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It's a Wonderful Life More at IMDbPro »

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What is the value of a human life?

Author: mr_styx
3 February 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Out of all the Christmas movies that are in existence, this is by far my favorite! It's a timeless masterpiece that I hope will stay strong when my children are old enough to appreciate it. It's a reflection of our inner humanity, and the lives we touch as our earthly vessel passes through time and space. I think most people have wondered from time to time what the world would be like without them. What is the measure of a person, and how can you measure their worth? This film gives us a glimpse into that very question and shows us that no matter how bad things may appear, we touch more lives than we think.

George Bailey (James Stewart) offers a likable personality that anybody can identify with. He works hard, and sometimes feels that all his hard work doesn't amount to anything. Without the help of his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) he never would have learned what the world would be like without him. Henry Travers offers a truly angelic, and compassionate character that you can't help but be drawn to.

The best scenes in the film by far, are when George and Mary are singing Buffalo Gals won't you come out tonight, and when George reaches the bridge the first time, right before saving Clarence. The sight of George and Mary standing in the moonlight is romantic, and you want to see George kiss her. When George dives into the river to save Clarence, it's implied to the viewer at that point, George is really saving himself, although he doesn't know it yet.

When George saves Clarence, he doesn't realize that he has been given a gift. A world without him, but he gets to see what it's like. It wouldn't be enough to just show him, like Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. He needs to participate in the experience. He needs to touch the tombstone of his dead brother, who died because there was nobody there to save him. He needs to walk the streets of Pottersville (formerly Bedford Falls), and see what's become of it, without George's family business helping all those people escape the greed of the crotchety Mr. Potter and his slums.

As a viewer, it reminds you of Dickens classic book. It's different though, because the main protagonist lives it. That's a powerful experience, and as one of my most cherished Christmas films, I have yet to see another film match the emotional ride it takes you on.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The meaning of life and of Xmas

Author: Imdbidia from Planet Earth
21 January 2017

This is one of my favorite movies ever and definitely my favorite Christmas movie ever. Although I'm not American, this was part of my upbringing, and it was shown on TV every Christmas, it still does.

This is, foremost, a great movie, with a great direction, a great story, great performances, great tempo and atmosphere, a glorious BW and a classic old glamour Hollywood melodrama. It is of course, very sentimental, but also very philosophical.

I love James Steward. He was the quintessential good charming actor able to convey goodness with his mere presence; he becomes his character here in a heartfelt performance. Yet, this is a choral movie in which everybody shines and everybody seems to be doing the same. I have always had a weakness for Henry Travers, who plays Clarence, but everybody is great and believable in their respective roles.

This is a movie about despair, that reminds us that, even in our darkest moments, there is always something or somebody that will help us if we allow ourselves to be helped.

This is a movie about being mindful about what we wish for, and about what comes from our mouth, about being grateful about what we have and not taking it for granted.

This is a movie about the power of family and community, and about the power of being a good human being and how goodness, our goodness, impacts other people in ways that aren't always evident to us.

This is a movie about the value of leading your life in an ethical way, because when you do, people notice, and respect comes by the hand.

Finally, this is a movie about the spirit of Christmas. These days the festivities have become part of frenzy of empty consumerism, lack of empathy for the poor, and another holiday. However, when I watch this movie it brings me memories of my childhood when Christmas was a magic period despite my family not having many means. Probably because of what Christmas has become today, I find it more relevant for the new generations. It has all the magic and values that I would like my children, if I had any, to grow up with.

The movie is very sentimental, of course. It never fails to move me. But it is not cheap sentimentalism. It digs into what the meaning of life is, and comes up with an answer that surprises because it is obvious and we have it in front of us every single day.


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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Man with big dreams has an epiphany

Author: eclt83 from Sweden
21 January 2017

This feelgood movie continues to be warm and cozy, as it tells the story of a really good and honorable man who just wants to travel the world, but never gets the chance because of poor circumstances. Great acting (especially Jimmy Stewart), great villain, great message, and feelgood. While it's an old movie, it never gets old. The message is as current today as it ever was. We need to stop expecting a fairy tale life, so that we can see the beauty in the life that we have. I don't even with it was made in color, because I feel the black and white adds an extra layer of that special feeling of tradition. While the movie is two hours long, it never feels that long. I rate it a 9, but could have given it a 10.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Ture Timeless Classic.

Author: ultramatt2000-1 from Orlando, Florida
20 January 2017

This is a great movie! I heard about it first and when I saw clips of it in documentaries, I understood the references/parodies in cartoons and TV shows. Cartoons like RUGRATS, JOHNNY BRAVO and FAIRLY ODDPARENTS parodied this movie as well as TV shows like Saturday NIGHT LIVE and THE NOSTALGIA CRITIC. I saw the movie in all it's entirety in the summer of 2012 (which is the right time to see it), when I was assigned to compare and contrast the paintings of Norman Rockwell and Frank Capra movies for my summer class "Painting and the Cinematic Image" at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Being a movie buff, I started to fall in love with that movie and realized how beautiful and wonderful it is. Jimmy Stewart makes a great performance in this movie. His character George Baily has hopes and dreams and helps out his friends and family. An angel gives him an answer to a what if question of his and he learns the hard way on the importance of being there! Various scenes in the movie feel like a Norman Rockwell painting because it captures the moment in a dramatic and sometimes humorous manner. Give it a watch it is fun for the entire family! Not rated, but in my humble opinion it is rated G.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

New Favourite Christmas Film

Author: djh19893 from Manchester, England
6 January 2017

I watched this on Christmas day for the very first time, after seeing so many lists of the greatest Christmas movies ever and this always being number 1.

Now that I have seen it I can understand why and completely agree with all of them.

This is a brilliant story that had me hooked from the very beginning, it completely drags you into the story with the characters and had me caring what happened to them next.

I cannot recommend this enough and think it is the perfect Christmas film for anyone to watch with all the highs and lows it completely immerses you within the world and town it is set.

If only everyone was like George the world would be a much better place.

Complete 10/10 film.

Loved it.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Embodies goodness

Author: djansen24 from Germany
5 January 2017

This is one of the best films ever made. Somehow by divine providence, this gem got buried after its initial (and somehow unbelievably unsuccessful) run, and seemed doomed to be a lost Capra classic. But then it came into public domain and was revived by TV where it came into classic status as a beloved holiday film. Having seen it so many times, I almost forgot how good the acting, set design, and direction are. Look and you will see the subtleties crammed into every nook and cranny. The movements of the extras. The lived in feel of the town. The sidewalk walkers and animals roaming around. Everything breathes realism, yet the story is not one of stark realism, but of ideals.

And therein lies the classic feel of this film. Capra wanted a quasi real town that showed the ideal community he wanted to live in. Filled with flawed and normal people who are tempted to fall, but who rise to the occasion and help each other out. They don't do this of their own accord. They are inspired to it by the protagonist, George Bailey. It is his self-sacrifice that brings out the best of them. And then they get to help him out in his hour of need. It makes for a story that brings tears to the eyes every time I watch it.

This is one of those timeless classics that gets better with age. You feel like your putting on your favorite album you haven't heard in awhile or pulling out a photo album of happy memories you haven't seen in a few years. All of the actors fulfill their roles, from protagonist to extras. Great detail was put into the character relationships, making them seem like a real small town community where everyone knows each other. And they embody the goodness of man that, although tarred by sin, was put in there by God. If it's idealism is not completely realistic, it is nevertheless inspiring as the American town that we all wish we had grown up in. In that way, it is even relevant as a film of happy ideals during hard times. We need this kind of communal inter-dependency as we enter into dark times of 2017.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

This film is number eleven on AFI's list of best films of the century. I

Author: manishamehta from India
24 October 2016

I am a film lover from 'way back, having even served a stint as a newspaper movie critic. Entries in my personal list of Greatest Films of All Time include "Fantasia," "To Kill A Mockingbird," "Casablanca," "Singin' in the Rain," "North by Northwest," and "The Sound of Music. But sitting atop all of them, as undisputed champ, is "It's a Wonderful Life."

I have seen it hundreds of times (dating back to, oh, when I was a teenager I suppose, and our local PBS station ran it as part of a pledge drive). I drive my wife and family to distraction when we watch it together because I quote all the dialogue along with the actors.

I cry every time--and this is after viewing upon viewing--when Harry Bailey toasts his big brother George as "...the richest man in town." The emotions in that scene are so true and pure that I can't help but be affected by them.

The performances are unparalleled. Stewart is brilliant as a small- town dreamer who loses and finds his way. His superlative acting abilities cause us to identify strongly with him (how many of us have lamented--even to ourselves--that no one seems to notice the sacrifices we've made?), which is, I think, why the movie bears up under so many repeat viewings. Reed is just lovely here, the epitome of sunny girlfriend, caring lover, devoted wife, dedicated mother.

Capra's talent as a screenwriter are all over this script. He knows just how hard to tug the heartstrings without becoming overblown or phony. And his technical wizardry is evident too. I've never seen-- before or since--more natural-looking on screen snow.

Watching IAWL has become a tonic, a pick-me-up when I really need one--whether it's the Christmas season or not. Its message--that each one of us is important and has *something* to contribute to the greater good--is one about which the world could use some reminding from time to time.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Only in the movies...

Author: Artur Machado from Portugal
26 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When Mr. Bailey goes bankrupt and suicidal because of a mean greedy banker, an angel is sent to show him how much worse life would be for others had he never been born to help them. But this only happens after an hour and a half of a movie that drags; it's long and slow to the point and dated. And in the end everything turns out fine in a sea of roses (sorry... money), because he helped so many people, all of them his good buddies, friends and comrades, that they save him (and his family) from bankruptcy, storming inside his home on Christmas Eve to give him money because everyone is so altruistic that time of year! Only in the movies... I only see two positives: some good camera work and scenery production.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Beauty, goodness and truth make a masterpiece

Author: VecoVeky from Croatia
7 September 2016

I remember crying first time I saw It's a Wonderful Life. I remember crying n-th time when I saw It's a Wonderful Life. The only movie that made me and makes me cry, not because it's sad but because it's wonderful, is this movie. Every now and than when I'm feeling anxious or depressed I turn to the final scene of this wonderful movie only to remind myself of what in this short life really matters. People around us, friends and community, give value to our life. Every life matters because everyone has something unique to share with this world. If I were never born, world would be ripped off something unique. We have to learn how to appreciate everything that has been granted to us, even the most little things.

Those were lessons It's a Wonderful Life thought me and reminds me every time I see it. Every movie which is somehow able to make you a better person deserves a ten. That's the whole point of art. Art is not a purpose in itself, but is an instrument which aims to help us better understand ourselves and the world around us. Real art can't be separated from goodness and truth. No matter how technically brilliant a piece of art may be, it still serves no purpose if it drags us away from truth. And if it has capacity to make us better as man, then it's rightfully called a piece of art. I think It's a Wonderful Life does exactly that: in a subtle and heartwarming way makes you a better man by telling you something about this world and that is that this world needs you and that in long term makes sense to fight for it.

Given that, I'm not going to write anything about acting, directing or similar. Those technical skills from my standpoint are now not worth analyzing even though all of those are really good (five Oscar nominations, including best movie and best director). What matters are values and heartwarming atmosphere. I'm going to conclude with the following remark: ordinary people are very often very extraordinary.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

This can suggest the true value of your life

Author: f-27753 from United Kingdom
25 July 2016

It's an emotional movie which gives you a chance to reconsider about your own life. Lead character is a man of hones and thoughtful. He is an earnest person toward his own life but he faces some difficulties in his business, which discourage him to live a life. As a result, he tries to take his life. Yet, he is survived by the angel with a magical power and comes to appreciate his life.

You will notice how wonderful your life is after watching the movie. You might evaluate your life by wealth. fame and success even though you well realize they can't measure the life. Therefore, you're obsessed to pursue them, sacrificing what really matters to you such as ordinal lives with your family and being in health. The main character is also one of them who miss what is inevitable in his life. However, after the strange moment with the angel,he notices the importance of his family, friends and neighbours.

In recent days, you can easily lose sight of true value of your lives because of your life's tight schedule, hence, you should watch the movie and think of your life again.

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