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Bishop's Wife

The Bishop's Wife

4.7 28
Director: Henry Koster

Cast: Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven


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When Episcopalian bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) prays for divine guidance in his efforts to raise the necessary funds for a new cathedral, his prayers are answered in the form of a handsome, personable guardian angel named Dudley (Cary Grant). Establishing himself as a Yuletide guest in the Brougham home, Dudley arouses the ire of Henry, who, unaware that his


When Episcopalian bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) prays for divine guidance in his efforts to raise the necessary funds for a new cathedral, his prayers are answered in the form of a handsome, personable guardian angel named Dudley (Cary Grant). Establishing himself as a Yuletide guest in the Brougham home, Dudley arouses the ire of Henry, who, unaware that his visitor is from Up Above, assumes that Dudley has designs on the bishop's wife Julia (Loretta Young). Eventually, the lives of both Henry and Julia are agreeably altered by the presence of the affable angel: He regains the "common touch" he'd almost lost, while she realizes anew how much she truly loves her husband. Adapted by Robert E. Sherwood and Robert Bercovicci from a novel by Robert Nathan, The Bishop's Wife was remade in 1996 as The Preacher's Wife, with Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston and Courtney B. Vance.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Ostensibly a fantasy, this gentle, warmhearted movie celebrates the innate human goodness that we all occasionally conceal from the world or avoid displaying, lest we be categorized as soft or weak. Hollywood movies, especially those from the "golden age" of the '30s and '40s, often perverted genuine emotions for the sake of story development, but the characters in The Bishop's Wife are portrayed with a profound humanity. The fanciful plot has an angel coming to earth and taking human form (in the image of top-billed Cary Grant) to help people tap into their better natures. Grant's principal target is a young, aggressive bishop (David Niven) who, in his obsessive determination to erect a massive cathedral, has gradually distanced himself from the members of his parish as well from as his adoring wife (Loretta Young). The flesh-and-blood angel wants nothing more than to help strengthen both parish and family, but the enigmatic newcomer’s relationship with the bishop’s wife leads the cleric to confusion and jealousy. Director Henry Koster handles this material with a feather-light touch and brings out the best in his cast by putting them through their paces with subtlety and restraint. Indeed, by keeping his naturally ebullient comedic persona in check, Grant delivers one of his finest performances. The same can be said of Young, who is particularly moving as the wife who senses that things are changing without realizing she's been touched by an angel. Sensitive scripting by playwright Robert E. Sherwood, expert cinematography by Gregg Toland, and evocative scoring by Oscar-nominated Hugo Friedhofer combine to make this 1947 drama one of the richest and most affecting ever to come out of Hollywood.
All Movie Guide
One of the most beloved of all Christmas films, The Bishop's Wife is a delightful combination of witty dialogue and charming performances. The polished finished product is all the more remarkable considering its troubled production history. William Seiter originally directed the film, with Cary Grant in the part of the bishop and David Niven as the angel (amazingly, they would swap roles for the final product). The film's notoriously short-tempered producer Samuel Goldwyn was furious with Seiter's finished product, fired the director and started from scratch. He hired Henry Koster to re-direct, but initial audience previews went poorly, and several new scenes were written (some from an uncredited Billy Wilder). The end product shows none of the seams, and the film was rewarded with five Academy Award nominations, including one for Koster (Best Director) and one for Goldwyn (Best Picture). The Bishop's Wife became of the most cherished Christmas movies ever -- strangely enough, it would be released within two years of the other perennial favorites It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. Remade, dreadfully, by director Penny Marshall in 1996 as The Preacher's Wife.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Cary Grant Dudley
Loretta Young Julia Brougham
David Niven Henry Brougham
Monty Woolley Prof. Wutheridge
Gladys Cooper Mrs. Hamilton
James Gleason Sylvester
Elsa Lanchester Matilda
Claire Du Brey Second Lady
Sarah Edwards Mrs. Duffy
Ben Erway Mr. Perry
Karolyn Grimes Debby Brougham
Sara Haden Mildred Cassaway
Teddy Infuhr Attack Captain
Isabel Jewell Hysterical Mother
David Leonard Blind Man
Margaret McWade Miss Trumbull
Anne O'Neal Mrs. Ward
Kitty O'Neil Hat Shop Customer
Almira Sessions First Lady at Michel's
Regis Toomey Mr. Miller
Dorothy Vaughan Delia
Tito Vuolo Maggenti
Margaret Wells Hat Shop Proprietress
Bobby Anderson Defense Captain
Eugene Borden Michel
Florence Auer Third Lady
Joseph J. Greene Santa Claus
Erville Alderson Stevens
Edgar Dearing Policeman
Edythe Elliott Saleslady

Technical Credits
Henry Koster Director
Leonardo Bercovici Screenwriter
Monica Collingwood Editor
Perry Ferguson Art Director
Hugo W. Friedhofer Score Composer
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Samuel Goldwyn Producer
Charles Henderson Art Director
Julia Heron Set Decoration/Design
George Jenkins Art Director
Fred Lau Sound/Sound Designer
Emil Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Irene Sharaff Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert E. Sherwood Screenwriter
Robert Stephanoff Makeup
Gregg Toland Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Bishop's Wife
1. Chapter 1 [1:14]
2. Chapter 2 [8:38]
3. Chapter 3 [6:17]
4. Chapter 4 [6:52]
5. Chapter 5 [7:40]
6. Chapter 6 [9:39]
7. Chapter 7 [5:42]
8. Chapter 8 [4:36]
9. Chapter 9 [9:36]
10. Chapter 10 [6:02]
11. Chapter 11 [16:17]
12. Chapter 12 [3:51]
13. Chapter 13 [8:35]
14. Chapter 14 [4:20]
15. Chapter 15 [6:18]
16. Chapter 16 [3:38]


Customer Reviews

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The Bishop's Wife 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful christmas movie. I look forward to the holiday seasons just so i can watch this movie!!! We curl up on the sofa with hot cocoa on a cold day and make a day out of watching this and It's a wonderful life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite holiday movies, and not just because Cary Grant is in it. David Niven, as the bishop, is wonderful. His scene, ''stuck'' in a chair, is a classic. The lesser actors in this movie are all standouts. James Gleason, Elsa Lanchester, Gladys Cooper, Monty Wooley, and Regis Toomey all help make this a terrific movie. What can I say about Cary Grant but ''Wow!'' He's highly believable as Dudley the angel. This is a definite ''must see'' every Christmas!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie truly touches your heart and makes you really think about the true meaning of Christmas and appreciating the important people in your life. This is a Christmas movie I can truly say I'll never get tired of watching! Watch this movie!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not only are the characters wonderful, but the storyline is absolutely the best. I never tire of watching this movie...it is one of my all time favorites. It leaves you with a warm feeling of hope, peace, love and good cheer. That's what Christmas is all about. It brings us back to the reality of what Christmas is suppose to be...and remember that is why Christ came in the first place. If we all could see this a few times a year it would keep us in that Christmas ''spirit'' all year through. Watch it this season with your family...we do every year. It has become a family tradition, and that I believe is a wonderful reason to bring us all together. No matter how many times I see it, I cry... so have a box of kleenex handy! Hope you enjoy it as well as we do. Have a Blessed Holiday Season and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Suffice it to say that this is a "perfect" Christmas movie whose story slowly unfolds and draws you in. It will touch even the most jaded person who take the time to sit quietly and watch it. I consider it a MUST have for any complete Christmas movie collection. If you haven't seen it, this is the year to do so. What are you waiting for??
Kimi_and_Stevies_Mom More than 1 year ago
The characters wonderful! The storyline is absolutely the best. I never tire of watching this movie. It leaves you feeling full of hope, peace, love and good cheer. That's what Christmas is all about! This is truly a touching movie that will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling.
harmony6 More than 1 year ago
This movie captivated me from the first scenes. I love all of the main and supporting characters. It's very easy to fall for Cary Grant as he's so charismatic, gentlemanly, and attentive to Loretta Young's character. Boy, do they possess the chemistry! Alas, he is an angel and not to be had. David Niven's character is transformed by his eventual self-awareness and restored faith. All seems just right when Cary Grant ends up not getting the girl this time. I love this movie and watch it many times a year and especially at Christmas.
JLeeB More than 1 year ago
Sweet movie of the 40's. Lovely story. I miss the good old movies where you could get a moral and see beautiful people in pretty clothes and good, small town ethics. Great nostalgic, happy movie. Need more like this!
kpet More than 1 year ago
THE BISHOP'S WIFE is a very entertaining movie, for Christmas or anytime. The cast includes, Loretta Young, Cary Grant, and David Niven, A wonderful movie, full of love and hope. Perfect for the entire family. Wait until you see how Cary Grant decorates a Christmas Tree! Highly Recommended!
pumpkinNC More than 1 year ago
This is a movie I never tire of watching each Christmas.  The characters are wonderful as is the story line.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I watch this movie every year.  It never grows old and Is gentile, kind, and funny.  I highly recommend it.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best Xmas movie ever if not the best!!A good one while triming the tree.
Sleepyhead More than 1 year ago
They just don't make 'em like they used to. This is by far one of the most engaging holiday classics in film history. The characters are both lovable and intelligent. The story has a "Pollyanna" feel to it, showing how one person can affect the lives of so many others. How the "good" in mankind is contagious. Don't miss it. It's a family favorite of ours. Definitely appeals to every generation! Carey Grant at his best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love love love this movie. It's not Christmas without it!
rgaPHDman More than 1 year ago
My wife and I have always loved this movie, and we are fortunate to now have it in our personal dvd library to view whenever we want. There is a magic in the movie that just draws you to it, and even though you know the outcome, you are fascinated to watch it over and over. Great video.
grammyhanson25 More than 1 year ago
Wonderful Movie! Cary Grant's angelic character makes the Bishop realize how important his family life should be and how lucky he is to have his beautiful wife and daughter. Success takes a back seat to family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My in-laws recommended this movie at Christmas - the whole family loved it. It is now a seasonal favorite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of those films that captures the essence, the 'wonderment' and the magical 'something' that touches something deep inside of you. The special effects are nothing spectacular compared to today's standards, but for the time period in which this original B&W film was made they capture your attention make you double-take with amazement... and if you dare to let go and loose yourself in this film you will marvel and believe that angels do walk amongst us, and that seemingly normal occurances in our lives today often do reflect the magic of Christmastime as well as those odd inexplicable occurances of everyday life.
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