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It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

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An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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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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Mr. Gower (as H. B. Warner)
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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:

They're making memories tonight! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

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:

Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,180,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,270,000, 31 December 1947
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Show more 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

James Stewart was nervous about the phone scene kiss because it was his first onscreen kiss since his return to Hollywood after the war. Under director Frank Capra's watchful eye, Stewart filmed the scene in only one unrehearsed take, and it worked so well that part of the embrace was cut because it was too passionate to pass the censors. See more »

Goofs

Supposedly, the $8,000 is still missing at the end of the film. While family and friends have provided George Bailey with additional monies at that point, if or when an audit is performed, he still has to explain what happened to the money that his absent-minded uncle lost. This puts him in the same position that he was before he received the additional donations/deposits. In fact, without a solid explanation as to where the money went, it would likely be assumed that the money was either stolen by Uncle Billy or embezzled by George himself. The building and loan would likely face legal sanctions as would George Bailey. However, cash is cash. The Building and Loan does not have to explain what happened to the specific bills that were lost; they simply have to have $8,000 on hand to keep the books accurate. For the same reason that George can use $2,000 of his honeymoon cash to keep the B&L afloat, he can take the $8,000 donated by the townsfolk to balance its ledgers. 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 Shock to the System (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Vieni, vieni
(1884) (uncredited)
Music by Vincent Scotto
Lyrics by Henri Varna and Georges Koger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of the greatest movie ever made in cinema history!!
14 March 2010 | by See all my reviews

When I heard about this movie for the first time, I thought it was just a forgettable and funny movie. But I was wrong. I saw this movie last Christmas and I did not find it funny, but I loved it, though! Everything is so great in this movie. The story is amazing. The characters are great, and the character's development is fantastic! the cinematography is grea, and the acting is fantastic. James Stewart was mind blowing. The whole movie is amazing,touching and encouraging. You cannot describe how good this movie is. Nor can you describe how good the message is.

This is the best feel-good movie ever. It's a life changing movie, actually. It makes you feel good to be alive. Do me a favor and watch this movie as soon as possible! When you're sad, think about the message this movie delivers, because you will get a smile on your face! I'm 14 years old. My English is not very good, but I hope this review was useful!


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