Only Angels Have Wings

“In Only Angels Have Wings, Hawks returns to his personal genre of the airplane. By 1939, the notion of air pioneering would have seemed somewhat out of date in America. Consequently, Hawks expatriated his characters to a Central American banana republic where aviation was still in its primitive individualist stage.... Marking the end of an era, this is one of Hawks' finest films. Once again the themes of responsibility and expiation are applied to men striving to perform the impossible for purely gratuitous reasons. The film also introduced the latter-day Hawks heroine, the tough, wisecracking blonde.... The action-filled plot reiterated the Hawksian character relationships - the camaraderie and enmity of the fliers, the sexual antagonism which marks their attitude toward the pursuing women. This is the most romantic film of Hawks' career.” --Andrew Sarris.
“The best of Hawks' aviation films, the one in which the sense of peril is most evident.... Once again, the real peril is neither the Andes nor the miserable crates of the fliers, but woman. She is, along with nature (the bird at the end that breaks the plane's window) the source of all the catastrophes....” --Jean Douchet, trans. by Tim Hunter, Ivy Films

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.