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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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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

The best of the best

10/10
Author: rtannoia from United States
8 September 2006

The best movie that has been made. Movies are a reflection of real life and there has never been a better movie to bring this point to life. Open your heart sit back and enjoy this masterpiece, there is none better. The best of the best, I've seen a million movies and this one is my favorite. I could watch this movie a million times and I would never get tired of seeing Jimmy Steward face when he realizes how wonderful his life has been. If you stop and think, beyond all our struggles, all our stress, all our worries, take a breath and for one moment know that God is in control then there is no movie that will drive that point home better. This movie will always be a ten. If they find this movie a thousand years from now it would still be a ten.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

My favorite film of all time; inspired classic Americana

10/10
Author: george.schmidt (gpschmidt67@gmail.com) from fairview, nj
10 April 2003

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) **** James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Gloria Grahame, Ward Bond. MY ALL TIME FAVORITE FILM : Perennial Christmas classic about George Bailey (Stewart's best acting performance, one for the time capsule), an idealistic dreamer whose out-of-reach plans for himself are constantly set aside for his family and the town he helped in more ways than one. One of the best films ever made about a man's universal struggle with what he wants and what he does resulting with the immortal question: What would life be like if I were never born? Stewart's performance depicts every emotion superbly and facing suicide shows just what a complex character interpretation he has. His salvation comes in the form of Clarence, his guardian angel still trying to earn his wings, who shows him exactly how things would be had he not existed. Best scene: after Stewart is refused entrance by his mother he races into an intense wide/close-up and the registering of fear, horror and finally understanding that spreads across his face is ultimately moving, chilling and heart-breaking all at once. My favorite moment; if you're not moved by this, you 're simply not human. Dare not to sing along at the end to "Auld Lang Syne" and dare not to cry. Definitely a film ahead of its time (originally a box-office flop and snubbed royally at the Oscars losing largely to the WWII American classic "The Best Years of Our Lives"). Frank Capra's masterpiece was his and Stewart's personal favorite films.*Trivia note: characters named Bert & Ernie would eventually be paid tribute as "Sesame Street"'s immortal buddies and Stewart's and Reed's characters, George and Mary are also my parents' names.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Wish I had a million dollars. Hot dawg!

Author: ellkew from London
14 February 2003

At the heart of this marvellous Capra film is a man, who from when we first see him in Gower's store, longs to see far off places. As we all know, he never does leave Bedford Falls and it is this sadness that is at the core of the film and the main character George Bailey, a man with unfulfilled dreams. It is also what makes this film stand the test of time. The characters are believable and compared to current Hollywood heroes win hands down. They are all so well defined and fleshed out as in a Dickens novel that one enjoys spending time with them. So much has been borrowed from this film and so much written about it. Essentially it is James Stewart's central performance that is outstanding and to watch his realistic gradual breakdown is very distressing. I always find it difficult watching the scene when he goes home after realising he cannot find the money and Mary(his wife) turns to see him clutching his daughter with such a desperate look on his face. Her reaction to him is extremely moving. A man driven to the brink worth more alive than dead, this is a much darker film than people often expect. But he does get a second chance and maybe this is why we like it so much, because in real life this is rarely possible. George Bailey played by James Stewart is someone who has a great face. I like George Bailey.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Really flatters the human ego!

Author: Becca-37 from Sacramento, CA
28 December 2000

Ugh, how precious! How can the whole world go on without you??? Oh, how we all need and depend on you! How we all love each other and how we all love you and how you love all of us and how I love you and how you love me! Oh, the world needs you and it can't live without you! How women need you to give them such precious, happy children and how children need you to give them such a precious, happy existence! I need you, you need me, we need each other, we can't live without each other! The world needs you, the universe needs you, even angels need you! Needy, needy, needy! Oh, and be sure to be WHITE and that everyone else around you are WHITE, too - thanks.

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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Part of a staple Christmas Eve diet

Author: stewartcooper from Scotland
27 November 2002

My family's annual viewing of 'It's a Wonderful Life,' on Christmas eve, has become as ritualistic as eating turkey on December 25. With the fresh smell of the tree in the corner of the room, a flickering candle on the fireplace and a mince pie soaked with brandy butter in my hand, relishing the spectacle of 'It's a Wonderful Life' is, despite the number of times I've now sat through it, something I look forward to and treasure each year. It is, quintessentially, a Christmas movie, and I'll never be able to bring myself to watching it in the middle of an August heatwave.

I can't quite put my finger on what exactly makes this film so special. But surely the heart-warming plot, which proves to us that, us humans, we can always eventually triumph over despair, and the overall magical feel of the film, is a crucial element of Capra's masterpiece. It teaches us, as privileged westerners, many lessons about the true meaning of humanity and forces us, just as it does to George Bailey - played with relish and sincerity by James Stewart, capturing some of his finest moments - to appreciate, on reflection, just how lucky we actually are.

There are countless of our favourite films that, through sheer force of habit, we find ourselves enjoying on a regular basis. But the very fact that, on the same day each year, I ensure that I savour 'It's A Wonderful Life,' proves that this film is really something quite remarkable with an ability to make its mark.

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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

The darkest side of humanity

Author: Matthew Ignoffo (mermatt@webtv.net) from Eatontown, NJ, USA
1 August 1998

Though this film is associated with Christmas because it has been shown at Christmas time, it is really a dark study of the insides of the human soul. George is driven to the point of wanting to die and wanting not even to exist.

Frank Capra takes us through the life of a man so that we can see why someone would be willing to choose oblivion rather than existence. Then we see that, even though life may seem meaningless, we, like George, have choices and that these choices can make a great difference in the world even though we may not realize that fact. The film helps us to realize why we are alive. That is its real enduring appeal.

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7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Seems overrated.

5/10
Author: Luciano Marzo from United States
22 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is depressing, which makes it quite inappropriate for a so- called "Christmas movie." I made the mistake of watching it on Christmas Day one year, and it turned out to be a damper on the whole holiday. Not just for me, but the whole family. The acting left a little to be desired. I will say whoever acted the angel was very good (I think it was Henry Travers). His character was also strong. But James Stewart's character was pretty depressing. He makes the small mistake of saying "I wish I had never been born," and shortly after, his wish comes true! He still lives in his hometown and is the same person, but all of his old buddies ignore him when he tries to talk to him. Even his family shuns him. If you are going to watch this movie, make sure it is not actually on Christmas or any holiday, for that matter.

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7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Average movie

6/10
Author: Rachael James from New Zealand
20 April 2006

I think it's an average movie. It's got classical Hollywood propaganda- and politics. I think people tend to ignore the undertones of trying to get people to stay in the 'homeland' of America. There's also political messages about democracy and individualism, as well as small messages about family life and propaganda about the war. It's good in that it gets people to appreciate life, yet it seems to discourage people to aim higher. For some people having a wife and kids and friends is nice, but for some they have other goals. Seeing the world and achieving ones goals is important, we can't all accept second best. We have to be selfish in some ways if we are to get what we want. There needs to be a balance, but in this movie George lives more for others.

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7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Attaboy, Clarence!

5/10
Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
1 May 2004

One of the all-time Christmas classics, this excellent piece of work from Frank Capra focuses on George Bailey (James Stewart, in one of his career-best roles) who is stopped from jumping into the river in despair by a friendly angel called Clarence (Henry Travers). We then see in flashback what has brought George to the brink of suicide and key events from his life - saving his brother from drowning when the ice breaks; alerting his chemist boss to a fatal mix of drugs; courting and marrying his childhood sweetheart (the winsome Donna Reed); and dealing with the film's token bad guy, Mr Potter (brilliantly played by the crusty Lionel Barrymore). Clarence then shows George what the sleepy town of Bedford Falls would have been like without him and proves that you're never alone if you have friends around you and if you make a difference.

Interestingly, two direct influences from this film were on the poetry e-zine 'Zuzu's Petals' (George Bailey's little daughter, who leaves some flower petals in his jacket); and, so it is said, on the children's TV programme, Sesame Street (Bert and Ernie, the mad puppets, who are the names of the cop and the taxi driver in this).

And let us not forget, when you hear a bell ring, it means an angel has got its wings!

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7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: Don't read this if you believe the title doesn't take the ending away!

6/10
Author: Mort-31 from Vienna, Austria
31 December 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I don't wonder why this movie is among the top 30 movies. It's an American classic, you don't need more. If this was a European movie, it would get bad critics and ratings. But with the Americans we tolerate it. They are like that. The film they like best is the film with the happiest happy-end that is so happy that it's already in the title. Where I live, they dare to show it once a year, at Christmas, and that's it. It's typical for the American people that they adore movies where someone is shown by God Himself how much the world needs him! That's what gives them hope that their own life isn't meaningless. The problem is: That man the film is about has in most cases nothing to do with them. He is an angel himself, saved two people's life and gave homes to many poor people in a small village. Who else can say that about oneself? The plot is constructed, so the film isn't valuable to give you hope and people who realize that are rather made sad then happy.

America doesn't realize and that's why it loves this movie. Fine. It's not a bad film at all! It's really enjoyable, even humorous at the beginning, and James Stewart is a great actor. But again, I'm sure this film would have been fallen into oblivion within 50 years of movie history if it was a European film. „It's a Wonderful Life` is one of many bizarre drolleries of the American kitsch society.

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