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It's a Wonderful Life
Year:
1946
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Family
IMDB rating:
8.7
Director:
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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Reviews
A wonderful film. One of best i've seen
This is one of my favorite movies of all time and a Christmas tradition in my household. This film is about sacrifice for the greater good. George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) having big ideas of the world around him and continually puts his desires behind the good of the town. Another thing this movie shows perfectly that no matter how insignificant we feel, we are all linked to each other and play a important part in each others lives. After George looses his way and a angel shows what the world would be like without him he soon realizes how important he was to the people and town around him. This will always be considered a classic in cinema and a great movie to watch every year during Christmas. So we can all remember the good and bad of the present year and when new years comes around we try to make the next year better for others and ourselves. This is a must see for any family or fan of cinema.
2012-11-08
It's a Wonderful Life!!
Juggling with your emotions union first viewing, you really do not know what kind of film you are in for her. "It's a Wonderful Life" follows George Bailey as he starts up a banking company, get's married, and becomes one of the wealthiest men in town. What is hidden in the background is that his status is all about to change when the company loses all of it's money, right before Christmas. Debating suicide, George is then shown by his guardian angel, what life would have been like for the town if he hadn't been born. The payoff to this film is one of the most emotionally satisfying endings to any film I think I have ever seen. It really makes you appreciate life no matter how harsh, easy, brutal, or depressing it can be. Life can be happy as long as you make it that way. Terrific screenplay, amazing direction, great camera-work, and a cast that brought me to tears by the end, "It's a Wonderful Life" is one of the definitive Christmas movies. Halfway through this film, you may question if it seems worth watching all the way through, because it almost feels like a different film, but it is all worth it in the end. Brilliant film all around.

George Bailey is a man with many hopes and dreams. However, his sacrifices, economic woes, and the achievements of his brother, Harrry, get in the way. On Christmas Eve, a frustrated Geroge Bailey is visited by a guardian angel named Clarence who gives him a new, and not so pleasant, look on his life.

It's A Wonderful Life is a film that should not be missed. I found it to be a perfect movie with fantastic performances, an original plot, and awesome build up. If you haven't sat down to watch it this Christmas season, you're making a big mistake, my friend.

The film features an array of top notch performances. The highlight of the film is James Stewart in his Oscar nominated role as George Bailey. Despite his behavior in the film's third act, he is a very likable character and we learn to feel for him during his tribulations. His performance is excellent. He will have you at the edge of your seat in some moments. That is a sign of a great actor. Donna Reed, who plays George's gorgeous wife, Mary, is great as well. My favorite of the entertaining supporting cast was Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter. One of the greatest jerks to ever grace the silver screen. You're going to fall in love with Henry Travers by the end of the film. Believe me when I say that. The cast is marvelous.

Where do I begin with the script? It's practically flawless because the film features a simple story and the entire film builds up to the final act. Frank Capra's script features classic dialogue that is both heartfelt and funny. One of ym favorite dialogue sequences involves George telling Mary that he'll lasso the moon for her. How romantic. I'm probably gonna use that line when I hit on girls. Frank Capra's direction is perfect as well. I want to explore this guy's filmography.

When I finished watching this, I came to realize why this has becomes a staple of Christmas. The film shows how wonderful your life can be and I think Christmas is probably the most perfect time of year to reflect on it. We learn from George Bailey and how he values his life. When the powerful moral hits us, we learn how we can imporve upon our lives. I like to reflect on what I did over the year around Chrsitmas time and this is the movie that accommodates that. Plus, it's at the very end of the year so it works perfectly. It's A Wonderful Life is a perfect movie with fantastic performacnes, build up, a nice score, and an amazing moral. Inspirational and enjoyable. Watching this movie is something I plan to make a Christmas tradition. A truly wonderful and beautiful movie. Go watch it now! And have a box of Kleenex in hand when you do.

Merry Christmas, RT Community!

"That's why all children should be girls."
2016-02-16
Notes from my recent intro, I have five favorite scenes...
Notes from my recent intro, I have five favorite scenes: the shared phone call; the hat tipping rainwater in the doorway; the prayer at the bar; when snow starts falling again on the bridge and the brother toast in the closing scene. IAWL partially succeeds because of its small town charm and values. James Stewart was from a small town -- Indiana, Pennsylvania (now his museum needs a Capra miracle). You may not know this but Stewart was a real WWII hero, enlisting as a private in 1941. He flew over 20 missions and when he finally retired from the reserves it was as a brigadier general. (true story) Frank Capra was from a small town, Bisacquino, Sicily and during WWII he made a series of films called, Why We Fight. And on a personal note, Frank Capra is my favorite director because his movies inspire me. Back in the 1980's I used to write him and call him on our birthdays to chat. Donna Reed in real life was an Iowa farm girl. She sweetens the film and is lovely, innocent and pure representing both Stewarts reward and proof that he made the right choice. Trivia: "The Greatest Gift" story did not sell so the author Philip Van Doren Stern had copies printed and included them in the Christmas cards he sent out in 1943. Just like The Wizard Of Oz, IAWL did not cover its high cost upon its original release and was deemed a box office flop. And although Oscar nominated for Best Film, Director and Star it received no Academy Awards. Frank Capra wrote in his autobiography that he closed his book on the film. He thought his dream was over… But something had happened, fans found the film and wrote to him, mostly praising some complaining but they kept writing. Decades later he was still answering letters, but the studio forgot about the film and it fell into public domain. In the 1970s, hundreds of TV stations started to play it every holiday season because they did not have to pay royalties. And so people had the chance to see it more than once and with repeated viewings word of mouth began to build and spread. But I'm here to tell you it's not the only one. There are dozens, no make that hundreds of films nearly this good just waiting to be discovered. I'll toss out a few titles: MEET JOHN DOE; YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU; MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON; LOST HORIZON and MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN. Anybody know who directed those masterpieces? I have a hand written letter I got back in the 1980s that reads,"Dear Larry, Frank Capra was a fine director with high ideals who was able to put them up on the big screen without preaching. Sincerely, James Stewart." Well find some friends & family to watch it with you and then sit back for some fun, and enjoy this gift from Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart. Or better yet, see it the way they meant for it to be shared, on THE BIG SCREEN just before Christmas. And one last thing, I am sure they would want me to wish you … be sure to have a Wonderful Life!
2010-12-27
After a life of goodness a man gets pushed to the end of his rope - see what helps
Life hits us all pretty hard at times! At those times what brings us back to clear thinking? What makes life wonderful again?

**Talking Points - Which is the most important end in life? Making tons of money? Doing the most good? Something else? What are your dreams in life? What are your highest priorities? What things in life produce the greatest happiness? Does your reputation matter? Is being down and desperate at times an experience that at one time or another hits most of humanity? What can you do when it hits you? What are proper and improper ways to discipline children? Can activities be more fun when you have family with you? Should you love and respect your mom? How best can you show her that? Does love sometimes build slowly? Is it worth waiting for?
2017-06-07
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.
2017-08-21
Must watch movie
Another masterpiece of James Stewart, Donna Reed the most romantic duo.i got myself eyed into these fine illustrious events hopes dreams of George bailey.could not lift myself from the chair.it really made me think over my life philosophy to rejuvenate the enthusiasm.the turnaround of events were not as dramatic though enjoyed every bit of it. that's why it may not be able to compete The The Shawshank Redemption...whatsoever.It's a film that you can enjoy sitting with every level of people.Marvelous fantastic though lacked a tiny little bit of Extreme Dramatic flavor.I can just mark 10 just only for the characterization,acting staging...what a good film must have.
2015-08-20
It's a Wonderful Life
Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is like a photo negative (or positive) of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The Ebenezer Scrooge character in Capra's film, Mr. Potter (played perfectly by Lionel Barrymore), rather than occupying the position of the main character, is the antagonist. The protagonist in the film is the Bob Cratchit character from Dickens' story, a man named George Bailey (played perfectly by Jimmy Stewart). The supernatural (or imaginary) visions and visitations in A Christmas Carol comprise the bulk of the story, whereas the same in It's a Wonderful Life take up less than fifteen percent of the movie's screen time, although it seems like much more. In A Christmas Carol, we have an extremely unlikable central character, who is shown what the world would be like if he doesn't change; in It's a Wonderful Life, we have an immensely likable central character, who is shown what the world would be like if he had never existed. This second part of the film—in which George's guardian angel Clarence (a delightful Henry Travers) shows George how "each man's life touches so many other lives"—is a fun-house-mirror look back at the first part—a fantasy that resembles a rough night of drinking: fun and frivolous at first—then serious, painful, and dire in the end. The first part of the film, which inhabits more than eighty percent of its screen time, tells George's life story: his abundant acts of altruism, which enable the continual thwarting of his repeatedly voiced ambitions; his continuation of his father's fiscal and ideological battle with Potter, in the name of the Bailey Building and Loan, an institution that represents the "community" side of the film's diatribe against the form of unbridled, unrelenting, anti-humanistic "capitalism" represented by Potter's monopolistic business interests; and George's union with Mary, his lifelong sweetheart, and their settling down in that quaint, provincially idyllic American town named Bedford Falls, which George had seemed so insistently focused on shedding like a cheap suit. The sad, decadent, cold, flashy, Vegas-like imagining of Bedford Falls sans George Bailey convinces him (and us) that his heart is much bigger than his ambition, and it belongs to the members of his hometown. The final sequence jerks buckets of tears, not through manipulation, but through the genuine redemption of a man whose life of selfless acts repays him in a way that only a town like Bedford Falls can.
2012-11-12
Don't read reviews about this film. Just watch it.
Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" is simply a masterpiece. A perfect film.

There's no need to take it apart scene by scene or examine its plot, its themes or do a character study of George Bailey. No need to attach more meaning than was intended, to imagine symbols where they don't exist, or to ignore the ones that do. No need at all. For if you are one of the many, the growing many who cannot watch this film without tasting tears, tears of joy, tears of sadness, then you know exactly what I am talking about - that further discussion would only serve to diminish the film's beauty.

There are few films that are in this category, that hit notes as true as this. "Casablanca" is one, "It's a Wonderful Life" is another, where everything comes together, where magic is not only seen in one scene, but in every scene, every line, every look and moment in the film. Pure magic. That's what this is, folks. Pure magic. It's the stuff dreams are made of.

And the less talk about it the better. We talk too much nowadays, anyway.

Just watch it and let it move you to joy, to tears, and tears of joy.
2012-12-24
An inspirational heartwarming experience. A Timeless Classic!
George Bailey is a man with goals, ambitions - a man of courage, integrity and pride. But all he has ever done his whole life is assist those in need, never for a second thinking about himself. Wanting to see the world before he sets off to college for an architect degree, he finds that he can't let his town crumble against the miserable, hateful, greedy and powerful 'Potter' and so he decides to stay. His father passes away, and so he must find a way to run the 'Loans' business that his father has kept from the mad man 'Potter'. All goes well for Bailey - a beautiful wife, a few children and a lot of friends. Although still handing out loans like his father before him, he pursues his dream of building and constructs a home village with affordable houses despite Potter's mass influence on the township. Unfortunately for Bailey, things begin to point downhill following the Depression and later bankruptcy where Bailey just can't handle the weight of burden of all the people's money he cannot repay. He comes to the harrowing conclusion that he should never have been born and decides to leave his family and friends and take his own life off a bridge. But the world cannot dispose of itself such a man, so god sends an Angel on a mission to get its wings, or better yet to save George Bailey's life. The Angel shows George what life would have been like had he not been born at all and of what became of the people he took dearly. Miserable under Potter's absolute influence, the town looks like an over indulgent, over spent, money making machine. George gets a glimpse of his own powerful influence on his friends and family and realises just what a wonderful life he really had.

Few films have portrayed the value (not the meaning) of life like 'It's a Wonderful Life' has. In contemporary times, we have been fed with recycled stories such as "The Family Man" and "It can happen to you", but none have captured the raw beauty of life like the original, "It's a wonderful Life"- its success partly due to its simplicity. And it sustains your attention from start to finish due to its simple and riveting storytelling. Sets aren't big, the story is quite small and the film is in black and white.

What makes this film stand taller than others is the great dialog between the characters which consistently remains on the story throughout the film and not on irrelevant topics - this is what keeps us glued to the screen (unlike with modern films, most of the dialog is blabber about nothing). The acting is superb from the whole cast, but you have got to hand it to James Stewart for one of the best performances of his career portraying the discouraged George Bailey - arguably his best performance - and one of the best performances you will see in any film. What I really love about this film is the lack of music, which gives a sense of realism to the story, like we are there with the characters in George Bailey's world.

Frank Capra creates an unforgettable atmospheric experience that remains tattooed in your memory years after viewing. The outdated effects aside, this film has stood the test of time as a timeless classic. The direction was subtle and superb - rarely equaled and I think this film is best in Black and White, even though they already had color in 1939, seven years before this masterpiece was released.

I recommend this film to anybody who feels down and depressed, sad and lonely. It really makes you think about the importance and beauty of this life in which you are living. All I can say is that I will be watching this film yearly until the day that I die due to its poignancy. A real classic in cinema history. It really is a wonderful Life!
2005-01-10
Capra's most cynical movie, and why he's right.
Criticizing It's A Wonderful Life is almost an act of treason in this country, but if ever a movie deserved a closer look, it's this one.

Far from being a celebration of the importance of the individual, or of small-town life, "It's a Wonderful Life" depicts most citizens of Bedford Falls as timorous weaklings. Moviegoers identify with the hero, George, of course, but he's the exception in this movie, not the rule. If any general lesson is to be learned from the story, it's that a willful leader is the only thing preventing ordinary small-town folk from losing not only prosperity, but morality.

The evidence is plain: Without George Bailey to hold the town together, it becomes Pottersville, which is a Hays Code version of Gomorrah. The townsfolk haven't got the courage or sense to manage their own affairs without a leader. In Bedford Falls, that's either corrupt Potter or long-suffering George. The only other characters with any backbone are Harry Bailey and Sam Wainwright, and they both left town. What remains are virtual ciphers like Mr. Gower, Uncle Billy, Ernie, and Bert.

America doesn't exactly burst at the seams with self-reliant citizens, according to Frank Capra. So why does this movie merit a healthy 7 rating? Two reasons:

1. Because it has undeniable power. Capra was a good director-- but a great propagandist. He made patriotic short films for the U.S. Army from 1942 until 1948-- and "It's a Wonderful Life" was made in 1946, smack in the middle of that period. The film is a masterpiece of manipulation. People love it, watch it over and over again every year, never noticing that its real message is deeply cynical, presenting little hope for mankind, and almost no faith in it. Indeed, it is almost fascistic in the way it champions the idea of a single leader (or worse, divine intervention) taking charge over ineffectual ordinary middle class people.

2. Because Capra proves himself right with his own movie. As an influential leader/filmmaker, he is skilled enough to make generations of sheep-like Americans cry and cheer at his movies, no matter how much he insults us.
2009-07-28
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