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It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Family, Fantasy  |  7 January 1947 (USA)
8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 235,825 users  
Reviews: 665 user | 195 critic

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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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) on IMDb 8.7/10

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Top 250 #26 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins. 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 ...
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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 »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

Approved | 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)

Gross:

£682,222 (UK) (24 December 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(colorized)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam makes a fortune in plastics while Harry becomes an engineer at his father-in-law's glass factory. Both of these come out of Frank Capra's own education in chemical engineering; ironically, Capra himself was unable to find a job with his background and, like George Bailey, considered himself a failure for many years. See more »

Goofs

After Clarence disappears while being wrestled by Bert the Cop, you can see the shadow of Ernie the Cabdriver, shaking his finger. However, when the camera shows Ernie, he has both hands on the tree, and then he begins to shake his finger. 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

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: King Dinosaur (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Song of the Islands
(uncredited)
Written by Charles E. King
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

Recent Posts
Potter made it home scot-free. In 1946, how is that possible? dollvalley
Just watched it for the first time ever cliffcarson-502-470231
How was Mary able.. rhonda-gram
Will you watch this near Christmas in this year? tomasz1414-1
only guy better off if George never born jjlong-318-690757
Ernie and Bert kvanstyn
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