The Preacher's Wife Movie Poster Image

The Preacher's Wife



Denzel's Christmas angel meets Whitney's voice.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1996
  • Running Time: 124 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A mother dies and her son Hakim is taken away by social services. Henry sells out to a developer and agrees to leave the church. While Julia is a strong woman, there's a very strong vein throughout the movie that women shouldn't work and that their most important role is as mother and wife. Henry, as a father, doesn't take care of his son, leaving that work to the women in the house. This star-studded African-American cast shows the good work people do in their communities. Overall, the message is to have faith and do what you can to make things happen.


A robber steals from a store and then shoots out a window. A neighborhood boy is accused of the robbery.


Dudley sniffs Beverly and says he hasn't "smelled a woman in a while." Son Jeremiah witnesses the growing flirtation between his married mom, Julia, and Dudley, though no kissing ever happens.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Grandma Margueritte smokes regularly, even inside the house where she's been told not to, but eventually says she's given it up. Dudley has a drink at a jazz club.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that characters face real-life difficulties. One little boy's mother died and he's taken away to foster care because his grandmother is too old to care for him. A teen boy is accused of an armed robbery he didn't commit. A church and community face redevelopment. Dudley also flirts with two women during the film.

Parents say

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What's the story?

In the heartwarming and family-friendly THE PREACHER'S WIFE, Rev. Henry Biggs (Courtney B. Vance) bears the weight of his small and struggling community on his shoulders and he seems to be losing every fight. First a neighborhood kid Henry bailed out in the past is accused of holding up a local store and shooting out the windows. Then his son's best friend Hakim (Darvel Davis Jr.) loses his mother and is put in foster care, crushing his son's spirit. Then the local teen center gets shuttered to make way for luxury condominiums. Amid all this, his mother-in-law is staying with him and he and his wife (Whitney Houston) are growing further and further apart. Calling this a crisis of faith would be an understatement. One night, Biggs utters, "If you get a moment, I sure could use some help," and instantly a friendly angel in the form of Denzel Washington appears. Hallelujah, indeed.

Is it any good?


Hope is nothing but a prayer, according to this big-hearted film. Or rather, hope is what it feels like to pray and have faith. Those lessons are the center of The Preacher's Wife, which offers some of the sweetest and best farce and comedy around. Seeing Denzel Washington twirling about in the snow and Vance hamming it up is a real treat. And because this is a Whitney Houston movie in a church setting, she appropriately plays the choir mistress. Expect lots of wonderful singing from her and the Georgia Mass Choir.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how they cope during trying times. What do you have faith in? How do you express it? Families can also discuss how it feels for children to see their parents fight or to worry about their friends leaving.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 13, 1996
DVD/Streaming release date:August 13, 2002
Cast:Denzel Washington, Gregory Hines, Whitney Houston
Director:Penny Marshall
Studio:Buena Vista
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:124 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:parental guidance

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Kid, 11 years old November 20, 2012

My Review

It is a great Christmas Movie and I guarantee you, if you are a Whitney Houston fan, you will cry tears of sadness and joy at the same time.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byTotally500 February 20, 2012

Angel Is calling

This is a funny and great movie one of my favs ever its just so good!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models