- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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The Greatest Christmas Classic
Not very long ago, when I was a little kid, I would watch Christmas "classics" such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. I loved these movies and the stories they told, which got me excited for Christmas and Santa's arrival. To me, that was the meaning of Christmas: presents under a tree, nothing more than that. But now that I am older, I understand that Christmas is so much more. It's a Wonderful Life is a shining demonstration of the true meaning of Christmas. Throughout the movie, George Bailey constantly feels as if fate is his enemy: his dreams of going to college and becoming an architect are ruined, he has to give up his honeymoon, and he feels as if no one appreciates him. But all of George's sacrifices have monumental impacts. He is able to save his family business by bypassing college, and help families in need of money by not going on a honeymoon. And as George realizes when the angel Clarence shows him the world without him, the community of Bedford Falls depends on him to keep going. Without George, the whole town would fall apart. When he returns, George is able to learn the true meaning of Christmas: helping others however you can, whenever you can, as much as you can. This meaning rings true during the whole year, not just in wintertime, the only time "Santa" comes to visit. And George also realizes that he has everything he needs: his family and friends. I would like to thank my grandpa for introducing me to this wonderful movie, which is his favorite of all time, and for taking our family to the radio play last December. Grandpa, thank you for helping me learn the true meaning of Christmas.
Black and White version much better.
- DON RILEY
The only negative is this must be seen in Black and White. I tried to watch the colorized and it was not the same film. I watched the film for about the 8th or 9th time and still was fighting back tears at the ending. Also there is much in this film to digest an immense amount of meaning and intelligence. Also I feel this is the greatest achievement in the career of Lionel Barrymore, that I've seen. That character is so well constructed and perfectly portrayed. The best way to watch this film is to watch it with someone who you love (family or friends). It becomes a fulfilling experience.
- Richard Bysina
There's virtually nothing I can add to the dozens of reviews posted here about "It's a Wonderful Life", and the kudos for Frank Capra's direction and James Stewart's performance as George Bailey. There is one thing, however: a commemorative Christmas stamp in honor of this film classic. In the early '90s I was circulating a petition to try to persuade the United States Postal Service to issue such a stamp to coincide with, and certainly celebrate, the 50th anniversary of this movie in 1996. I was never given a reason why the Commemorative Stamp Committee rejected the idea. Maybe because Stewart was still living (he died the following year at age 89). Now the 75th anniversary of the film will be in 2021. So if anyone has any ideas, feel free to send them to the USPS. To my granddaughter Julia, this is the eleventh of my 12 movies about love I'm recommending that you see, which you now have in your possession, as part of my year-long 12th birthday present to you. It's the only movie of the 12 that you and I have watched together, at least partially, last Christmas. And when I met with Karolyn Grimes (Zuzu) at a local Chicago suburban theater last month, she signed the iconic "It's a Wonderful Life" Christmas tree photo of her in the arms of Jimmy Stewart, along with Donna Reed, writing "To Julia, What a wonderful 12th birthday present." Cherish it. Love, Grandpa
Hollywood's "golden age"
- kevin sellers
Ah, yes. Let us join Jeff in celebrating the Golden Age of Hollywood, which was especially shiny if you were male, white, and sexually repressed.
- Jeff Boston
Our exceptional nation has been slowly-but-surely sliding down the slope, gradually becoming more and more like one big Pottersville in so many wicked ways. The Golden Age of Hollywood was when the Hays Code was at its peak in power and influence, and it was when our One Nation, under God, was at its peak in not everything, but almost everything that matters. Frank Capra complained ad nauseum about the 1960s, the Decade of Decadence, as did Jimmy Stewart. Both would have wanted to do a "George Bailey" off a bridge if around today.
- Christie Davis
I remember that when I was growing up every year around Christmas time AETN always would play It's A Wonderful Life.But now a days everything is so different. My husband grew up without a tv so he never got to experience this classic. And now it doesn't play every year like back then. I will purchase this classic some time in the future so he can experience it and I just love watching it and it has been so long since I've seen it.
- kevin sellers
Yes, it's a great holiday movie, but you can watch it on a torrid day in June and be just as entertained and moved. The only criticism I have is that Capra equates sex with sin (i.e. all the strip clubs in the decadent Pottersville, as if a naked female were as much of an abomination as a greedy banker) Goddamn Hays Office really messed up the American film industry. Give it an A.
It's a Wonderful Life
The quintessential Christmas film. A suicidal man is shown how much he affected the lives of his friends and family in his small town. Stewart was Oscar-nominated for his role, showing a darker side he would explore in Anthony Mann's films, Barrymore excels as the miserly Mr. Potter and Reed deserved a nomination as Stewart's childhood sweetheart. Director Capra touches so acutely to the human psyche that it can play on the emotions of anyone watching it. An inspiration, touching, comedic Christmas film that's a mandatory must-see! I give it a 5/5.
It's (still) a Wonderful Life
- Mr. Blandings
I already reviewed and rated this film some time ago, but as I just watched it again today I had to comment again. (BTW, I watched it on DVD. Due to current copyright holdings, TCM hasn't had the rights to air this film, and hasn't for the past several years now ... so please don't blame them for not scheduling it). This film is just so amazing and ahead of its time. It starts out as basically a drama that turns into almost a science-fiction film exploring the alternate-reality scenario. (And you can clearly see the influence it had on more modern films like "Back to the Future: Part II" and "Groundhog Day." As well, nearly every television series has done a "wonderful life" treatment on one of its characters at one time or another). James Stewart's performance is just so powerful and riveting; he should have won Best Actor for it. I'm not easily moved in films but this one had me fighting back the tears on several occasions; this film and Capra should have won Best Picture and Director. At least today it is appreciated for the great film it is. Again, it was ahead of its time, and it remains just as fresh and relevant today as ever. *****
It's A Wonderful Life missing in December 2012
- Bronx Girl
Ever since the first time I had the honor of watching "It's A Wonderful Life" during the holidays I was instantly hooked. Since then EVERY year I have relied on TCM to view this amazing movie during the holiday season. However, to my absolute disbelief I was disappointed to learn that the movie is nowhere in the line-up for December 2012. It's A Wonderful Life is a classic movie with subject matters that would never become obsolete. It gives you the warm and fuzzy feeling while reminding you of what is most important in life. I am a faithfully regular TCM viewer who would never expect this movie to be snubbed during the holidays of all seasons. Why now?I ask that TCM includes It's A Wonderful Life a few times during their holiday season in the coming years. It would be awesome to continue my tradition, while introducing my family to this movie. I could always watch it on DVD, but its just not the same.Sincerely,A TCM WATCHER FOR LIFE
Christmas Carol isn't just a holiday story
Scrooge last words to his final visitor of that fateful night. If a man changes the course of his life can it alter his fate. And in his case it does. A second chance is given to hiim. But a question for the ages is why him and not Marley?
I Love This Movie
This movie, along with "Miracle On 34th St" and "A Christmas Carol" (Alistair Sims (sp?) is among the best Christmas films ever made. The new Christmas movies are okay, but nothing can stand up to the old classics. I wait every year just to watch these great movies and I was very disappointed to see that TCM does not have "It's A Wonderful Life" on it's December schedule. What a pity that others of a different generation will not get to experience (and benefit from the moral) the thrill of seeing this terrific movie. I hope TCM will change it's mind next year and include it in it's Christmas movie scheduling.
Greatest Christmas Movie Ever
- Kurt B.
I think this is the best Holiday film ever made, and one of James Stewarts best roles behind Rear Window and Vertigo, great film I give it 5/5 check it out.
A Movie For Everyone
This movie is Jimmy Stewart's best movie. It shows just how life can be without one person that doesn't exist . It has a life lesson for all of us. Its not just for Christmas, its for all year round.
One of the best
Not only is this one of the best Christmas films of all-time but it is one of the best movies period of all-time.
Capra ropes the moon
- Mr. Blandings
Believe it or not, I hadn't seen this movie until very recently and, frankly, I was doubtful it could ever live up to the hype I'd heard about it over the years. But recently I saw most of it on TV but missed the ending and I was compelled to go out and buy it to watch it in its entirety. All I can say is that this film is incredibly engaging and heartfelt and it truly does deserve the term classic. George Bailey proves, sadly enough, that one man often makes the difference in the world because most people take the course of inaction. At the same time, the masses are dependent on the hero, the exceptional person, to save them. And being only human, the savior will often resent those they save. As usual, Capra presents the human and very real side of life, like it or not. The one thing that bothered me about the film was that Mr. Potter went unpunished for his crimes. But again, Capra is all about showing the injustices as well as the justices of life, and the point of the movie isn't about punishing people after all.
One of The Greatest
- Top Kat
This has to be one of the greatest films ever made. I can't understand why it seems to have "lost favor" among the Hollywood elite, but it will always be number 1 in the heart of Mainstreet America. Maybe it's too All-American for Hollywood today, but it satisfies like no other film.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
James Stewart and Frank Capra's magnificent careers could all be summed up into this movie. They both had great hits, but this would be their biggest. It's about George Bailey (Stewart), who dreams of having a future where he can travel around the world yet every kind and compassionate move he makes decreases the chance of that even happening. Stewart is great in this film and supporting performers Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers, and Thomas Mitchell are also at the tops of their games. Capra does a magnificent job. This isn't only a Christmas movie but a movie for any time in the year.
No Christmas is Complete Without it.
Its A Wonderful Life
- Mary Ellen
I fell in love with this movie when I was young watching it with my grandmum!! I'm 47 but thought it was such a shame that it was only shown at christmas time!! I bought the 60th anniversary edition this past christmas (2010) I love christmas time and all its wonder!! This movie I will watch all year especially when I'm feeling down. It truly lifts my spirits!!!Thank You Mr. Capera for a true gem!!!! Mary Ellen
It's A Wonderful Life.
Everyone should watch this movie, once in there life time. Just when you think your life is going down the tubes, think if George Bailey, yes it's just a movie, but it's more than a movie, it's makes you think... Because it hits close to home. I have watched this movie for over forty years, and I still don't get enough of it. It's not Christmas without it. It makes you appreciate what you have.....Everyone is so greedy, they need to appreciate what they have. Because in a blink of an eye it could be gone, and they can't take it with them....
After watching this movie over 100 times, I can't believe that the movie still invokes such emotion in me. My husband watches ME as I watch the movie, just to see my reactions, the laughter, the smiles, the tears. This movie was made for anyone who longs for a family or wants to relive family memories. It makes me want to leave in the ficticious town of Bedford Falls in the 1920s to 1940s. I feel the characters are so real to me that I know them inside and out. True, there might have been some overacting, but movies made in the 1940's were just that - dramatic, even during funny scenes. Everything was a bit overblown. But that's what I like about it. If you've never seen it, do yourself a favor and make room on your calendar for a few hours. You won't want to miss a thing, and you'll be so glad you did!
It's A Wonderful Life
This is as close to a perfect film as any movie gets. Undoubtedly the best of both Frank Capra and James Stewart. It deserves to be rated as one of the top ten (10) films ever made!
This is, undoubtedly, James Stewart's greatest film. it is also one of the GREATEST films of all time, and is considered so by many. Another story about real people and real every day problems, with a lesson in it for all of us about the importance of each and every individual life. "A man's life touches so many other lives. Without him there's an awful hole." This film will remind you why life is worth living.
This was a movie to remember
- Joe Thomas
I will never forget watching this.
This was a movie to remember
Here was a moment that i will never forget.
I enjoyed this movie.
I think this should be watched by the whole family.
This movie is real good.
- Lamonte Jones
Good for a group of friends
loved watching this
I love this movie.
I would recommend the movie to my whole family.
it's a wonderful movie
it wouldn't be christmas with out this movie. its everything that christmas is and should be.and i love the bells the angel get there wings,love this movie.
One of my favorites
Reading the comments about TCM not having the rights to this wonderful movie makes me sad that my favorite channel is incomplete. Many of these older movies are completly overlooked by the majority of Americans. TCM to me, seems almost like a public service preserving these wonderful treasures and allowing new generations to experience the amazing storytelling that used to be involved in making movies. It would be nice if TCM could show some of the classics they don't have rights to once in a while to make the story being told here more complete. I appreciate what TCM does manage to do, I just wish for perfection.
IT'S A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY CLASSIC
- Marilyn Young
In a few words a perfectly lovely movie.Add to the trivia; "When Christmas bells ring an Angel gets their wings". If this fim does not move you , you have no heart. For all the joy this film as brought to million of people everywhere-- I would like the American Film Institite to make sure that Frank Capra's memorial trust gets the back royalities it so richly deserves to make up for errors in the past.I would like to see TCM and its millions of viewers take up this cause.Thanks Marilyn Young Vancouver, Canada
Play me for Christmas!
This is one of the finest movie ever for Christmas and Jimmy Stewart. This movie is better than egg nog and is only a piece of what pumpkin pie has to offer. Nobody delivers a better message of Christmas than this movie!!!!
Yes it was a wonderful life
Always look foward to holidays so we can watch Its a wonderful life. Never miss it.thanks
ITS SIMPLY WONDERFUL
- Lisa Alves
I was seven when I first saw 'Its A Wonderful Life', all thanks to my mother. i wasn't excited to watch it, i mean, not a lot of seven years olds like watching black and white movies. but I decided to watch it. After I saw it I was in awe. i feel in love with the whole story. James Stewart was George Balley, he brought every emotion to the character. And Donna Reed, she was beautiful as always. Frank Carpa, the amazing director and producer, made everything seem so real.This story is so very important in the North American culture, and i advise every person to see.
A Classic among classics
The best film-watch it and see. I feel sorry for those who can't appreciate it.
One of the great films.
Yes, the film has a few flaws, but with its visual beauty and unusual narrative, its witty script and amazing performances, its emotional power and transcendent optimism, it is unmatched cinema. Only Capra could have taken a sentimental angel story and plumbed the depths of despair with it. Indeed, George Bailey is an altruist who resents the people whom he saves by sacrificing his dreams. He's the antithesis of the movie hero: He never gets rich, never goes on a quest, and is even denied the satisfaction of besting the villain. And yet in the end there is no doubt that it is he, not his golden boy brother Harry, or tycoon Sam Wainwright, who truly has a wonderful life. (Also of interest: This was only the second Hollywood film to deal with the idea of alternate history.)
what can you say? it's the best Christmas movie, and one of the best movies ever. Anyone who condiders it, ok, needs to watch and study it again. Jimmy Stewart is so remarkable, so is Donna Reed. It is so sweet, and so original. All of the lines in this movie go down as some of the biggest and best lines in history. It really gets you in the Christmas spirit...it did me! Merry Christmas to all!
ok movie; but that's all
I have NEVER understood why people consider this a Christmas movie, since just the end takes place at Christmas.
BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIE EVER!!!!
I am 53, married, mother of 2 daughters, 32 and 27, 4 grandchildren ages 11, 8, 5, 4. Our family began watching this movie every Christmas from the time our oldest daughter was 3 months old....we have never missed watching this at Christmas. In my opinion this movie gives us a renewal of self. Life can sometimes just not be all a bed of roses and unfortunately, we sometimes do not see the good things in our lives. This movie has been our family tradition for 32 years and is now becoming a family tradition in my daughters' homes for their children...IT IS A WONDERFUL LIFE and nice to know that some things getter better in time.
Capra corn popcorn
The facts: Jimmy Stewart gives a great performance, the character actors do their best and Frank Capra pours on his usual mixture of paranoia and homespun homilies. But the truth is this film simply makes no sense. Mr Potter does not age during the course of the film. George Bailey seems to hate not like his neighbors and the vision of the world if he did not live is preposterous. Donna Reed would not have found a single suitor in town without George? Not one person in Bedford Falls has any backbone but George? I understand that some people like to tie into this highly stratified version of American democracy but honestly this plot is nothing but a second rate version of the Christmas Carol. I enjoy this movie and I respect Frank Capra as a film maker but to be honest Mr. Smith goes to Washington and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town are his masterpieces not this sentimental but flawed film.
I am sixteen,and we have watched IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE every CHRISTMAS season for just about as long as I can remember.And the funny thing is, it never gets old!As with most CHRISTMAS films we have,it brings back memories and feelings from Christmas Past.I guess thats one of the many,many reasons I like it so much.Heres to a great Christmas movie,and one of Jimmy Stewart's best and most memorable films!
A classic family favorite
Everyone knows about this movie, because of its heartwarming tale that will lift your spirits during all seasons! This was one of Jimmy Stewart's best performances. (Must-See!)
A heartwarming, just beautiful movie with a great cast. Jimmy Stewart is a sweetheart, Donna Reed is beautiful and perfect for the role. You get chills at some of these moments in the film, particulary the part when they are listening together on the same phone. This movie is dramatic but also funny. It has it all. I love it.
Stop the TCM bashing everyone
Hello, everyone! NBC has the exclusive rights to this. I'm sure TCM would be proud to show it if they could. I can't believe it's not common knowledge that NBC owns it.
It's a Wonderful Life
- Brenda Valentine
Why was this classic not included in the list of 2006 holiday movies? I was sorely disappointed not to see it this year. I hope you will include it on an upcoming schedule.Thanks
"It`s A Wonderful Life" seems to be missing.
- Mike Joseph
Who's bright idea was it to not show "It`s A Wonderful Life" this year. Whom ever it is they need to find a new job, because they blew this one. and I also concur with a previous post that you are adding to many unworthy newer movies ti the list of clasics. If we wanted to watch those cookie cutter movies, we would watch one of the other fifty stations that show them. I watch TCM for classic movies. There used to be 2 classic movie stations but AMC is now "American Contemporary Movies", which left us only TCM. at least I hope so!!!!!
Where in the world is It's a Wonderful Life????
I would also like to know where in the world...It's a Wonderful Life is? Turner Classics not showing It's a Wonderful Life?????? Unbelievable! Isn't this supposed to be Turner CLASSICS? Please bring our favorite classics back to those who love and appreciate them.
Where is It's a Wonderful Life for Christmas?
I love this movie and it should be shown during the Christmas season. Since your station runs the movies without commercial. You need to make it a regular showing every year.I can't believe it's not showing this year.
It`s A Wonderful Life
- Beverly Bain
I cannot believe that you wouldn`t show "It`s a wonderful life," at this time of the year. Even if it hasn`t been suggested, it is a classic, and I would have suggested it myself, if I knew you wouldn`t just show it anyway. It has been on every year for as long as I can remember, and I am so disappointed. Now I must watch it Christmas Eve, on our local channel with all the commercials.Also, I am sorry that you feel that 1970 movies and on up, are considered Classic movies. If they continue to go beyond the early 60`s and still be called Classic, I will no longer have TCM in the package I now have.! Beverly Bain
The value of every man
This film is to be appreciated for its theme about appeciating our lives and contributions. But it is also a very nostalgic movie shot in black & white which depicts a community spirit and a sincerity among people at a quieter and slower time in our history. While dark at times, the ending is what counts, and I consider it the best "feel good" movie ever.
A classic in the true sense of the word...
If ever a person is lacking self esteem, just watch this movie. It shows just how much of a a positive impact one person can have on a multitude of lives.This is one of the greatest ever....
Its a Wonderful life
I don't think this movie was as good as movies by Ruth Chatterton that you never show and Bette Davis who is the greatest artist ever and will ever be.
- Dixie Galpin
The second best movie after THE WIZARD OF OZ. A real feel good movie. It may be dark,but life is dark sometimes. It always makes me feel good to see a movie like this one. Good things DO happen to good people!
Actually a DARK film.
This is actually a very dark film and a pessimistic view of the world. Despite all the "good" characters, the town is doomed to crime, penury, and lost lives, without the efforts of one good, giving man in the right place at the right time. But this is why the film appeals to more recent viewers and was not appreciated by many when it was released. George Bailey is a much better man than he thinks he is. Which tells us that we, too, can buckle down and do the right things in life, even if we doubt our own ability.
To ojc who said this movie was overrated.
Obviously you are very misinformed or just extremely unintelligent. Just because your bitternes has overtaken your soul, don't dump on people who appreciate this era of movie making. This film was rated by AFI as THE #1 movie of all times. Have you been under a rock? Now, I think they know what is good. Speaking as neither a "yuppie" nor "an aging baby boomer", I am just a person who appreciates the way things were. It was a different time back then, a simpler time and people had different values and showed respect. You need to show some respect and appreciation for Mr. Frank Capra for making this movie. I bet your idea of great movie making is Road Trip or American Pie. Stick to what you know and leave the classics to the intelligent folks.
Way overrated sentimental fare. This movie seems to be embraced by yuppies and aging baby boomers who somehow identify with the self-appointed saint George Bailey. One flaw in the story is that Bailey helps everyone but he sure as heck resents himself and everyone else for it.The weak story line and unrealistic character development leaves one grasp for some intellectual or creative straw that never materializes.Nice movie, well photographed and well acted but praised to excess.
Gotta be the best movie ever!
Certainly one of the best movies ever made, and if this isn't required viewing in every film school, it should be. I would expect this to be shown several times every December by TCM since there are legions of devotees world-wide. This movie taps in to what all of us need to remember all the time, and it does it better than any other movie I can think of.