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Heaven Can Wait(1978)

After years of working with some of the best directors in the business—including Elia Kazan, Arthur Penn and Robert Altman—Warren Beatty made his directorial debut, as co-director alongside writer-actor Buck Henry, with this graceful remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941). Beatty stars as a football player plucked from Earth too soon; to compensate, his soul is put into the body of a recently murdered tycoon. All he has to do is figure out how to avoid his murderous wife (Dyan Cannon), lead his team to victory and turn the tycoon’s life around, with the help of a romantic environmentalist (Julie Christie). In the original film, the lead had been a boxer, so Beatty wanted Muhammad Ali in the role. When Ali had schedule conflicts, Beatty took over the lead and turned the character into a football player. He included some real sports stars in the picture, including former L.A. Rams players Deacon Jones and Charley Cowan among his teammates. This film was the fifth highest-grossing film of its year and scored nine Oscar nominations, including four for Beatty as producer, star, co-director and co-writer (with Elaine May). Its success helped him secure funding for his dream project, Reds (1981). (d. Warren Beatty, Buck Henry, 101m, Digital)

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