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Made in Heaven

Made in Heaven title card

Year - 1987
Studio - Lorimar
Stars - Timothy Hutton, Kelly McGillis, Maureen Stapleton, Amanda Plummer, Tim Daly, Don Murray, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Debra Winger (uncredited), Ellen Barkin (uncredited)
Director - Alan Rudolph
Writing Credits - Bruce A. Evans, Raymond Gideon (screenplay)
Music - Mark Isham


When Mike Shea (Timothy Hutton) loses his job and his girlfriend, he drives off for a new life in California. But he comes upon a car that has gone over a bridge, and dives in to rescue the occupants. He saves a mother and two children, but drowns.

He is met in Heaven by his Aunt Lisa (Maureen Stapleton) who explains that to travel anywhere or to anyone in Heaven, he must only imagine it. He makes his first attempt to find a friend killed in the war, but ends up at a wrong house. A beautiful girl, Annie Packert (Kelly McGillis), at the piano, introduces herself as a Guide, and volunteers to give him a tour. As they are walking, she tells him that she has never been on Earth, but was born in Heaven, but will likely be reborn there one day.

Made in Heaven poster

The "man in charge", Emmett Humbird (Debra Winger), a red-haired chain smoker with a facial tic, introduces himself to Mike and he elaborates on the workings of Heaven.

They fall in love and are married in Heaven, but very shortly after Annie is taken away to be reborn on Earth, as Ally Chandler. Mike implores Emmett to allow him to be reborn as well. Emmett at first declines but changes his mind and agrees to allow Mike twenty years to find Annie/Ally, then negotiates himself up to thirty years.

Mike is reborn as Elmo Barnett in the same city as Ally, but neither have any memory of their Heavenly existence. Ally is raised by a wealthy family in the toy manufacturing business and Ally, as she grows up, becomes an executive in that company. She marries Tom Donnelly (Tim Dally) an aspiring film director. They move to California, but he only finds work making commercials. They separate when his ego can't accept her success and his perceived failure.

Meanwhile, Elmo drifts through his new life without purpose or a career goal, and gets involved in small time criminal activity. Elmo and Ally's paths cross on a couple of occasions, but there is no contact or recognition. Elmo decides to hitchhike to California, and is eventually offered a ride by an older couple who turn out to be Mike's parents, and who are struck by Elmo's resemblance to their dead son. Seeing Elmo staring at a trumpet in a store window, Mike's father buys it for him.

In California, Elmo spends all his time practicing on the trumpet and eventually puts together a successful band, his life finally coming together.

On his 30th birthday, Elmo walks a Los Angeles street and encounters Ally, and they both experience a spiritual connection. Elmo finds himself back in Heaven where Emmett confirms that he's found her, and Mike and Annie are allowed to resume their celestial marriage.

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