It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG   |    |  Drama, Family, Fantasy


It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Poster

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

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8.6/10
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  • James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • James Stewart and Donna Reed in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • James Stewart and Donna Reed in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • James Stewart and Donna Reed in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • James Stewart and Donna Reed in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • Frank Capra in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

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Reviews & Commentary

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11 February 2002 | Aidan McGuinness
9
| Best feel good movie ever? Quite possibly.
Here's a new definition of cold-hearted: a man or woman who remains completely untouched by the 1946 Capra classic "It's a Wonderful Life". You can't not be moved by this wonderful little gem.

The acting is all great. One of the film's greatest strengths for me is making George Bailey - the star of the movie played by James Stewart - a nice normal man. He's not perfect and that's pretty much essential to the film's success because Bailey could be *any* man. The lesson of the movie is fairly simple - we all have our role to play in the world and we are all important. Most movies would make this into a schmaltzy affair but Capra delivered a touching, heart warming tale. Bailey consistently denies himself to allow others to live as he sacrifices his life to make sure people can have enough money to avoid having to sell-their-soul in debt to the evil H. Potter (alas not a Harry Potter...). His complete and utter humility is great - he doesn't see how much he accomplished until his guardian angel Clarence shows him. Again Clarence isn't played in the usual clichéd manner but more as a believable character who honestly loves Bailey for his strengths.

The movie is a success because you can't but want Bailey to succeed. The manner in which he does could be classified as corny but, because it's so deserved, that doesn't matter. The music, the set pieces, all the touches add to a wonderful movie and give you hope that life can indeed also be wonderful. A lovely mood-lifter. 8.8/10.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2004 the BBC TV listings magazine "Radio Times" conducted a poll into the Best Film Never to Have Won an Oscar. It's a Wonderful Life (1946) came second (The Shawshank Redemption (1994) was first).


Quotes

Mr. Emil Gower: I owe everything to George Bailey. Help him, dear Father.
Giuseppe Martini: Joseph, Jesus and Mary. Help my friend, Mr. Bailey.
Ma Bailey: Help my son, George, tonight.
Bert: He never thinks about himself, God, that's why he's in trouble.
Ernie Bishop: George is a good guy. Give him a break, God.
Mary: ...


Goofs

When George and Mary are throwing rocks at the dilapidated house on the way home from the dance, as George throws his rock, the window that Mary is supposed to throw a rock at is missing. Then when Mary gets ready to throw her rock, the window is there.


Crazy Credits

A ringing facsimile of the Liberty Bell (without the crack) forms the backdrop for the studio logo, which is Liberty Films, and the opening credits are in a scrapbook with Christmas decorations. The bell reappears before the end credits, and the end credits have a Christmas card picture as a backdrop.


Alternate Versions

The film was colorized three times. The first colorized version of the film was produced by Hal Roach Studios (now Sonar Entertainment), the second by Republic Pictures. A third colorization of the film was produced by Legend Films for Paramount, the film's current copyright holder, in 2007.


Soundtracks

This Is the Army, Mr. Jones
(1943) (uncredited)
Written by
Irving Berlin

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Family | Fantasy

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