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It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

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An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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1,259 ( 6)
Top Rated Movies #24 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Todd Karns ...
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Mary Treen ...
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Virginia Patton ...
Ruth Dakin
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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 ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, smoking and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 January 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Greatest Gift  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,180,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£49,845 (UK) (19 December 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(colorized)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the film's posters shows an illustrated George holding Mary in the air, but this scene never appears in the film. See more »

Goofs

When George walks into the Bailey Building & Loan with a wreath hooked around his arm he throws it on a desk; in the following shot its back around his arm and then drops it on the desk again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
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: I love him, dear Lord. Watch over him tonight.
Janie Bailey: Please, God, something's the matter with Daddy.
Zuzu Bailey: Please bring Daddy back.
See more »

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. See more »

Connections

Edited into High Hopes: The Capra Years (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
(pub. 1856) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1840)
Hymn by Charles Wesley (1730)
Performed by Carol Coombs
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
My favourite film
27 November 2002 | by (near London) – See all my reviews

No other film comes anywhere near to getting people to find out what things would have been like if an event had or had not taken place - Groundhog Day comes close (my second favourite) and Sliding Doors tries.

For sheer emotion this film has the lot. I have watched it over 40 times now and I still get tearful towards the end of the film. If anyone wants to find out why life is worth living, this is the one to watch.


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Message Boards

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Racist? UM Yeah. This movie did not age well dolcineadelamantra
It's a Wonderful Film? terranova222
Great message for girls who watch this film timroth
Colorized or Black and White? trailmarker3-2
To Kill a Mockingbird or It's a Wonderful Life? jp_portella13
The saddest scene in the movie... Deathbysnewsnew
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