Heaven Can Wait

While out bicycling, Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty), star quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, rides into one end of long dark tunnel while a tractor-trailer enters the other end. A kind-hearted angel (Buck Henry) whose job it is to escort the soul of the dead to a way station (where the Concorde waits to transport the souls to Heaven) snatches Pendleton's soul before the impact so he would not have to suffer the pain and trauma of dying. It turns out that Pendleton was not supposed to die that day! He was such a great athlete that he could have avoided the collision. When confronted with that mistake, the angel's superior, Mr. Jordan (James Mason) orders Pendleton's soul restored to his body. Unfortunately, Pendleton's body has been cremated, so another body must be found! The angel finds the body of Farnsworth, a rotten millionaire who has just been electrocuted in his bathtub by his wife Julia (Dyan Cannon) and her lover Tony (Charles Grodin). Pendleton reluctantly agrees to inhabit the new body, much to the dismay of Julia and Tony who can't understand how he survived their murder attempt. Pendleton proceeds to buy the Los Angeles Rams and attempts to whip the millionaire's body into playing shape. He eventually convinces Rams Coach Max Corkle (Jack Warden) that he is, in fact, Joe Pendleton trapped in another body when he fixes Max's back using a move that only Pendleton would know. At first, the Rams players rebel and don't block during practice, but Farnsworth's/Pendleton's determination wins their respect as well as the affection of reporter Betty Logan (Julie Christie). Farnsworth/Pendleton falls in love with Logan and tells her the entire unbelievable story including how he has avoided further attempts by Tony and Julia to kill him. The Rams make the Super Bowl, but before the big game, Tony gets so frustrated with the attempts to kill Farnsworth/Pendleton by making it look like an accident that he just goes ahead and uses a rifle to shoot him in the back. The body falls into a well, but is eventually discovered, the plot revealed and Tony and Julia hauled away. During the Super Bowl, the Rams' quarterback is tackled and fatally injured. Mr. Jordan restores Pendleton's soul to the player's body and wipes out all memories of Joe's entire life as Pendleton or Farnsworth. The Rams win, Betty Logan interviews the QB, but neither have any knowledge of their past relationship. They leave the stadium together for a coffee.
Thanks, Evil Ed and Marathonsun!