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Michael (1996 film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nora Ephron
Produced by Sean Daniel
Nora Ephron
James Jacks
Delia Ephron
Screenplay by Nora Ephron
Delia Ephron
Peter Dexter
Story by Jim Quinlan
Starring John Travolta
Andie MacDowell
William Hurt
Bob Hoskins
Robert Pastorelli
Jean Stapleton
Music by Randy Newman
Cinematography John Lindley
Edited by Geraldine Peroni
Turner Pictures
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • December 25, 1996 (1996-12-25)
Running time
105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $46 million
Box office $119,718,203

Michael is a 1996 American fantasy film directed by Nora Ephron. The film stars John Travolta as the Archangel Michael, who is sent to Earth to do various tasks, including mending some wounded hearts. The cast includes Andie MacDowell, William Hurt, Bob Hoskins, Joey Lauren Adams and Robert Pastorelli as people who cross Michael's path. This was the last Turner Pictures film to be distributed by New Line Cinema; Warner Bros. distributed the home video release of Michael (1996) and the theatrical release of Fallen (1998).

The original music score was composed by Randy Newman. The dance scene and other location shots were filmed at the community center of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Cornhill, Texas, and on country roads near Walburg, Texas, as well as at Texas's Gruene Hall.

Contrary to popular depictions of angels, Michael is portrayed as a boozing, smoking slob – yet capable of imparting unexpected wisdom.[1]

The same year Travolta appeared in another film, Phenomenon, also as a character with supernatural powers who profoundly affects those around him.


  • Plot summary 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
    • Box office 3.1
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Plot summary

Vartan Malt (Bob Hoskins) is the editor of a tabloid called the National Mirror that specializes in unlikely stories about celebrities and frankly unbelievable tales about ordinary folkspersons. When Malt gets word that a woman is supposedly harboring an angel in a small town in Iowa, he figures that this might be up the Mirror's alley, so he sends out three people to get the story – Frank Quinlan (William Hurt), a reporter whose career has hit the skids; Huey Driscoll (Robert Pastorelli), a photographer on the verge of losing his job (even though he owns the Mirror's mascot Sparky the Wonder Dog); and Dorothy Winters (Andie MacDowell), a self-styled "angel expert" (actually a dog trainer hired by Malt to eventually replace Driscoll).

They arrive at the boarding house of Pansy Milbank (Jean Stapleton), who informs them that she does indeed have an angel for a tenant and introduces them to Michael (John Travolta). Michael has wings like an angel, but the resemblance ends there. Michael loves cigarettes, sugar, has an uncontrollable belly laugh, tends to use a large number of non-angelic phrases, does not care much for personal hygiene, and smells like cookies. Michael informs his visitors that an angel is allowed to take a certain number of "vacations" on Earth and that he is in the midst of one now. However, this is the last vacation he is allowed, and he has decided to make the most of it.

After Pansy unexpectedly dies, Frank and Huey stumble upon a great story idea—if Michael wants to have some fun, why not take him to Chicago, where he can really kick up his heels? Michael reveals that this was his plan from the beginning. The rest of the film deals with the experiences that Frank, Huey, Dorothy, Sparky, and Michael have while driving to Chicago (Michael refuses to fly). During the trip it is slowly revealed that Michael's mission on Earth is to get Frank and Dorothy together despite both having had bad experiences with love.

After Sparky is hit by a truck and killed, Michael brings him back to life. In the process he uses up his allotment of miracles and begins to weaken. The group reaches Chicago just in time for Michael to see the Sears Tower (which he has always wanted to see) before disappearing. After Frank and Dorothy go their separate ways, Michael returns one more time (this time with Pansy in tow) and successfully gets Frank and Dorothy back together for good.



The film received mixed to negative reviews, currently holding a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews.[2][3]

Box office

The movie was a hit at the box office. Released on Christmas Day, Michael finished number one at the box office that weekend, grossing $17,435,711 (roughly $3.4 million more than 2nd place Jerry Maguire, which was in its 3rd week). The total domestic gross was $95,318,203, ranking Michael #16 for the year 1996.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ a b "Spotlight On John Travolta In `Michael,' The Actor Plays A Sexy Angel Whose Gospel Is Wine, Women And Song".  
  2. ^ Levy, Emanuel (1997-01-04). "Michael".  
  3. ^ "Michael".  
  4. ^ Brennan, Judy (1996-12-30). "Michael: Miracle at Box Office; Movies: Estimates show John Travolta's angel film setting a Christmas week record; 'Evita' and 'People vs. Larry Flynt' hit big in limited release.".  
  5. ^ "Jerry' Ties With Slowing 'Michael' at Box Office".  
  6. ^ Dutka, Elaine (1996-12-27). "Michael Stars as Christmas' Screen Angel; Movies: The New Line movie fares well nationwide; 'Evita' sets a one-day house record in Hollywood and sells out a Manhattan theater.".  

External links

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