|Directed by||Carl Reiner|
|Produced by||Jerry Weintraub|
|Screenplay by||Larry Gelbart|
|Based on||Oh, God!
by Avery Corman
|Music by||Jack Elliott|
|Cinematography||Victor J. Kemper|
|Editing by||Bud Molin|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||98 minutes|
Oh, God! is a 1977 comedy film starring George Burns and John Denver. Based on a novel by Avery Corman, the film was directed by Carl Reiner from a screenplay written by Larry Gelbart. The story centers on unassuming supermarket manager Jerry Landers (Denver), chosen by God (Burns) to spread his message, despite the skepticism of the media, religious authorities, and Landers' wife (Teri Garr).
God appears as a kindly old man to Jerry Landers, an assistant supermarket manager. After some mixups in trying to set up an "interview," He tells Jerry that he has been selected to be His messenger to the modern world, much like a contemporary Moses. A bit timidly at first, Landers dutifully tells the world of his encounters with God becoming a national icon of comedic fodder. Understandably skeptical at first, Landers finds his life turned upside down as theologians attempt to discredit him. For instance, a group of religious leaders challenge him to answer a series of written questions in Aramaic while locked in a hotel room alone to prove God is directly contacting him. To Jerry's profound relief after an agonizing wait, God arrives and answers the questions. Eventually, Jerry decides to prove his story in a court of law, after being sued for slander by a charismatic preacher that God directed Jerry to call a "phony".
Jerry argues that if God's existence is a reasonable possibility, then if He chooses he can materialize and sit in the witness chair. At first, God fails to appear, and the judge threatens to charge Jerry with contempt for "what you apparently thought was a clever stunt." Jerry argues that his point was that when he brought up the mere possibility that God would make a personal appearance, everyone clearly waited a moment to see if it would really happen — proving that he at least deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Suddenly, without opening the doors, God appears and asks to be sworn in, concluding the procedure with "So help me Me." "If it please the court, and even if it doesn't please the court, I'm God, your honor."
God provides some miracles, first in the form of a few rather impressive card tricks for the judge. Then, to help the people believe, he leaves the stand, walks a few steps and, with everyone watching, literally disappears before their eyes. His disembodied voice then issues a parting shot: "It can work. If you find it hard to believe in Me, maybe it will help to know that I believe in you."
Jerry has lost his job, but God assures him that he's in "good hands." God gets ready to leave and is not coming back. Jerry then asks what if he needs to talk with him. God says to him "I'll tell you what, you talk. I'll listen." He then disappears. Jerry smiles as God departs.
- George Burns ... God
- John Denver ... Jerry Landers
- Teri Garr ... Bobbie Landers
- Donald Pleasence ... Doctor Harmon
- Ralph Bellamy ... Sam Raven
- William Daniels ... George Summers
- Barnard Hughes ... Judge Baker
- Paul Sorvino ... Reverend Willie Williams
- Barry Sullivan ... Bishop Reardon
- Dinah Shore ... Herself
- Carl Reiner ... Dinah's Guest
- Jeff Corey ... Rabbi Silverstone
- George Furth ... Briggs
- David Ogden Stiers ... Mr McCarthy, District Produce Manager
- Titos Vandis ... Greek Bishop
- Moosie Drier ... Adam Landers
- Rachel Longaker ... Becky Landers
- Jerry Dunphy ... Newscaster
- Mario Machado ... TV Reporter
- Connie Sawyer ... Mrs Green
- Jane Lambert ... Mrs Levin
- Kres Mersky ... Check-out Girl
- Byron Paul ... TV Engineer
- Hector Morales ... Waiter
- Wonderful Smith ... Court Clerk
- Murphy Dunne ... Stenographer
- Boyd Bowdell ... Religious Fanatic
- Zane Buzby ... Girl
- Dennis Kort ... Norman
- Bob McClurg ... Mechanic
- Celeste Cartier ... Second Check-out Girl
Oh, God! garnered both critical acclaim and box office success upon its release.
Box office performance
The film was released on October 7, 1977 in 198 theaters and earned $1.9 million on its opening weekend. It ultimately grossed $51,061,196 domestically, making it the seventh highest-grossing film of 1977.
It was also well received by critics and is regarded by many as one of the best films of 1977, including Gene Siskel's top 10 of the year. The film holds a 71% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.
Award wins and nominations
Larry Gelbart's screenplay received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and a Saturn Award nod for Best Writing. The screenplay also won the Writers Guild award for Best Comedy Adapted from Another Medium. Oh, God! was also awarded two Saturn Awards for Best Fantasy Film and Best Actor for George Burns. It received an additional nomination for Carl Reiner's direction.
- "Box Office Information for Oh, God!". The Numbers. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "Gene Siskel's Top Ten Lists 1969-1998". caltech.edu. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "The Best Movies of 1977 by Rank". Films101.com. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "Best Films of 1977". listal.com. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "Movie Reviews for Oh, God!". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "Award Nominations and Wins for Oh, God!". IMDb. Retrieved January 29, 2012.