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It's a Wonderful Life
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It's a Wonderful Life More at IMDbPro »

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18 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Ageing Beautifully

10/10
Author: dowdosean from Culver City, USA
20 June 2006

I had fond memories of "It's A Wonderful Life" but, somehow, it never made my top ten. The other night I felt the urge to see it again, from beginning to end, after that fun compilation from the AFI, 100 movies, 100 Cheers. The most surprising thing about this perennial classic is that it's not just a good movie but a sort of miracle. Age has made it more relevant, more powerful. Frank Capra is, without question, its miracle worker. His narration style was a first and in a way unsurpassed. As you may very well know, the film wasn't an instant success. A peculiarity it shares with most of the great works of art. The truth is something that needs time to be confirmed even recognized. James Stewart's performance lived from a 2006 stand point is, quite simply, extraordinary. Capra's films were known as "capracorn" in their day. Strange to think about it now because its sentimentality wasn't really sentimental but a need to find goodness in the darkest places. The great Capra not only found it, it unmasked it with the same relish that he unmasked evil and greed. My only regret is that on this times of technical prowess we'll never see again the likes of "It's Wonderful Life" But, trying to look on the bright side in the most Capraesque kind of way. "It's A Wonderful Life" will be around for ever.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A dissenting view

Author: jbuck_919 from Bamberg, Germany
6 June 2002

No folks, I promise not to do the same thing to the Wizard of Oz or Gone with the Wind, but this has got to be the most overrated movie of all time.

It took me a number of tries to watch it all the way through, because it is so incredibly boring. All the scenarios are exaggerated without a hint of the whimsy or joy that should mark a Christmas movie. NOBODY in it is likeable, including the hapless and almost hopeless hero. They even give Donna Reed an improbable scene in the alternate reality where she is a total... well, if I want this posted, I can't use the word.

But the worst flaw? THEY NEVER GET BACK THE MONEY THAT WAS STOLEN. It is morally unacceptable that this guy doesn't get punished and the townspeople have to rush in with a bailout.

I've heard this movie praised to the highest heavens as one of the ten best ever made for most of my life. I'll give them credit for the body language between Donna Reed and James Stewart in the scene where he is on the phone, but not for much else.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Haven't we all at some point on the way home ...

9/10
Author: calvinnme from United States
25 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

... arrived at our exit on the freeway and wondered, "What if I just kept driving?". That very modern - and yet timeless - feeling is at the heart of this film, before life was so complex, when the U.S. was dotted with small towns in which it was possible to be born, make a good living, and die, without ever leaving, save for military service.

George Bailey is both an extraordinarily lucky and unlucky guy. He's unlucky because none of the plans he made for himself as a young man ever worked out - his loyalties to family and to his hometown always kept him pinned there. He's extraordinarily lucky because he has a wife and children that adore him. But one Christmas Eve when he is in his late 30's a crisis brought about by his uncle's stupidity is the last straw that causes him to wish that he was never born, and he gets that wish granted to him - to see the world as if he had never been born, and he does not like the view.

It turns out over his life, George did a series of good deeds - some large some small - that changed the course of just about every life in his hometown. Basically, without the Bailey Savings and Loan, which without George would have collapsed in the 1920's at the death of his father, the only source of financing is Mr. Potter's bank, which makes Citibank look like a charitable institution. The town has thus been thrown into chaos, a place where alcoholism, prostitution, and broken homes abound. Now I could sympathize with George's horror at seeing the bad fate of just about everybody he knew save Mary, his wife. When George inquires about her fate he is told - "You won't like it. She's an OLD MAID"! Oh the horror! She in fact is the town librarian. To quote someone else on this subject - "in a town thrown into chaos she's an educated woman with a job - what's the problem?". Mary, before she even married George, is full of life and has a sense of style, but just subtract George from her existence and she becomes someone who dresses like a woman twenty years her senior and is deathly frightened of men? Pleeeease! Oh well, if I am going to watch the films of 1946 I'd better be prepared to deal with the values of 1946, but I digress.

The fact is George probably WOULD have been better off without these ties that bind. He could have seen the world and done big things and slept like a baby without a worry. But the fact is he realized he cared about these people whose lives would be ruined without him, and that is probably why so many of us don't just keep driving when we hit our exit on the highway. We go home to the people we love and the problems that come with them.

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17 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

I don't like it

5/10
Author: oneillrobyn from United States
28 December 2009

I am definitely in the minority regarding "Wonderful Life". I have avoided seeing this movie for years ... and I finally gave in just before Christmas 2009. It was Christmas Eve and I discovered why I was so depressed on the holiday. I really can't stand this movie. The original problem I had with it was when I first saw it many many years ago. I didn't like the idea that "Mary" needed glasses and was "ugly", and a lonely prim librarian without Jimmy Stewart in her life. No, I am not a librarian, but I love spending time in libraries with all the knowledge books have to offer. I felt this was gratuitous and insulting. In addition, couldn't "Mary" have found another husband? I resented those old movies where all the those poor, struggling people live in large, comfortable old houses, even if the hero's mother ran a boarding house. I think Frank Capra's films are phony and the products of an immature mind. Another Christmasy movie is my favorite one: "The Bishop's Wife". It's sophisticated, witty and beautiful, and has much stronger actors than any of Capra's films, with the exception of Henry Travers who, as far as I am concerned, is the real star of "Wonderful Life". Even Lionel Barrymore is wasted in "Life".

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Arguably James Stewart best performance

8/10
Author: Forest G from Indonesia
21 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To be honest before I watch It's a Wonderful Life, I really don't like James Stewart. I watched him in Vertigo, Rear Window, and other Hitchcock's movie, and I don't like him at all, I think he was so typical and 1 dimensional. After I watched him in this movie, I start to like him, especially when he acted in the last part. Well I guest I just hate Hitchcock as a director, not Stewart as an actor.

Back to the movie, at first I don't like it because Stewart looks so older when he was playing as teenager Bailey -.-". After half of the movie I don't really care, I guess I am such a sucker for Christmas family movie, the golden part of this movie is the last part after Bailey met the angel, Stewart showed that he is good actor in this part. In the end this is good family movie if you like Christmas film.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

You Can't beat the Classics.

Author: alex-caruso1 from Wisconsin
12 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

God forbid if they ever attempt to remake this movie in any way. I know they probably already have in different versions and ways of telling the story, but this is a movie that will never die. Like everyone else, I and my family watch this movie every Christmas eve. It's like a tradition in a lot of families who celebrate Christmas. The best thing about it, is that this movie never gets old. You know the story, you know what is going to happen every Christmas you watch this. But this movie has a very deep meaning to it that a lot of movies in the history of film DON'T have. Every Christmas eve I watch this it gets me in the perfect Christmas mood, and makes me forget about all the worries, problems, and struggles I have to put up with in life. This movie teaches me that everyone in the world can make a difference, and that everyone, no matter who you are has a purpose of existing. Even when its not the holiday season, I'll just watch a couple scenes of this movie just to put me in a good mood anyway. They just can't make movies like this anymore that teach you a very meaningful lesson. Even to people who don't celebrate Christmas can still enjoy this film. I can't wait for Christmas this year, for it is my favorite time of the year, and the time to be very happy in life.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Highly recommended

9/10
Author: manendra-lodhi (manendra.lodhi@gmail.com) from India
15 August 2012

The film has what I love most about films, "Inspiration". The story really is built up in such a way that you'll eventually get inspired by it. Acting by James Stewart is superb. The story is about a man who wanted to do a lot of things, but circumstances changed his fate. He never lost hope, but one day things get really out of controlled and he loses faith in everything. It is very interesting to see how the story reaches to its ending.

PROS:

One of the best acting performances I had seen recently. The whole film rests on its beautiful story. The film is a very fine example of what we expect from life and what we actually get. The life of our hero seems to be frustrating a lot of times but than in the end, you are finally going to get convinced that IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

CONS

I admit that the whole angel thing did not impress me much and I was hoping for more realistic kind of thing. Also the editing at some later part of the film looked bad. It was nominated for the best editing Oscars, but just my opinion. But when you have a very fine story, you have to overlook these small glitches.

MESSAGE: "It's a wonderful life."

VERDICT: "A must watch for all."

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

This Film is a Life Changer

10/10
Author: farez from United States
6 December 2015

Everyone has heard of this film, and if you haven't seen it, it's probably because you live in Antarctica or you have purposely avoided watching an old corny rerun in black and white.

I command you to watch it, and if you have a heart, you will cry with joy. This film has endured as a timeless classic for 70 years for good reason. This film is pure art because it taps into the human experience in such an effective way. The message that we are all important is simply and beautifully brought to life.

Jimmy Stewart's performance is human, funny, poignant and brilliant. Do not look for subtlety, clever meanings, high drama, modern art, political correctness, special effects, sex scenes, or car chases. You won't even see any color (avoid the colorized version at all costs), but what you will find is a perfect little film that will stay with you forever. This film represents the very best of what America wants to be at its core.

I appreciate high brow multi-million dollar productions as much as any other film geek/ movie buff, but this film always brings me home because it reminds me of what really matters in life.

Watch it and savor every wholesome corny second of it. If you don't feel something, you are not human.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

It's Really A Most Wonderful Film!

10/10
Author: thinkerv0 from India
26 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"It's A Wonderful Life" is the most wonderful film I have ever seen. It's most inspirational movie I have ever watched and it's very perfectly made movie in my opinion. Performances, script and dialogs are so perfectly done that you don't have enough words to appreciate them. This film by Frank Capra is a gift to the world. Strange enough it was a box office flop when it was released and it failed to win an academy award.

The performance by James Stewart who plays George Bailey is one of the greatest on big screen by anyone anytime in the history. George Bailey makes you so engrossed with his emotions that it naturally calls for your empathy and you start living moments with him and start thinking for him. Even if you don't believe in the angels and God, the part where that comely angel starts alleviating suffering of George Bailey makes a profound impression on you and instills feelings of goodness in you. The second half just emphasizes the importance of life whereas the first one underscores the great character of George Bailey right from his childhood.

You witness some instant karmic clean up in the second half and you see how the good deeds George Bailey had done come back to him saving him and making him realize the importance of life he had. Prior to that he lives with the impression of having sacrificed a lot for everyone else and that had some inner lack of satisfaction in his life and the accident which renders bankruptcy to him and his organization just evokes this karmic burden to the fore and then it seems that all the wrong things start happening with him, but then his good deeds come to his rescue. There are so many well-wishers who pray for him and then he realizes importance of life and accepts it the way it's and with this acceptance miracles start happening and money for which was about to end his life; comes rolling on its own and his brother says "To George, the richest man in the town". The colored restored version made it look even more exquisite than it would have been when it was made. It's indeed a most wonderful film with a most inspiring climax.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Must watch movie

10/10
Author: Md Rabiul Awual K from Chittagong Bangladesh
20 August 2015

Another masterpiece of James Stewart, Donna Reed the most romantic duo.i got myself eyed into these fine illustrious events hopes dreams of George bailey.could not lift myself from the chair.it really made me think over my life philosophy to rejuvenate the enthusiasm.the turnaround of events were not as dramatic though enjoyed every bit of it. that's why it may not be able to compete The The Shawshank Redemption...whatsoever.It's a film that you can enjoy sitting with every level of people.Marvelous fantastic though lacked a tiny little bit of Extreme Dramatic flavor.I can just mark 10 just only for the characterization,acting staging...what a good film must have.

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