Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

7th Heaven (1927)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

7th Heaven (1927) (aka Seventh Heaven)

In Frank Borzage's pure and sentimental melodrama:

  • the film's opening title card referred to inspirational goals in life: "For those who will climb it, there is a ladder leading from the depths to the heights -- from the sewer to the stars -- the ladder of Courage"
  • the introduction of street angel-waif Diane (Janet Gaynor, Best Actress winner), a young prostitute who was terrorized (whipped and almost strangled) in the street gutter by her absinthe-addicted, tyrannical and abusive older sister Nana (Gladys Brockwell); she was rescued from injury and Nana was scared off by lowly, poor Parisian sewer worker Chico Robas (Charles Farrell), whose dreams were to become a street cleaner-washer
Diane's Brutal Whipping and Strangulation by Nana

Nana (Gladys Brockwell) - Diane's Abusive Sister

Diane Rescued From Nana's Brutality in the Street by Chico
  • a few moments later, Chico also prevented a desperate Diane from committing suicide (by stabbing) by grabbing his knife from her as she was about to kill herself by plunging the knife into her heart - he reprimanded her: "With MY knife! I like that!"
  • Chico also rescued Diane shortly later from arrest by the authorities, when he claimed that Diane was his wife (a bogus marriage); however, he realized that his ambitions might be "ruined" by the impulsive decision to offer his residence to her; Diane moved in with Chico temporarily to keep up appearances (until the police verified his story), so that she wouldn't be charged with vagrancy
  • there was a marvelous tracking shot (with an elevator crane) as Chico led Diane up the winding stairs to his 7th floor bohemian loft ("Seventh Heaven") for the first time; he bragged: "Not bad, eh? I work in the sewer -- but I live near the stars!"
  • although he warned: "After the police come, you go!", he changed his mind and told Diane: " - if you want to stay - you're not in my way"; love slowly blossomed between the couple although he was shy and reticent about telling her he loved her: "I can't say it! It's too silly", but he blurted out: "Chico - Diane - Heaven!" with his arms outstretched; she kept repeating: "Say it again!"
  • when the Great War broke out, Chico was finally and at last able to admit that he loved Diane - knowing that he would miss her; she confessed to him: "I'm not used to being happy --- It's funny -- It hurts!"; he worried that they wouldn't have time to be married, and then had an idea: "We will marry now - here!" - and they performed a simple ceremony together by exchanging gold necklaces and vows; fifteen minutes later, Chico was called to service (to fight for France) and rushed to the train station - he gave Diane one final glance before leaving: "- Let me fill my eyes with you!"
  • during Chico's time away at the war front, Diane worked in a munitions factory; she remained faithful to him - and spiritually and telepathically communicated with him over many miles through their hearts and minds, every morning at eleven
  • when she was notified with "bad news" that Corporal Chico had died (he thought he was dying and sent her a message: "Tell her I died looking up!") just before the Armistice was declared, she fainted - and renounced her belief in God as a result - she told the priest: "For four years I have called this Heaven - I prayed - I believed in God -- I believed He would bring Chico back to me - And Chico is dead! - I'm right back at the beginning again"
  • however, the bittersweet climax revealed that Chico had not died (but had been only wounded and blinded); as Diane was denouncing God, he struggled through crowds celebrating the peace in the streets to return home and climb the stairs, loudly calling out her name! "DIANE!" - she couldn't believe that he had returned alive - "They thought I was dead, but I'll never die!"; she sunk to her knees in disbelief; even though he was blind, he affirmed: "My eyes are still filled with you"; she told him: "I will be your eyes"
  • they experienced a jubilant, almost metaphysical reconciliation in an ethereal shaft of light
Distraught Over Chico's 'Death'
Chico Climbing the Stairs and Calling Out Diane's Name
Blind - But Together

Chico Grabbing Diane's Hand To Prevent Her From Committing Suicide

Diane - Distraught and Without Hope

Tracking Shot Up 7 Flights of Stairs

"Chico - Diane - Heaven!"

Chico Admitting His Love

Chico and Diane Reconciled Together in the Light


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