MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 48 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 212,177 users  
Reviews: 642 user | 187 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...

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb Picks: October

IMDb's editors share the movies and TV shows they are excited to see in October.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 20 Mar 2011
 
a list of 45 titles
created 02 Jan 2013
 
a list of 40 titles
created 14 Jan 2013
 
a list of 45 titles
created 24 Aug 2013
 
a list of 40 titles
created 9 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 #25 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Spirited Away (2001)
Animation | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

In the middle of her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
The Lion King (1994)
Animation | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Tricked into thinking that he caused the death of his own father, a young lion cub flees and abandons his destiny as the future king.

Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Ralphie has to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect gift for the 1940s.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home.

Director: Lee Unkrich
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack
Toy Story (1995)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room.

Director: John Lasseter
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
The Kid (1921)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

The Tramp cares for an abandoned child, but events put that relationship in jeopardy.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, Jackie Coogan
Up (2009)
Animation | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

To avoid being taken away to a nursing home, an old widower tries to fly his home to Paradise Falls, South America, along with a boy scout who accidently lifted off with him.

Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Stars: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather).

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright
Finding Nemo (2003)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
Stars: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Monsters generate their city's power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted.

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs
Animation | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Belle, whose father is imprisoned by the Beast, offers herself instead and discovers her captor to be an enchanted prince.

Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Stars: Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White
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:

The most loved Christmas film of all time! 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

The set for Bedford Falls was constructed in two months and was one of the longest sets that had ever been made for an American movie. It covered four acres of the RKO's Encino Ranch. It included 75 stores and buildings, main street, factory district and a large residential and slum area. The Main Street was 300 yards long, three whole city blocks! See more »

Goofs

Alignment of George's car when it hits the tree 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 »


Soundtracks

The Stars and Stripes Forever
(1897) (uncredited)
Written by John Philip Sousa
Performed by George, Tilly, and Eustace
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.


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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
'You must mean two other trees.' HardSteelMill
Discuss It's a Wonderful Life (1946) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page