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It's a Wonderful Life
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Reviews & Ratings for
It's a Wonderful Life More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Good Timeless Movie

Author: LATAUNYA WINTERS from United States
29 December 2013

I have loved looking at this movie. It gets better with time. A good moral message. The days of good story lines are gone. This movie gives you the warm hometown feelings that are needed at the Holiday Season time of year.I have loved looking at this movie. It gets better with time. A good moral message. The days of good story lines are gone. This movie gives you the warm hometown feelings that are needed at the Holiday Season time of year.I have loved looking at this movie. It gets better with time. A good moral message. The days of good story lines are gone. This movie gives you the warm hometown feelings that are needed at the Holiday Season time of year.I have loved looking at this movie. It gets better with time. A good moral message. The days of good story lines are gone. This movie gives you the warm hometown feelings that are needed at the Holiday Season time of year.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: kchang511 from United States
5 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While I didn't particularly like the main character, I do like the theme that the movie was trying to push that basically "It's a Wonderful Life". I do like it when movies explore how important life is. Despite this, I feel that this movie could have done it more completely and thoroughly. While I don't know exactly how, I think more could have been added.

I didn't like the temper of the main character. I feel the movie could have benefit if the main character was a bit more likable. I found him to be easily angered and temperamental. While I do see they were trying to draw a contrast to him from before the angel and after, I think that if they made him more likable throughout the movie, you would have felt more sympathy and happiness for him in the end.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Deserves its 'Classic' label...

Author: ajs-10 from United Kingdom
28 December 2010

I have heard many times that this is a classic Christmas film over the years but it has always evaded me, until now. I decided it was time I saw what all the fuss was about and took the plunge when it came up on the TV schedules recently. To be honest, it's better than what I was expecting, although still a little too saccharine in places for my taste. But I digress, here's a very brief summary before I give you more of my thoughts (summary haters please save that drowning angel while I write the next paragraph).

George Bailey grew up in the small town of Bedford Falls. He has always wanted to leave and travel the world and find his fortune but the fates have always prevented his leaving. His father runs a local Building and Loan company with George's uncle Billy and when his father dies it is George that is chosen to carry on the business. His brother, Harry, who was supposed to take over when he left college, gets a better offer. Even when he gets married himself, to Mary, and they are about to leave on honeymoon, he is drawn back to the town. When a local businessman, Mr Potter, refuses him a loan after some money is lost, this is the last straw for George and he decides to take his own life, thinking he is worth more dead than alive. At this point an Angel (second class) called Clarence intervenes and shows George what life would be like if he had never existed, and I'm here to tell you it ain't pretty. Better not say any more, don't want to give the ending away.

This is a very well made film, with excellent direction from Frank Capra and a tremendous performance from James Stewart as George Bailey. He really steals the show here and, not surprisingly, was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. Honourable mentions must also go to; Donna Reed as Mary Hatch, Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter, Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy and Henry Travers as Clarence.

As I said at the beginning, I found this film a little too saccharine in places, but it's still a great film and deserves its 'Classic' label. It is a very long film which mostly deals with events in George's life that lead up to his attempted suicide and it is all very well done. If you haven't seen it before I can highly recommend this film. I am not a religious man myself, but still enjoyed it.

My score: 8.7/10

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Epitome of Feel Good

Author: Ziglet_mir from United States
5 January 2010

I won't write much because most everyone else has all ready said what's needed to be said. So here we go...

What a great movie! Jimmy Stewart really delivers, and Donna Reed is so very charming as his sweetheart. Henry Travers plays it up as the small time angel with big hopes, but most of all, Frank Capra was a mastermind to really give this world a movie that sincerely touches the heart in more ways the one.

This is definitely not your average holiday movie, but the spirit is their and the lives of the characters are so carefully tended to. It is one of the most wittiest and well-crafted scripts I've ever heard from a film. And it's all thanks to Capra.

This is pure cinema magic at its finest-- The Epitome of Feel Good.

The whole scene toward the end pretty much had me in tears... and that's what a great movie's capabilities should be. Something that has you ask yourself questions and really make you think. And that's everything Capra's film did to me.

If for some reason this film doesn't click with you... I hope you find a movie that makes you feel the same way I did toward this one...

Because I have never walked away from any other movie saying, "I want to really live my life."

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

pure magic

Author: arthera09 from United States
31 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have to fill this with 10 lines, but it does not require 10 lines to say that this movie is perfect and one of my favorite movies of all time. The ending gets me every time somehow. I love Jimmy Stewart and cannot emphasize how much he makes this movie work. I think he really gets to show off both this comical skills and his dramatic ability. I saw this on the big screen at a local theater house and it really was a magical type of experience. No matter how many times I watch this movie find something new to fall in love with or just fall in love with the same thing over and over again. I will probably watch this movie at least once every year for the rest of my life and never get tired of it.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"A toast to my big brother, George: The richest man in town"

Author: ackstasis from Australia
30 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Why is it that I get a little teary every time I watch 'It's A Wonderful Life (1946)?' The title says it all, I suppose. Despite the film's reputation as a holiday classic, Capra's film succeeds because it doesn't forget about the other eleven months of the year – it truly is about life, and what makes it wonderful. Even the most understated moments have a tendency to expose me as a romantic: in one of my favourite scenes, George Bailey (James Stewart) offers the Moon to his sweetheart, Mary (Donna Reed). Yet Capra doesn't patronise the audience with a string of happy moments. George, at first, seems like the unluckiest person in town, a man whose big dreams never came to fruition, for reasons entirely outside his control. It is Capra's miracle that George, and the audience, ultimately realise that life's greatest wonders are not necessarily those that we had anticipated – friends we never expected to make, a girl with whom we never expected to fall in love…

On a snowy Christmas Eve, George Bailey stands on a bridge in his home town of Bedford Falls, contemplating suicide. Throughout his life-time, George's grand dreams of exploration and excitement have been repeatedly stifled by tragedy and obligation, and now he sees no future except in death. God, watching from Heaven, sends down guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers), who tries to convince George that life is something to be treasured. 'It's a Wonderful Life' was adapted from Philip Van Doren Stern's short story "The Greatest Gift," and carries shades of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (indeed, Lionel Barrymore was chosen for the role of Mr. Potter based on his much-lauded radio portrayals of Scrooge from 1934). James Stewart, who had served in the U.S. Airforce during WWII, brings a painful weariness to the role of beleaguered family-man George Bailey, and the warm, soulful eyes of Donna Reed – as George's wife Mary – are enough to remind any man that life is, indeed, wonderful.

'It's A Wonderful Life' differs from 'You Can't Take It With You (1938)' and 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)' in that the film's central immoral character does not undergo a change of heart (though, admittedly, Jim Taylor in the latter film does remain a rigid villain, even when Senator Paine reveals a human streak). Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) is one of cinema's most formidable villains, a heaving bulk of a man, confined to a wheelchair, who desires money and power for the sake of money and power. In the swelling emotion of Capra's final act, it's easy to forget that Potter goes unpunished for his moral crimes. Here, Capra deals in blacks and whites. George Bailey is a good man; Mr Potter is a bad man. The director's own unique brand of "Capra-corn" required that the audience's sympathies never be confused, so that they can commit themselves to a character who is destined for a happy ending. After having watched 'You Can't Take It With You,' Barrymore's role- reversing characterisation is stunning.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

It's a wonderful film.

Author: (esmorr) from Melbourne, Australia.
27 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of my favourite movies. It took some time for me to get to the point of liking it so much though; the first time I watched it I thought it was o.k., but after subsequent viewings I now like it very much. I have always loved Jimmy Stewart's work, he's my favourite actor, so the fact that he's in it is a plus. The message of this film is that one man can make a difference, and that should never be forgotten by anyone; we all make a difference individually, but whether it's good or bad is up to us. Donna Reed is excellent as the dutiful, loving wife, and Lionel Barrymore is classic as the miserly, greedy opportunist. Henry Travers shines in his role as Clarence the guardian angel 2nd class, sent to pull George up by the bootstraps and make him see his place in the world of Bedford Falls. This is the movie which should be played every Christmas, as it engenders in the viewer the true spirit of Christmas: the joy of giving and investing in your fellow man. If you can get your hands on the behind-the-scenes extras' please do, as they contain very revealing interviews with both Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra. I only wish that they still made good quality movies like this nowadays. I give it a 9 because it's a B&W; it would be great in colour, but either way 'It's a wonderful life' is indeed a wonderful family movie with a great message. Note: There is a coloured copy of this classic movie floating around, so you might like to grab it if you can.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Think! If George Bailey hadn't been born: Harry wouldn't go to the Ice Pond!Martini would run a Pizzeria!Gower would've sold to CVS!Violet would've married Uncle Billy.....

Author: John T. Ryan ( from United States
12 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WHILE MAKING IT yet another early Winter's eve spent with the handy work of Mr. Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, et al, it suddenly occurred to us that IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (Liberty Films/RKO Radio Pictures, 1946) is one film that has a most checkered history. Inspite of the exalted position of preeminence that it has occupied for some thirty or so years now, as hard as it may seem to believe, the movie was not a success at the time of its original release.

WE CAN RECALL viewing it for the first time. It was while in Junior High (in the 7th Grade), circa 1958. The temperate zone setting was very appealing; rather than being set in the warm and sunny Southern California, Mediterramean clime that characterize so many cinematic works. This was a most friendly way of getting the attention of this kid, here (that's me, Schultz)! I really identified with it.

SO, WE CAN now magically fast forward our time line about 12-15 years to the early 1970's. It was during this period that our subject film was wrongly thought to be in Public Domain. Without the benefit of copyright protection,it would be open season on this or any other movie. Every and any print of it could be, and was shown over just about all of the commercial TV stations in the land; as well as those which come under the umbrella of (everybody bow their heads) the Public Broadcasting System.*

THE MEGA DOSSAGE of exposures to the Film, rather than wearing out its welcome with the Public, surprisingly served to permanently cement its endearment to the masses. In much the same manner that all the films and characters which are numbered among all that is the Walt Disney Legacy, the characters and happenings of this screen story are all second nature to us now.

HAVING SUCCEEDED IN capturing the affection and imagination of the public at large, the characters and storyline would surely invite imitation; for after all, they say that..."Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Yet, there has never been a movie which we could say with any reasonably high degree of certainty that was an attempt to emulate the story and the spirit of the film.

WE SAY THAT there was no imitation of the movie; a statement that you may well be disputing. And believe us when say we can hear you when you say, "What about that made for TV movie, IT HAPPENED ONE Christmas (Daisy Productions/Universal TV/ABC TV Network,1977), which was a starring vehicle for Miss Marlo Thomas and Wayne Rogers; with support from Cloris Leachman and Orson Wells!!

IT REQUIRED A Sex Change operation for the principals as Mary was now the main character and head of the Savings & Loan; with the Angel's role being consigned to the feminine side with Cloris Leachman (relpete with an annoying & phony Cockney accent) being called "Clara", instead of Henry Travers' name of "Clarence"! (Clever these Americans!)

WELL, WE SAID it before and we'll stick by our statement. This is not an imitation or derivative of the original. It's an outright piece of Plagiarism, plain and simple! It may have been do one all legal like and above board, but it's still Plagiarism. Just screen it and see that the script has been a carbon copy of the Capra Film.

AS PERHAPS AN unintended, though extremely beneficial, consequence of all of this super dosage of this variety of what has been described as 'Capra-corn'**,

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE eventually rose to the pinnacle of success as America's Favourite Film of the Christmas Holiday Season. In doing so, Mr. Capra's pet project managed to supplant the former Yuletide Christmas favourite, WHITE Christmas (Paramount, 1955). (Yuch!!!!!!!!!!!! But that, my dear buddy Schultz, is another story!)

NOTE: * We prefer to refer to it as the POLIT BUREAU SYSTEM.

NOTE: ** It has been said that while it was true, that the copyright to the Movie had not been renewed therefore it was legitimately considered to be in Public Domain, the Music in the Film was a different story. In this case, the impossible was accomplished, with "all the Horses being put back into the Barn!" The Music Copyright lead to having a single copyright owner (Republic Pictures). Hence, we see the movie usually twice a year on NBC.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Must See for the Holidays

Author: jackiemariec from United States
9 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of the all time greatest Christmas movies ever! Jimmy Stuart plays the roll of George Bailey with his normal genius. All of us have a little George Bailey in us and sometimes need to be reminded how we affect the world around us. Of course Henry Travers is quite lovable as Clarence (Angle 2nd Class). It brings back to memory a time much more innocent and always leaves me wishing I could have grown up in that era. If you don't feel good after watching this movie, you should watch it again. This movie is great for the entire family and is one of our Christmas traditions. It is always an event when we turn it on and officially starts our Christmas season.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Nice Movie I ever seen

Author: chandrasekhar_babu from India
14 April 2008

The first half of the movie is going very good with the family background. The real twist starts in the second half and after seeing the entire movie no body wont leave until they cry. The human values is shown very nicely. And the people will learn how to lead a life with their wife and children.

James stewart done excellent in this movie. I like his character in this movie. Mostly the angle do the funny things in this movie. This movie is worth watching and You can spent for this.

I have a DVD Collection for my own and i want to keep it for a long time. wish to see this movie.

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