Heaven Can Wait

Synopsis: Joe Pendleton is a football quarterback preparing to lead his team to the Superbowl when he is almost killed in an accident. An overanxious angel plucks him to heaven only to discover that he was not ready to die, and that his body has been cremated. Another body must be found without his death being discovered, and that of a recently murdered millionaire is chosen. His wife and accountant, the murderers, are confused by this development, as he buys the Los Angeles Rams in order to once again quarterback them into the Superbowl. At the same time, he falls in love with an English environmental activist who disapproves of his policies and actions.
Production: Paramount Home Video
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

Break! Let's move it.

20! 29!

All right. You take the inside.

On this one,

you take the inside. 54...

Ready, set...


Back! Throw! Throw! Throw the ball!

Touchdown, Joe.

- Looking good, isn't he?

- What?

Pendleton. He's looking awful good.

Fall into it.

All right. Come on, baby.

Set... Hike!

Good movement.

Let's try it again.

Go deep.


He's looking awful good.

Here we go.

Hustle back, hustle back.

Come on, guys. Come on.

Opposite left, play past 35.

X-curl on 1.

Ready? Break.

4-3, set!

- Play past 29...

- 2-81!

Pass! Pass! Pass!

Ball! Ball! Ball!

Once again, we had a foul-up

on that scrimmage.

The fullback has been

slow on his block.

The guard almost ran into him.

We got to do it till it's right.

Formation left. Screen right on 2.

Ready? Break!

Right, left! Right, left!




Looking awful good.

I'm thinking of starting him

on Sunday.

- What about Jarrett?

- Pendleton's looking better.


Pass! Pass! Pass!

Ball! Ball! Ball!

- Is he still on cortisone?

- No.

Any kind of painkiller?

- Nothing.

- He's looking awful good.


Ball! Ball! Ball!

I never saw a knee like that

heal without surgery.

- He's looking awful good.

- Looking good.

Thanks a lot.

- Oh, hi, Joe. How's the knee?

- Good.

What do you think

of the Rams' chances?

We're going to the Super Bowl to win.

- No, off the record.

- Off the record?

We're going to the Super Bowl to win.

- Sure. What about your competition?

- Competition?

- Jarrett.

- My competition's 25 other teams.


- Yeah!

- How you doing?

What's in this brown stuff?

Oh, that's mainly whipped liver.

- Liver?

- Yep.

I put a little whey in it, then mix

it with a little alfalfa sprouts,

and some bean curd, and spinach.

It's nice, isn't it?

It's a liver and whey shake.

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday, dear Joe

Happy birthday to you

I didn't think anybody knew.

Thanks for coming, Max.

- Put it here.

- I hope you have a lot more.

Thank you. That's...

What's this?


You know something?

At my age, in any other business,

I'd be young.

Look at it this way...

Soon you can get into another

business and have a real life.


I don't know what that means.

This is the only business I know

that's real. I'm stuck.

What do you mean, stuck?

I've been working my whole life

to get a chance

to do something, and...

I don't know if I'm ever going

to get a chance to do it.

- No, it's all right.

- I'll fix your neck.

- Don't do that, Joe.

- Wait a minute.

- How's that?

- Oh, boy. Yeah.

It scares the hell out of me

every time you do that.

If you don't watch how your trapezius

goes into your deltoids,

you're going to throw off your entire

cervical and your lumbar areas.

Since I'm the only guy

knows how to fix that,

- you should listen to me.

- Maybe you should trade places.

You be the trainer.

I'll start on Sunday.

Yeah... what?

- I'm starting against Dallas?

- Yeah.

They don't want Jarrett.

They want you.

Happy birthday, Joe.

Hey, my watch stopped.

It keeps flashing the same time.

I'm dreaming, huh?

Well, I...


This is an aeroplane dream.

I forget what they mean.

I think they're a good sign.

Mr Pendleton.

Mr Pendleton, you must wait for me.

I'm your escort.

Wait for me, please, Mr Pendleton.

The end of the line,

Mr Pendleton, please.

Hi. How you doing? You want

to hear a little music?

- You have to wait in line.

- What? This is my dream, isn't it?

You mustn't get out of line. Really!

- Chamberlain, Paul R.

- All right.

I've brought the final passenger.

This manifest is complete.

- Hi.

- You cannot board before your turn.

I don't need a turn.

I'm not boarding.

You don't understand. This is not

your ultimate destination.

That will take you to it.

I'm not going. I'm going to run

around till I wake up.

I'm afraid I haven't fully explained

how this system is organised.

The rules derive from yours -

a product of your image and that

of those who share your image.

Violate the rules, the principles...

You want to see a trick?

I do this to keep

my abductor pollicis limber.

I don't have a lot of patter with it.

Feel that. That's a 50-cent piece.

I just throw that

into that hand, you see.

I say the magic words, abracadabra.

And then presto, it's gone.

Now, you probably think

I still have it.

You're wrong, cos I can see it

coming out of your ear.

That's the only trick I know.

- Mr Pendleton!

- Gentlemen?

Gentlemen, what's the delay?

We've received a new arrival

who refuses to board.

That's impossible. Have you

explained the rules to him?

- Yes, sir.

- Quite clearly?

- Yes, sir.

- And what was his rebuttal?

He took a coin out of my ear.

Did he? Perhaps I should

have a word with him.

Yes, sir. Mr Pendleton!

He's right over there, sir.

- Mr Pendleton!

- Yeah. Hey, you can call me Joe.

How you doing?

Mr Pendleton,

do you know where you are?

I'm in the middle

of a really weird dream.

- You see the problem?

- Joe, come here.

Look at me and listen carefully

to what I'm saying.


- This is not a dream.

- Yeah.

Life has a certain quality all its

own, a certain feeling. So do dreams.

You know that this is not life,

and you know now

that this is not a dream.

This is a place that comes

after life and after dreams.

I'm sure you'll aware of that

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Elaine May

Elaine Iva May (née Berlin; born April 21, 1932) is an American screenwriter, film director, actress, and comedienne. She made her initial impact in the 1950s from her improvisational comedy routines with Mike Nichols, performing as Nichols and May. After her duo with Nichols ended, May subsequently developed a career as a director and screenwriter. Her screenwriting has been twice nominated for the Academy Award, for Heaven Can Wait (1978) and the Nichols-directed Primary Colors (1998). May is celebrated for the string of films she directed in the 1970s: her 1971 black comedy A New Leaf, in which she also starred; her 1972 dark romantic comedy The Heartbreak Kid; and her 1976 gritty drama Mikey and Nicky, starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk. In 1996, she reunited with Nichols to write the screenplay for The Birdcage, directed by Nichols. After studying acting with theater coach Maria Ouspenskaya in Los Angeles, she moved to Chicago in 1955 and became a founding member of the Compass Players, an improvisational theater group. May began working alongside Nichols, who was also in the group, and together they began writing and performing their own comedy sketches, which were enormously popular. In 1957 they both quit the group to form their own stage act, Nichols and May, in New York. Jack Rollins, who produced most of Woody Allen's films, said their act was "so startling, so new, as fresh as could be. I was stunned by how really good they were."They performed nightly to mostly sold-out shows, in addition to making TV appearances and radio broadcasts. In their comedy act, they created satirical clichés and character types which made fun of the new intellectual, cultural, and social order that was just emerging at the time. In doing so, she was instrumental in removing the stereotype of women being unable to succeed at live comedy. Together, they became an inspiration to many younger comedians, including Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin. After four years, at the height of their fame, they decided to discontinue their act. May became a screenwriter and playwright, along with acting and directing. Their relatively brief time together as comedy stars led New York talk show host Dick Cavett to call their act "one of the comic meteors in the sky." Gerald Nachman noted that "Nichols and May are perhaps the most ardently missed of all the satirical comedians of their era." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Heaven Can Wait" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 30 May 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/heaven_can_wait_9771>.

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