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This movie was a phenomenal hit. It was one of the first movies to explore the spiritual dimension into which we all pass at death. This may be the film that triggered the whole recent wave of movies dealing with the themes of angels, afterlife, God, and Satan/evil.
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By David Bruce
Web Master
David Bruce
Roger Ebert says:
It "touches the poignancy of the human belief in life after death...(and) succeeds in evoking the mysteries that it toys with."
Sam Wheat: Patrick Swayze, Molly Jensen: Demi Moore, Oda Mae Brown: Whoopi Goldberg, Carl Brunner: Tony Goldwyn, Willie Lopez: Rick Aviles, Oda Mae's sister: Louise Gail Boggs, Oda Mae's sister: Clara Armelia McQueen, Subway ghost: Vincent Schiavelli.
Directed by Jerry Zucker.
Produced by Lisa Weinstein.
Written by Bruce Joel Rubin.
Edited by Walter Murch.
Photography by Adam Greenberg.
Music by Maurice Jarre.
Running time: 128 minutes.
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    This movie was a phenomenal hit. It was one of the first movies to explore the spiritual dimension into which we all pass at death. This may be the film that triggered the whole recent wave of movies dealing with the themes of angels, afterlife, God, and Satan/evil. Hollywood has learned that people are interested not only in carnal things but the spiritual realm, as well.

    Ghost opens up with a young couple in love moving into their first apartment. They are "have it all" yuppies. The tone of the film is set as a crane lifts an angel/statue into their apartment. (I was wondering if this statue wasn't the same one that was used in Bruce Willis' movie, 12 Monkeys.

    There is real chemistry between Patrick Swayze (Sam) and Demi Moore (Molly). This makes his untimely death during a mugging an all the more poignant and profoundly sad event in the film. Molly holds Sam as Virgin Mary holds Jesus as portrayed in most traditional Renaissance depictions of the aftermath of the crucifixion.

    Sam is immediately pictured in the afterlife. This is done very effectively. But Sam's journey is put on hold because there is an injustice that needs to be worked out.

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   The film needs a way of putting Molly in touch with the spiritual realm where Sam resides.  This is done through a phony medium, Whoopi Goldberg's character, Oda Mae Brown.  Brown discovers she does have spiritual abilities, after all.  The film makes a sharp contrast between good and evil.   When one of the men who murdered Sam shows up to court Molly, he brings her an apple.  The apple is the symbol of an evil temptation - the good and evil play in the garden of Eden found in Genesis.
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    The further religious aspects are brought into play when a large sum of money is given to the Christian church by Brown.  Sam encourages her from his world to do this very right thing.  Also, the demons actually drag both of Sam's murderers off to hell.  This film, more than any other, makes hell a very real place.  Evil needs to be dealt with - there has to be justice somewhere in the universe.  This movie treats this very real human theme with reality and respect!
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    The end of the film ends like each individual life will end: facing hell or facing heaven.  The film is right in promoting the idea that the choice is ours:  "Choose ye this day whom you will serve." --Joshua 1

The Fruit of Kindness

It was a very nasty, stormy night at as small hotel in Philadelphia. An elderly man and woman approached the registration desk. Their question was, "Do you have room for us tonight?" Then, with a slight pause, the woman briefly explained, "We have been to some of the larger hotels, and they are all full."

The clerk explained that there were several conventions in town at the time, and indeed no rooms were available anywhere in Philadelphia that particular night. He also pointed out to them that all of the rooms in his hotel were full as well. But the clerk went on, "I wouldn't feel right about turning you out on such a nasty night. Would you be willing to sleep in my personal room?"

The couple was taken back at the generous offer and didn't know how to respond. The young man insisted that he would be able to get along just fine if only they would use his room.

The next day as the elderly couple was checking out, the man told the young clerk, "You are the kind of man who should be the boss of the best hotel in the country. Maybe someday I'll build one for you." They all smiled at the little joke, and then the clerk helped them carry their bags outs to the street into their car.

Two years later, the clerk received a letter from the old man. He had almost forgotten the incident, but the letter recalled the night and his kindness. The letter also included a round trip ticket to New York City with the request that he come to be their guest for a visit.

When the young clerk reached New York City, there to meet him was the elderly couple. The old man drove him to the corner of Fifth Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street and pointed to a beautiful new building. It was like a palace of reddish stone with turrets and watchtowers like a castle. The older man said, "This is the hotel I have built for you to manage!"

"You must be joking," The young man said. He couldn't believe what he heard.

The old man said, "I'm not joking." And simply stood and smiled.

The young man asked, "Who, who are you that you can do this?"

"My name is William Waldorf Astor." And the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria of New York City. The young clerk's name is George C. Boldt, and he did become the first manager of this historic hotel!

Love is patient, love is kind" (1 Cor. 13:4)

Subject: Ghost
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001
From: R.C.

Yes, it's been roughly two years since dm posted his/her archaic interpretation of Judgement, but I'd like to get this off my chest all the same, if I may. I'm a Catholic, but I do take issue with a piece of ideology an alarming number of my fellow Christians seem to subscribe to.

dm seems to be actually ANGRY at the idea that a man might be allowed into Heaven without having been saved by his faith in Jesus. It troubles me that so many so-called Christians feel this way. If belief in Jesus is the one and only way to earn a happy afterlife, what of the millions of people who lived BEFORE Jesus' time? Is Moses in Hell? Is Abraham? They had no chance to believe in Jesus, and yet they were good men. Does that not count?

What about people being brought up in non-Western societies, where Christianity is not common, or even not ALLOWED? Let's use one of the civilians who have died in Afghanistan recently as an example. Let's call him Ahmed. Ahmed is a good husband and father, and although not a Christian, he lives his life according to the very principles Jesus taught us. He loves his fellow man and lives to serve those close to him. He's had no contact with Christians, as the oppressive Taliban regime does not grant freedom of worship to its citizens. One day, Ahmed finds himself in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time, and is killed by debris created by a nearby explosion.

dm, do you truly believe that this good, kind man, husband, and father, deserves eternal torment for not having been a Christian? Do you believe God would allow oe of His creatures to go to hell under such unfair circumstances?

Do you believe a pacifist like the Dalai Lama will burn in Hell because his relationship with God isn't based on the Christian Bible? By the same token, do you believe a genocidal monster liek Hitler has a better shot at redemption than, say, Carl Sagan because Hitler was a Christian and Sagan was agnostic? Sorry, that does not jive with my God, the God Jesus told us of, the one that loves all of His creatures and is always with us.

There are people who live VERY Christian lives without having known Christ, and there are people who live utterly pagan lives even though they claim to have been saved.

*/end rant*

Mr. Bruce, I loved your review of Ghost (one of my favorite movies of all time, and along with The Green Mile, one of two movies to ever make me cry openly), and have become a very frequent visitor to your site ever since a friend directed me to your review of X-Men last year. God bless, and keep up the great work.
Yours, R.C.
(I'd rather you kept my name and email address private, please. I suppose if dm porter ever stumbles upon my reply to him/her, he/she'll be able to reply via your website.)

Subject: An important point near the end of "Ghost"
Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2000
From: "Joe A."

When the person responsible for Sam's murder is himself killed at the end of the movie, he first looks down in shock at his dead body, then in astonishment at Sam, then in terror at the demons that appear to drag him off to his eternal punishment. Now, one would logically suppose that Sam would feel a sense of satisfaction, of being avenged, at the comeuppance of his killer, right? Wrong-o, dude. Sam looks at the other guy with one of the saddest expressions of pity and sorrow I have ever seen on anyone's face and says softly, "I'm sorry...". I submit that this is a very biblical moment, and is an accurate reflection of God's actual attitude towards sinners. Scripture tells us, after all, that He takes no pleasure in the death of sinners and doesn't want anyone to die - what he wants, and what he rejoices in, is people turning from their sins toward a new life.

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999
From: dm porter

I agree with most of what you said about "Ghost," and you made some good points, but I had a problem with the simplistic, secularized idea of eternity, where "good" people go to Heaven and "bad" people go to Hell. I don't care how nice a guy Sam was, or how much he loved his girlfriend, or how many clay pots they made together. If he wasn't SAVED on that dark and stormy night he was shot, there wouldn't have been any light shining from anywhere. Just a bunch of those nasty black shadowy things taking that joker to HELL.

Film images © 1990 Paramount Pictures.
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