It's a Wonderful Life
Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Family
IMDB rating:
Frank Capra
James Stewart as George Bailey
Donna Reed as Mary Hatch
Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter
Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy
Henry Travers as Clarence
Beulah Bondi as Mrs. Bailey
Frank Faylen as Ernie
Ward Bond as Bert
Gloria Grahame as Violet
H.B. Warner as Mr. Gower
Frank Albertson as Sam Wainwright
Todd Karns as Harry Bailey
Samuel S. Hinds as Pa Bailey
Mary Treen as Cousin Tilly
Storyline: George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George's modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Billy loses the business's $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his ...
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A lone dissenting vote on It's A Wonderful Life
I hate to be the lone dissenter here, but I think It's a Wonderful Life stands right up there as one of the most overrated movies of all time. Not that it is a particularly bad movie, but I cannot see how it rates on everyones top ten list. True, the story is interesting and a bit intriguing, and it has a couple of good scenes. But you take out the scene where Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are dancing and they fall in the pool, and you take away the last five minutes of the movie, then there is not much left. And speaking of the last five minutes of the movie, that is the only reference in the whole movie to Christmas, yet this movie has been branded a Christmas movie. To me, in terms of Christmas movies, it does not belong in the same category (or class) as Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, A Christmas Story, and yes, Even Home Alone, Parts I and II. I will give it one thing, the ending to this movie is truly one of the best of any movie ever made. But to me, a movie has to have more than a good ending with a Christmas setting to be called either a classic movie or a Christmas movie. Oh well, the minority has spoken.
Each Man's life touches so many other lives , when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole
This film is Great ,, Although the title maybe misleading .. Life is really Tough . It's wonderful Life and that you made to other people not necessarily for you ( Like a candle burning yourself for others to shine )

This film is about how a man can affect others lives , But in real life this isn't necessarily for good .. If he were to be a bad guy we wouldn't have got the same impression and affection of this movie ..

Another thing , I think the build up for the ending of the film was quite long that may make you feel little bored , Although it was necessary to show his achievements but I think the final part with the angel should have been much longer .. But anyway The idea was strong enough to hit me in the face and keep me thinking about what my life means not for me only but for other people as well

This film is quite unique and I don't regret watching it although I may felt bored in the middle of it

Acting was superb , Music was good , The Idea was impressive ( reminded me of Cloud Atlas by the way )

Appreciate your small details that you may think They are NOTHING , because for others they might be EVERYTHING :))
Dangerous movie to see with you wife
The beginning was so so, but later we saw so many things we could talk about, to compare with nowadays.

Also, be careful - I just got into argument with my wife about wife's role in family. Almost went in fight.

You have been warned. Maybe you find something else to discuss/fight about.
It makes you stop to think about your own wonderful life...
On one crisp December evening, two decades ago, my husband and I celebrated our very first Christmas together as a married couple. One of our yearly traditions, which we established that very Christmas season, has been to settle in front of the TV with a large bowl of popcorn and sodas for a quiet evening enjoying the holiday classics.

That evening, my husband flipped the channels and excitedly noted the film "It's a Wonderful Life" had just started playing. After learning that I'd never seen it, my hubby enthusiastically said, "You have to watch this movie - it's one of the best films EVER."

I guess my prejudice toward black-and-white TV was rearing its ugly head. I was in no mood to watch a dated film that I thought was of no relevance to us. I encouraged my hubby to see if he could find one of the many holiday classics that we enjoyed as kids growing up in the late 1960s, early 1970s timeframe.

My husband chuckled and said, "Trust me, you'll love this story. It's about this guy, George Bailey, who..." After relating a brief synopsis of the film, he warned me that I might find the first 45 minutes or so to be slow-moving. Still, he encouraged me to pay attention closely. "Remember everything happening now to this guy, George," he advised, "It'll pay off in the second part of the film."

As I watched George struggle with his devoted wife to raise their kids and pay the bills, report to a job that he never really wanted, battle his devious nemesis Mr. Potter, and yearn for a life that might have been, I thought - okay, there are some universal themes here. But this was a Christmas film? I couldn't make the connection, and really wasn't in the mood to continue watching anything that wasn't about Christmas.

I was getting ready to go into the other room to finish my Christmas wrapping when, suddenly, finally, it was Christmas Eve in George Bailey's little world. I remembered looking at that serene little town, decorated for Christmas and bathed in fluffy white snow, and wishing that I lived in such a place.

And just as my husband had promised, over the course of the next several minutes, everything started to come together. By the end of the film, as I watched George Bailey come to the realization, with his cherished family and lifelong friends gathered around him under his Christmas tree that George Bailey, representing every man and woman, ultimately realized that he surely had had a wonderful life. I wiped away a happy tear from my eye, knowing I'd viewed something very special.

Then two and then four Christmases later, as I sat in a rocking chair, at first with our newborn baby girl and then her baby brother, I watched It's a Wonderful Life with my babies. I have subsequently repeated this tradition with friends and relatives of all ages. Many of them, like me at first thought they were dealing with an out-of-touch film from the mid-1940s, only to come to realize the timeless, wonderful gift we've all been given by Frank Capra.

Since Christmas 1985, I have watched "It's a Wonderful Life" countless times. I agree with many other viewers - it is not only hands-down, the best Christmas movie, but perhaps my most favorite movie of all. I love and cherish it for so many reasons, perhaps most of all because it really makes you stop to think about what's important in your own life.

And the most special moments of all are those times when I get to share "It's a Wonderful Life," as my husband did that one Christmas so long ago, with someone who is watching the film for the very first time.
Superb. Few films touch the heart like this one.
I saw this movie when I was much younger than I am today and I rated it about a 7/10 back then. Having just recently seen it again, it stands in my top 10. This film really does hit home on so many levels, it's sentimental and heart warming. Times were different back then but I think as we get older this film really stands as a testament to how we should cherish life. Older audience's will understand this film at its very core as opposed to a younger generation, no doubt.
One Of The Best Movie Ever Made
Absolutely, It's A Wonderful Life is in my top 5 movies of all time. Frank Capra also in my top 5 directors of all generation. Yet, James Stewart is one of my favorite actor. This was the best formation ever. Indisputably, Capra, without any serious contemplation, exalted as one of the most talented drama-director ever borne in this world. He was a master of film-maker. Any movies he touch, will always persist as classic for the next generation. It's A Wonderful Life, Casablanca, and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington was the prove. They were all masterpiece.

The performance by two leads was Hollywood's's classic. Yet the plot was magnificent, i know this movie will be something since i watch the prologue (the bell ringing and narration). This plot style is one of the best, wide and depth but simple in complexity. Then it is bonded with strong drama-background. A man regret his life because of the problems within him. This film has very high moral impact to the audience. Maybe this is one of the most influential movie ever. This movie is about thanking your life to god.

To be honest, this film was one of the most inspirational for me. This was one of movies that shaped my character. One of my good character and habits comes from this film. It shaped my moral. It taught me so many lessons in my life. How to struggle in the hard times, how to enjoy and share the happiness with others, how to become a good ones, how to diminish my bad feelings to others, and the most important thing is, how to always thanking my life, because without it, i wouldn't meet the person i truly love now, i don't know what is it to love and to be loved by someone you truly care, i wouldn't know of these feelings. Of course in our life, we will face the hard times sometimes, maybe for some people most of their live is hard times. But always remember, if you ever regret your life and choose not to live, you wouldn't feel the joy anymore. And don't forget, a small happiness can erase the whole pain you got before. Life is wonderfully beautiful.
An all time masterpiece!
I have watched the movie twice. The first time i was not prepared for anything. I realized that it was not just a Christmas movie, but also a study on human relationships. It describes how the choices we make in life have an impact to ourselves and to other people, regardless if the choice is what we really want. The true value in life is having people that you love. All the other things, simply do not count, and that's why the choices we make in life, forced or not, false or not, are not so important, given that they do not concern the people we love. Only the choices regarding the people we love must be right and not forced. The second time i watched the movie i cried not only because of it's quality, but also because i had forgotten the above message, and the movie reminded it to me for second time. I decided to write this review in order to never forget it again and say to everyone "do yourself a favor and watch this movie".
The enduring classic for all time.
I once read that It's A Wonderful Life is the holiday gift for all time. Never a truer statement has been made about one of the most popular films to have ever been made.

The Plot is a simple one that has since been regurgitated and trundled out almost yearly it feels like. James Stewart plays George Bailey, an all round swell fella, who because of a number of life's circumstances finds himself forever a resident of Bedford Falls. Here he is the principal guy in the running of the family Building & Loan business. When a substantial amount of money goes missing during the run up to Christmas, Bailey finds himself at the mercy of family nemesis, and nefarious town banker, Mr. Potter {Lionel Barrymore}. But George, tipped over the edge by an incident involving the bank funds, has an idea that taking his own life would greatly improve the fortunes of his family and the family business. But as he stands at the precipice of death by suicide, George is saved by his guardian angel Clarence {Henry Travers} and given the chance to see what Bedford Falls would be like having not had George Bailey's influence.

Few, if any, directors have rivalled Frank Capra when it comes to successfully portraying the human heart on screen. It's A Wonderful Life is Capra's masterpiece. Rightly so, it is unashamedly sentimental, but also it's rich with the directors faith in community spirit and a belief in the strong bond of family love. The story is loosely worked from "The Greatest Gift," a Phillip Van Doren Stern story that he had sent to his friends as a Christmas card. Aided on screen writing duties by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett {Dalton Trumbo is in there sometimes too}, Capra fashioned an ultimate feel good movie that is flecked by sheer darkness and disconcerting "life is tough" undertones. It's most likely that the more dark side of the film, and the wait for Christmas cheer, is what made It's A Wonderful Life a flop on its release. The film made a huge loss, tho not quite as gargantuan as many today believe, and was quickly consigned to the forgotten bin. But annual yuletide repeats on television over the following decades garnered it a cult following. A cult following that eventually swelled to a near universal one, to the point that now Christmas just wouldn't be the same without it. It is by definition, the ultimate comeback movie.

Tho all the cast are superb {special mention to Donna Reed as George's wife, Mary} it's Stewart who leads the way in the class stakes. As he drifts from homely, lovable dreamer, a man sacrificing those dreams for others to benefit. To his descent into despair and the undertaking of a nightmarish odyssey, Stewart captivates in every frame, and more telling is that he is believable with each transformation of George's state of mind. However, when all is said and done, it's with the ending that basically the film rewards those who have trusted in Capra and Jimmy. It's an ending warm enough to melt the coldest of hearts. So see it with someone you love {always nice to have someone else to cry with} or introduce it to the poor souls who haven't seen it yet. Either way, it's here to stay forever the timeless classic that it so most certainly is. 10/10
You Can't beat the Classics.
God forbid if they ever attempt to remake this movie in any way. I know they probably already have in different versions and ways of telling the story, but this is a movie that will never die. Like everyone else, I and my family watch this movie every Christmas eve. It's like a tradition in a lot of families who celebrate Christmas. The best thing about it, is that this movie never gets old. You know the story, you know what is going to happen every Christmas you watch this. But this movie has a very deep meaning to it that a lot of movies in the history of film DON'T have. Every Christmas eve I watch this it gets me in the perfect Christmas mood, and makes me forget about all the worries, problems, and struggles I have to put up with in life. This movie teaches me that everyone in the world can make a difference, and that everyone, no matter who you are has a purpose of existing. Even when its not the holiday season, I'll just watch a couple scenes of this movie just to put me in a good mood anyway. They just can't make movies like this anymore that teach you a very meaningful lesson. Even to people who don't celebrate Christmas can still enjoy this film. I can't wait for Christmas this year, for it is my favorite time of the year, and the time to be very happy in life.
Absolute Masterpiece
'It's a Wonderful Life' is one of the best movies of all time. It is directed by Frank Capra and starring movie legends such as Donna Reed and James Stewart.

It's a Wonderful Life shows the life of George Bailey, a kind, caring man. You see him right from childhood and even then he is giving to people. As he grows older, he has dreams of traveling. However, after a series of unfortunate events, he can't go on the trips as he has always wanted and he has to look after the family business - the bank. George gets tied down with a family and feels trapped in a world in which he doesn't want to belong and he finds himself trying to commit suicide.

This is a beautiful, touching yet dark film. You see so many emotions, attitudes and values in this such as envy, love, corruption, joy, hope, faith and despair, all beautifully portrayed by the actors. It runs along at a fast pace and has a beginning, middle and an end. It also has a moral, which is lacking in so many movies today.

It's A Wonderful Life is absolutely universal and timeless (you can enjoy it whether you are 8 or 80). I watched this when I was 12 and it became one of my favorite movies, which I know watch every Christmas. It sums up everything that Christmas is about.
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