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On January 18, 1989 a semi truck ran over Pastor Don Piper’s truck on the highway. The beloved husband and father was pronounced dead by the first responders. When another pastor, stopped by the accident, prays over the dead man, however, he comes back. Back from heaven. Although he is alive, Don’s will to live is practically nothing. After all who wants to live in an extremely painful body, on earth when you have experienced the joy of heaven? 90 Minutes In Heaven tells the incredible true story of Pastor Don Piper, the man who went to heaven and came back, as he struggles to understand God’s plan and his new life.
Don Piper (played by Hayden Christensen) was not planning on dying. He had three wonderful children-- Nicole, Joe, and Chris-- not to mention his beautiful, loving wife Eva (played by Kate Bosworth). He had a wonderful church, and he loved his job as a pastor, pointing people to God. He had been gone for several days, at a church conference in a nearby town, and all he wanted to do on that rainy Texas day was to get back home, kiss his wife and hug his kids. But God had other plans for the man from 90 Minutes In Heaven. As he drove across a bridge, a semi truck suddenly came plowing towards him. A few seconds later Don’s tiny red Taurus had been smashed. Crushed like a Coke can. When the first responders arrived a few minutes later they took one look at the car, tried to find a pulse on Don’s equally battered body, and pronounced him dead at the scene. Tiny cars and humans do not stand much of a chance when faced with tons of giant steel. The firemen covered the pulverized car with a tarp. A little ways down the road another pastor sat in his car, waiting for the accident to be cleared. Suddenly he felt an urge to get out and go pray for the man in the accident. So, he climbed out of his car and walked down to the accident scene. “I would like to pray for the man,” the other pastor from 90 Minutes In Heaven said. Of course the state trooper and firemen laughed at him, but they let him. So, the pastor climbed in Don’s crushed car, and started praying for him. Then, he started singing “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” and, much to his amazement, Don started singing too. It was a miracle. But it was a miracle Don never wished would happen. After all he had spent the last ninety minutes in heaven, only to be sent back to a broken world-- and a broken body. The amazed paramedics whisked him back to the hospital, hoping to keep the miracle man alive. Pain was all to real to Don Piper, that day. Not only did he go from the joy of heaven, to the brokenness of earth, but he went back to a battered body. He was covered in cuts and bruises, many of his bones were crushed, some were vaporized, and even his femur was broken. For a man who had just spent 90 Minutes In Heaven staying alive was not a very appealing option-- and Don did not want to stay alive. His loving wife, kids, church, fellow pastors, nurse, and even the patients next door were not about to let him give up, however. Throughout Don’s early weeks-- the time when he no longer wanted to be alive-- to the painful nights, and days of therapy, they prayed, sang, talked, and tough loved their husband, father, pastor, and friend. Based on the incredible book by the same name, 90 Minutes In Heaven tells the incredible and inspiring story of a man who visited heaven and came back to Earth.
Filled with pain, depression, tragedy, and anger Don’s story is still inspiring. From the broken man described, to a man filled with hope, Don’s recovery serves as a reminder to all of us that we cannot understand the ways of God. At first angry that God would send him back, Don Piper comes to realize that God has greater plans for him. Although he initially kept the fact that he had been to heaven a secret, Don later shared his story-- especially through the book and film 90 Minutes In Heaven-- encouraging everyone that heaven is indeed real. His story and life, told through the film 90 Minutes In Heaven remind viewers of all ages that heaven is worth it. That ultimately all believers will be going home, and we can find hope in that. It challenges viewers to keep an eternal perspective, to remember that this life is temporary and can be finished in the blink of an eye. To remember that God is watching, God is with us, and God is waiting. The film 90 Minutes In Heaven encourages viewers to remember that even in the pain God has a plan, if we are only willing to look and find it. From the pastor that prayed over Don’s dead body, to the hundreds of people that gathered across his city to pray, 90 Minutes In Heaven will also remind viewers of the importance and power of prayer. Based on an inspiring true story, 90 Minutes In Heaven will encourage, inspire, and challenge viewers from every walk of life.
90 Minutes In Heaven has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for a violent injury and accident scene. This film received the “Faith Friendly” award for ages twelve and up from the Dove Foundation and four out of five review from Focus on the Family’s “Plugged In”. As always, it is recommend that parents preview all content to determine what is suitable for their children, but the film 90 Minutes In Heaven is generally considered appropriate for most older audiences.
Don Piper is a Baptist minister on his way home after a minister's conference. Tragedy strikes when he collides with a semi-trailer. When paramedics arrive, Don is pronounced dead on scene from the severity of the wreckage.