by many and appreciated only by a few.

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Aaron Cutler
Slant Magazine

Though the writer-directors and the actors may be the first names you notice, the cameraman also helped A Matter of Life and Death become one of the most moving movies ever made.

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Sean Axmaker
Parallax View

(The filmmakers') creativity is both fantastic and organic, their imagery spellbinding and gorgeous, and their scripting clever and witty.

Fr. Chris Carpenter
Movie Dearest

Beautifully directed, designed (especially the massive, working escalator that links Heaven and Earth), photographed and acted, it is a must-see for both classic and contemporary film buffs.

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Christopher Null

The duo put so much care and love into the film that in the end we know they're right: Love really is the greatest of all virtues.

Steve Crum

Pretty bizarre fantasy set in WWII era starring David Niven.

Flixster Audience Score: 93% Flixster User Reviews
Reid Volk
A lament for the dead and an exquisite fairy tale for the living. I would have loved to have been a Brit in the time when this movie was released. Rarely do you… More
Stephen M
The most beautiful, imaginative and ambitious fantasy film ever made. Everyone should see it. Originally commissioned to improve Anglo-American relations at the… More
Jonathan Hutchings
Yet another magnificent, beautiful film from the Archers. I'm starting to run out of ways to properly convey the genius of Powell/Pressburger's… More
Lesley N
Jolly good stiff upper lip British black and white, as David Niven argues with a heavenly court about his right to return to earth. HIs logic - an angel messed… More
Cassandra Maples
To me A Matter of Life and Death is just that- simply the best film ever made. From beginning to end it oozes class. It is stimulating, thought provoking, a… More
Grifty G
David Niven is a WWII pilot who should have died when his plane went down, and has to convince a jury in the afterlife to let him have a pass on death to stay… More