IMDb > It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
It's a Wonderful Life
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It's a Wonderful Life (1946) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 65 | slideshow) Videos (see all 6)
It's a Wonderful Life -- An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would had been like if he never existed.
It's a Wonderful Life -- Clip: I don't want to get married (colorized)
It's a Wonderful Life -- Clip: You want the moon?
It's a Wonderful Life -- Clip: Warped, frustrated old man (colorized)
It's a Wonderful Life -- Clip: I want to live again

Overview

User Rating:
8.7/10   210,236 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Frances Goodrich (screenplay) &
Albert Hackett (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for It's a Wonderful Life on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 January 1947 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Frank Capra's..."It's a Wonderful Life". See more »
Plot:
An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins See more »
User Reviews:
"To My Big Brother George, The Richest Man In Town" See more (640 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Stewart ... George Bailey

Donna Reed ... Mary Hatch

Lionel Barrymore ... Mr. Potter

Thomas Mitchell ... Uncle Billy

Henry Travers ... Clarence

Beulah Bondi ... Mrs. Bailey

Frank Faylen ... Ernie

Ward Bond ... Bert

Gloria Grahame ... Violet

H.B. Warner ... Mr. Gower
Todd Karns ... Harry Bailey
Samuel S. Hinds ... Pa Bailey
Mary Treen ... Cousin Tilly

Frank Albertson ... Sam Wainwright
Virginia Patton ... Ruth Dakin
Charles Williams ... Cousin Eustace
Sarah Edwards ... Mrs. Hatch (as Sara Edwards)
William Edmunds ... Mr. Martini (as Bill Edmunds)
Lillian Randolph ... Annie

Argentina Brunetti ... Mrs. Martini
Robert J. Anderson ... Little George (as Bobbie Anderson)
Ronnie Ralph ... Little Sam
Jean Gale ... Little Mary
Jeanine Ann Roose ... Little Violet
Danny Mummert ... Little Marty Hatch
Georgie Nokes ... Little Harry Bailey

Sheldon Leonard ... Nick
Frank Hagney ... Potter's Bodyguard
Ray Walker ... Joe - Luggage Shop

Charles Lane ... Real Estate Salesman (as Charlie Lane)
Edward Keane ... Tom - Bldg. & Loan (as Edward Kean)
Carol Coombs ... Bailey Child - Janie (as Carol Coomes)
Karolyn Grimes ... Bailey Child - Zuzu
Larry Simms ... Bailey Child - Pete

Jimmy Hawkins ... Bailey Child - Tommy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Jean Acker ... Townswoman (uncredited)
Ernie Adams ... Ed (uncredited)
Monya Andre ... (uncredited)
Stanley Andrews ... Mr. Welch (uncredited)
Sam Ash ... Nervous Banker (uncredited)
Jack Bailey ... One of Vi's Suitors (uncredited)
Mary Bayless ... Townswoman (uncredited)
Beth Belden ... (uncredited)
Brooks Benedict ... Military Officer in Montage (uncredited)
Joseph E. Bernard ... Townsman (uncredited)
Al Bridge ... Sheriff (uncredited)
Buz Buckley ... (uncredited)
Marian Carr ... Jane Wainwright (uncredited)

Adriana Caselotti ... Singer at Martini's (uncredited)
Lane Chandler ... (uncredited)

Michael Chapin ... Young George's Friend (uncredited)
Tom Chatterton ... Townsman (uncredited)
Jack Cheatham ... Cop Arresting Violet (uncredited)
Harry Cheshire ... Dr. Campbell (uncredited)
Edward Clark ... Building & Loan Board Member (uncredited)
Tom Coleman ... Building & Loan Customer (uncredited)

Ellen Corby ... Ms. Davis (uncredited)
Jimmy the Crow ... Crow in Bank (uncredited)
Bryn Davis ... (uncredited)
Lew Davis ... High School Teacher at Poolside (uncredited)
Harry Denny ... (uncredited)
Helen Dickson ... Woman at Graduation Dance (uncredited)
Dick Elliott ... Man on Porch (uncredited)
Tom Fadden ... Tollhouse Keeper (uncredited)
Frank Fenton ... Violet's Boyfriend (uncredited)
Eddie Fetherston ... Horace (uncredited)
Sam Flint ... Relieved Banker in Potter's Office (uncredited)
Lee Frederick ... (uncredited)
Dick Gordon ... Photographer with Sheriff (uncredited)
Jack Gordon ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
Herschel Graham ... (uncredited)
Joseph Granby ... (voice) (uncredited)
Charles Halton ... Carter (uncredited)
Carl Eric Hansen ... (uncredited)
Herbert Heywood ... Building & Loan Depositor (uncredited)
Harry Holman ... Mr. Partridge (uncredited)
Art Howard ... Building & Loan Board Member (uncredited)
Bert Howard ... Building & Loan Board Member (uncredited)
Arthur Stuart Hull ... Mr. Randall (uncredited)
John Indrisano ... Man in Fantasy (uncredited)
Eddie Kane ... Building & Loan Depositor (uncredited)
Carl Kent ... (uncredited)
Milton Kibbee ... Building & Loan Board Member (uncredited)
Effie Laird ... Townswoman (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Building & Loan Customer (uncredited)
Harold Landon ... Marty Hatch (uncredited)
Meade 'Lux' Lewis ... Pianist in Nick's Place (uncredited)
Jack Lomas ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Man Whose Grandfather Planted Tree (uncredited)
Irene Mack ... (uncredited)
Wilbur Mack ... Building and Loan Customer (uncredited)
Charles Meakin ... (uncredited)
Priscilla Montgomery ... Student in Gym (uncredited)
Bert Moorhouse ... Man with Sheriff (uncredited)
Philip Morris ... Building & Loan Customer (uncredited)
George Noisom ... School Dancer (uncredited)
Bob O'Connor ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
Frank O'Connor ... Military Officer in Montage (uncredited)
Moroni Olsen ... Senior Angel (voice) (uncredited)
Garry Owen ... Bill-Poster (uncredited)
Netta Packer ... (uncredited)
Franklin Parker ... Photographer / Reporter (uncredited)
Suzanne Ridgeway ... Nick's Waitress (uncredited)
Mark Roberts ... Mickey (uncredited)
Constantine Romanoff ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
Cy Schindell ... Nick's Bouncer (uncredited)
Almira Sessions ... Potter's Secretary (uncredited)
Cedric Stevens ... (uncredited)
Brick Sullivan ... Man in Fantasy (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Nick's Bartender (uncredited)

Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer ... Freddie Othello (uncredited)
Max Wagner ... Cashier / Nick's Assistant Bouncer (uncredited)
Larry Wheat ... Building & Loan Board Member (uncredited)
Charles C. Wilson ... Charlie (uncredited)

Directed by
Frank Capra 
 
Writing credits
Frances Goodrich (screenplay) &
Albert Hackett (screenplay) and
Frank Capra (screenplay)

Jo Swerling (additional scenes)

Philip Van Doren Stern (story)

Michael Wilson  contributor to screenplay (uncredited)

Produced by
Frank Capra .... producer
 
Original Music by
Dimitri Tiomkin (musical score written by)
 
Cinematography by
Joseph F. Biroc (director of photography) (as Joseph Biroc)
Joseph Walker (director of photography)
Victor Milner (director of photography) (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
William Hornbeck 
 
Art Direction by
Jack Okey 
 
Set Decoration by
Emile Kuri (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Edward Stevenson (costumes)
 
Makeup Department
Gordon Bau .... makeup supervisor
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Arthur S. Black Jr. .... assistant director (as Arthur S. Black)
 
Sound Department
Clem Portman .... sound
Richard Van Hessen .... sound
John Aalberg .... sound (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Russell A. Cully .... special photographic effects
Daniel Hays .... special effects (uncredited)
Russell Shearman .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Lila Finn .... stunt double: Donna Reed (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Joseph F. Biroc .... camera operator (uncredited)
Homer Plannette .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Dimitri Tiomkin .... director: musical score
Herschel Burke Gilbert .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leigh Harline .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Nathan Scott .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leith Stevens .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
David Tamkin .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Dave Torbett .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Edward Ward .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Roy Webb .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life" - International (English title) (complete title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated PG for thematic elements, smoking and some violence (re-rating) (2012)
Runtime:
130 min | Spain:118 min (25 fps) (DVD edition)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (colorized) | Black and White
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Brazil:Livre | Canada:G (Manitoba/Nova Scotia/Quebec) | Canada:F (Ontario) | Finland:K-7 (2013) (TV rating) | Finland:S (1990) | Finland:K-16 (1946) | Germany:6 | Netherlands:6 (re-rating) | Portugal:M/12 (Qualidade) | South Korea:12 | Spain:T | Sweden:15 | UK:U | USA:Approved (PCA #11656) | USA:PG (re-rating) (2012)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Prior to the Los Angeles release of It's a Wonderful Life, Liberty Films mounted an extensive promotional campaign that included a daily advertisement highlighting one of the film's players, along with comments from reviewers. The New York Daily Times offered an editorial in which it declared the film and James Stewart's performance worthy of Oscar consideration.See more »
Goofs:
Audio/visual unsynchronized: George jumps into the river to save Clarence. As he is rescuing him Clarence is screaming "help" but his mouth is not moving.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 »
Soundtrack:
Auld Lang SyneSee more »

FAQ

How does George's non-existence change Bedford Falls in the alternate reality?
How many kids do Mary and George have?
What is 'It's a Wonderful Life' about?
See more »
76 out of 91 people found the following review useful.
"To My Big Brother George, The Richest Man In Town", 25 December 2005
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

I've always thought that the reason It's A Wonderful Life has had such enduring popularity is that more than in any other film it shows what can be the value of a single individual and the contribution to the greater good they can make.

George Bailey as portrayed by James Stewart is the kind of every man hero we can all identify with. He's got the every day problems to be sure, raising and providing for a family, but he's got bigger problems than that. Fate has made him the rallying point of opposition in his small town of Bedford Falls to the "richest and meanest man in town", embodied in Lionel Barrymore.

It's a real David vs. Goliath battle. Barrymore seems to have unlimited resources at his disposal. Samuel S. Hinds as Peter Bailey put it so well to him in asking what are you doing all this for? Barrymore does have more money than he could ever possibly use. A little charity wouldn't hurt him.

Remember the basic plot outline. A whole lot of people in Bedford Falls one post World War II Christmas Eve see that their friend George is toting a heavy load of mysterious origins. Their prayers reach the heavens where an angel is dispatched to aid.

But before Henry Travers the angel arrives, he's given the story of George Bailey's life. And we see the kind of struggles he's had, the sacrifices he's made for the good of a whole lot of others. We've also seen a greedy and grasping Potter, grabbing everything that George Bailey cannot save.

Something happens that day before Christmas through no fault of his own, Bailey is in big trouble. It's driven him to the brink of despair. That's why the angel is sent down. He shows him the alternate universe that would have been had he never existed. It's something each and every one of us should try to do, step outside ourselves see just what our contributions can be.

But I think what Frank Capra is trying to say in this greatest of his films is that having done that and we realize we haven't contributed to the greater good of humankind, we resolve to do so. It's a simple, but profound lesson.

What if Potter got the same opportunity? In a sense Charles Dickens did just that in A Christmas Carol. Would Lionel Barrymore change? It's an interesting point of speculation.

In addition to those cast members already mentioned a whole group of players who worked with Capra before grace this film. Add to that some others and you have a perfectly cast feature picture.

Donna Reed has an interesting part as well. Your choice of mate is real important in life. Had she not been as loving and supportive to George Bailey, he might very well have taken a different route in life. Mary Hatch Bailey became a signature part for her, more identified than her role in From Here to Eternity which got her an Oscar. It certainly was the basis for her TV series.

When Todd Karns who plays Harry Bailey toasts his brother he's saying that the riches of the world are not necessarily things that can be quantified. Your life is not measured in material things, but in how you use the material things given you.

And that universal lesson will be taught into eternity as long as It's A Wonderful Life is shown every year. Wouldst we all learn it.

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