MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 206 this week

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

 -  Drama | Family | Fantasy  -  7 January 1947 (USA)
8.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.7/10 from 206,349 users  
Reviews: 640 user | 188 critic

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 10 Sep 2011
 
a list of 44 titles
created 18 Apr 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 31 May 2013
 
a list of 37 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 31 titles
created 7 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

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

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of It's a Wonderful Life.

User Polls

Top 250 #26 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Chicago playwright uses self-hypnosis to find the actress whose vintage portrait hangs in a grand hotel.

Director: Jeannot Szwarc
Stars: Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer
Fantasy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An angel tires of overseeing human activity and wishes to become human when he falls in love with a mortal.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An uncommonly gentle young man, who happens to have scissors for hands, falls in love with a beautiful adolescent girl.

Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After dying in a car crash a man searches the afterlife for his wife.

Director: Vincent Ward
Stars: Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr., Annabella Sciorra
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A lonely doctor who once occupied an unusual lakeside home begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.

Director: Alejandro Agresti
Stars: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Christopher Plummer
Always (1989)
Fantasy | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A romantic adventure about a legendary pilot's passion for dare-devil firefighting and his girl.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, Brad Johnson
Phenomenon (1996)
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An ordinary man sees a bright light descend from the sky, and discovers he now has super-intelligence and telekinesis.

Director: Jon Turteltaub
Stars: John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker
Groundhog Day (1993)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A weatherman finds himself living the same day over and over again.

Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A bishop trying to get a new cathedral built prays for guidance. An angel (Cary Grant) arrives, but his guidance isn't about fundraising.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven
Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.

Directors: Jean Cocteau, René Clément
Stars: Jean Marais, Josette Day, Mila Parély
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A film set in a strange afterlife way station that has been reserved for people who have committed suicide.

Director: Goran Dukic
Stars: Patrick Fugit, Shea Whigham, Tom Waits
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An IRS auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death.

Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Todd Karns ...
Samuel S. Hinds ...
Mary Treen ...
...
Virginia Patton ...
Edit

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:

Frank Capra's..."It's a Wonderful Life". See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the people who comes to George's rescue at the end is called Leon, according to the novelization. See more »

Goofs

When Mary (Donna Reed) throws her rock at an upstairs window of the dilapidated old house, the rock disappears a split second after leaving her hand, and then reappears in the distance just before crashing through the glass. The roof of the house was a matte painting, added after principal photography by the visual effects department. When Ms. Reed threw her rock (and it was her throwing it, not a stand-in), the arc of its flight was a bit too high, and it crossed the matte line for most of its travel. Consequently, it was covered up by the painting, which was added later. Apparently the live-action crew did not notice the potential problem when filming the shot. 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 church bell forms the backdrop for the studio logo, 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: The Leech Woman (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fidelis (O Come All Ye Faithful)
(uncredited)
Music attributed to John Reading
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Wonderful Film and Timeless Classic
6 December 2000 | by (Atlanta) – See all my reviews



This film has become a Christmas tradition in my family. We watch it every year and never tire of it. Frank Capra is a master of creating films with a message that reinforce strong values. This is probably his greatest film in that regard. Both he and Stewart have publicly stated that this is their favorite film.

The message in this film is one of courage and sacrifice for the greater good as George Bailey, a man with big ideas about seeing the world, continually forsakes his own desires to do what is right for the town. The second message is that each life important. No matter how insignificant we feel we are, we are all inextricably linked to each other and play an important part in the fabric of one another's lives.

Capra's direction is brilliant. His genius is bringing human stories to life in a ways that not only make a point, but that totally involve the audience in the lives of the characters. He is always extremely optimistic about the human condition. He is known for testing his characters with overwhelming adversity to make them struggle to triumph in a way that causes the world to change and the character to grow. For this reason his films were always crowd pleasers and this film was the best of all in that regard.

Led by Capra's understanding hand, the actors all did a magnificent job. Stewart's wide-eyed enthusiasm and boyish charm, coupled with an unbending strength of character made him the perfect folk hero. Donna Reed was lovely and charming and attained the right balance between being supportive and inspirational. The romantic chemistry between her and Stewart was subtle and charming. Lionel Barrymore was towering as the greedy old skinflint who was trying to take over the town. Thomas Mitchell plays one of my favorite characters, as the bumbling Uncle Billy in probably his most memorable role.

This film is number eleven on AFI's list of best films of the century. It was nominated for five academy awards and won none. It was swept in 1947 by `The Best Years of Our Lives', a great film that won seven Oscars that year but in my opinion was the lesser film. History has corrected that minor injustice by rendering `It's a Wonderful Life' an enduring classic that is viewed and loved by generation after generation. Of course, I rated it a 10/10. I can't wait to see it again this Christmas.


164 of 190 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Sadly... screenscreams
The ending??? vipermts
How did Sam Wainwright get out of being drafted? librachashjesu
Who is the money for? rhonda-gram
The Song Auld Lang Syne brandynmdavis
Did George build Bailey Park on top of a cemetery? CharletonHestonsGunCollection
Discuss It's a Wonderful Life (1946) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page