Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door Movie Meaning & Plot Summary

Did the heroes of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door succeed: analysis of the plot and ending of the film. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door: meaning, plot of the film, explanation of the ending, description, similar movies.

Country: Germany

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Crime

Year of production: 1997

Directed by: Thomas Yan

Actors: Til Schweiger, Jan Josef Liefers, Thierry Van Werweke

tagline: “Fast car, a million marks in the trunk, and only one week to live”

Awards and nominations: In 1997, the picture received the St. George Award in the Best Actor nomination.

The picture of Thomas Yan refers to those films that can save during longing and depression. The plot and meaning of Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door may not seem very deep at first glance, but it’s not.

This light, life-affirming film best illustrates the frailty of our existence and at the same time teaches us to appreciate every moment of it. It is also a picture of a journey that sooner or later awaits each of us…

What is the movie about Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door?

Description of the content of the film “knocking on the sky”. Two young men – somewhat hooligan Martin Brest and intelligent Rudi Wurlitzer learn that they are sick with oncology.

Once in the same room, previously unfamiliar guys quickly approach each other. In conversation, Rudy casually says that he has never seen the sea in his entire life.

Til Schweiger, Jan Joseph LiefersTil Schweiger as Martin Brest and Jan Josef Liefers as Rudi Wurlitzer. Frame from the film.

Both understand that further stay in the hospital does not make sense: all medical manipulations will only keep them alive for some time. After drinking a bottle of tequila that appears out of nowhere in one of their lockers, Martin and Rudy suddenly realize that they don’t want to die in a hospital room. So spontaneously young people come up with the idea to escape from the hospital and go to the sea.

No sooner said than done. The guys steal a Mercedes from the parking lot, commit a bank robbery and begin to hide from the police. Soon they find out that there is more money in the trunk of the stolen Mercedes – and rather big ones … In the end, they also have to hide from the local criminal gang.

Thus begins their journey to the sea, full of adventure and danger. Towards the end, Martin and Rudy become real friends. Once again breaking away from the chase, sitting in a small hotel, they suddenly realize that they have very little time left. At this moment, Martin shares with his friend his dream to give his mother, a big fan of Elvis, a pink Cadillac – exactly the same as the legendary musician gave his mother … And a little later it turns out that he, like Rudy, has never been to the sea either.

Soon the guys fall into the hands of criminals. The leader of the criminal gang, having learned why the guys stole money from him, suddenly imbued with sympathy and respect for them. He lets them go, and friends, having presented Martin’s mother with a Cadillac “like Elvis”, continue their journey to the sea …

Ending explanation Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

The explanation for the ending is the simplest. At the end of the picture, Martin and Rudy manage to get to the sea. They silently, thoughtfully walk along the shore, passing each other a bottle of tequila, and seem absolutely peaceful.

Stopping, Martin finishes his cigarette, and then suddenly collapses on his side. Rudy sits down next to him and continues to look out to sea. After the credits, the viewer sees another mise en scene, in which it turns out that before heading to the sea, Martin and Rudy randomly sent out the money they stole from the criminals. One of the minor characters ironically calls both angels.

The meaning of the ending of the film “Knockin’ on Heaven” is also quite simple: the dream of friends comes true. Both saw the sea, which meant much more to them than it seems at first glance.

The meaning of the film Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

The film “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was first seen by many in childhood or adolescence. For 25 years, the picture loved by many has acquired various interpretations.

Most viewers who try to discover the hidden meaning of Jan’s film in their analysis believe that it is not just about the fulfillment of a dream. And the heroes’ semi-criminal journey to the sea is perceived by them as a metaphor.

The key to all the events of the film “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, in their opinion, is that Rudy and Martin died in the hospital, and the plot is about ascending to heaven.

That is, at the beginning of the picture, the main characters are in purgatory: after all, they were completely ordinary young people – there were no serious sins for them, but none of them did good deeds. This means they need to be cleansed. That is, to earn paradise – to reach the heavens.

Why are Rudy and Martin going to the sea? The point is that Martin associates it with the feeling of the beginning of life. He is well aware that he has a few days left to live. However, it is there that he hopes to get answers to his tormenting question: is there life after death? He, a person who has accepted and realized that life has already ended, wants to believe that it has just begun.

Thierry Van Werweke, Moritz BleibtreuThierry Van Werweke as Hank, Moritz Bleibtreu as Abdullah. Frame from the film.

In one of his conversations with Rudy, Martin suggests that in heaven the only talk is about the sea. The viewer does not yet know that he himself has never been there and has no idea what it is. His life, in which there was no sea, ends. On the verge of death, being in fear of what awaits him, Martin thinks about heaven and hell. Is there something in his life that will tip the scales towards paradise? .. Remembering his short life, he suddenly realizes that he did not do anything good and did not see it. So he programs himself for the identity of the sea with paradise and goes to it in order to conditionally visit paradise.

Confident that at the end of his earthly life he will go to hell, Martin relieves himself of all responsibility on the way to the contemplation of paradise. That is, he believes that now he can do whatever he wants along the way, without fear of getting a punishment more terrible than the one that is already waiting for him.

The essence of the film, which some mistakenly consider a real ode to hedonism, lies in the phrase uttered by Martin at the very beginning: “It is stupid to be afraid.”

Unlike Martin, who is resigned to what awaits him, Rudy is initially afraid – first of all, he is afraid of dying. Unlike his friend, he is not sure that he will go to hell, because he tried to live right. Rudy is initially afraid to go on a trip with Martin, because he does not want to ruin everything before he dies – that is, lose the points earned for going to heaven. What if there is no heaven?

After talking with Martin, Rudy finds himself in a dilemma: if heaven exists, he may not get into it, spoiling everything at the last moment for the sake of fulfilling a wish. And if there is no heaven, he, being in a hospital bed, can waste the days allotted to him in vain. Both options are bad – and Martin points to this with the phrase “It’s stupid to be afraid.” Its meaning in this context means that you still have to choose one of the options – this is as inevitable as death. So why not choose the one that is more pleasant?

Main charactersFrame from the film.

Rudy agrees to the journey, during which an amazing thing happens. If at the very beginning he goes there for himself and believes that Martin does everything for him, then in the end he realizes that his friend has dragged him into a dangerous adventure for his own sake.

Confident at first in Martin’s altruism, Rudy changes. In one of the scenes, in order to save the life of a friend, he picks up a gun, thereby deliberately losing all the points that he “earned” during his life to go to heaven. That is, he gives up heaven for Martin.

At this point, young people change places. Now Rudy is taking Martin to the sea, and not vice versa. Resigned to the fact that he will not go to heaven, Rudy wants his friend to see this very “paradise” in the form of the sea before his death.

At the end of the film, Rudy is left sitting next to the deceased Martin. The further (posthumous) fate of Brest is unknown. But Rudy Wurlitzer, for what he did, will probably go to heaven. Because he deserved it.

The finale of the picture seems to emphasize a simple thought: the meaning of life is not to go to heaven, but to live for someone. The one who understands this and accepts it will be rewarded.

According to the creators of the picture, who are unambiguously convinced of the existence of an afterlife, the case with big money that Martin and Rudy steal from criminals is, like the sea, a metaphor. Each of us has it. It’s just that it usually doesn’t occur to us to look into the trunk of the car in which we are driving to the sea …

got to the seaFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few pictures that are similar in meaning to Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door:

  • “Not yet played in the box” (USA, 2007). Two hospital roommates, an eccentric rich man and an intellectual mechanic, learn of their fatal diagnosis. They don’t have long to live, and they make a wish list.
  • “The Intouchables” (France, 2011). Philip is a completely paralyzed rich aristocrat. Driss is an ordinary guy who was recently released from prison. They have nothing in common, but nevertheless they become friends.
  • “… And in my soul I dance” (Great Britain, Ireland, France, 2004). Michael is disabled. At the center, he meets Rory, who teaches him to truly appreciate life.

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