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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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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful tale of life.

Author: Danny Klema from United States
2 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a child, I grew up watching this movie. Attempting to put my bias aside, "It's A Wonderful Life" is the one of the highest quality films I have ever seen. James Stewart is phenomenal at being the ''work hard, no reward'' kind of worker who is constantly struggling and must sacrifice how own desires for the good of his home. Whether it's keeping the Building and Loan alive or fighting off Potter from controlling Bedford Falls, Georgie Baily has always done what was best for the many in place of his own ambitions. With setback after setback in Geroge's life, Stewart portrays these struggles exceptionally well, sometimes even without speaking. This captivating story can be watched countless times and still hold it's weight. With everything coming full circle by the conclusion, the audience can really share in George Baily's emotional discontent and eventually, overwhelming joy in his life.

10/10 for telling a beautiful story of life and teaching values everyone can appreciate.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Everything needed in a movie

Author: djwise21 from United States
2 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a Wonderful Life is forever a classic due to it's holiday significance. That isn't the only reason it is a classic though, the movie begs the question all of us wonder and that is about our self worth. James Stewart creates phenomenal speeches just as he had in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and we get to feel his emotions first hand. It's a Wonderful Life contain such an inspiring story it makes it impossible not to look away. When a movie such as this can make you look into your own life and think about the others around you and inspires you to be the best you can be, there is no other greatness as big as that in film and that is exactly what this movie does. An absolute classic that will withstand the test of time.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

it is a wonderful movie for all time.....

Author: tikeswar bariha from India
29 January 2014

now it is 2014 ...and movie from 1946 a long time ......but still this movie has a special place in my heart ....i love this movie so inspirational so emotional this..James Stewart was very impressing in his acting...........all department of the movie was very well ...and i want to say this movie would receive an Oscar but unfortunately miss it... but this movie is among the greatest movies of all one of my favorite movie .................................i think this is the best Christmas movie ever...the gift given by god was great ......that touch a lesion to every human being that is wonderful..don't loss your is a wonderful movie ...James Stewart is my one of my favorite actor....his voice was sweet and soft.....

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

swaying through the life alike

Author: eklavya cwk from India
20 January 2014

the film is a significant contribution to the cinema, the art of depicting an idea which is a reality. Really life is wonderful and this is what we find out to be the motive of this drama. more like a cinema version of stage drama this film is a must watch......not (just) to appreciate it but also to remind our self in the bad time of life that how important everything and every life is, including our self in this space-time fabric . Its like a discussion to the basic ancient concepts we find from Indian subcontinental region and also from the recent book by Rhonda Byrne "the secret". it tells you that you are ... it tells me that i am the center of this universe and at the same time it also shows the importance of being good. even a single random act of kindness will trigger the sequential chain of good things to happen with others .....and if we think over it this chain finally ends on our self

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie!!

Author: suat1479 from Turkey
22 September 2013

The greatest movie I have ever seen. I watch it admiringly. James Stewart is the best actor and his performance on that movie is brilliant!. Also I love Frank Capra's movie and I think Wonderful Life is the best one. I watch it about 5 or 6 times.

Everything about this film is well for lack of better words, perfect. No question to it any longer, the best performance by an actor I have ever seen. It's more than just beautiful, timeless or fair. All of Stewart is revealed. Everything coming together for Capra. Lionel Barrymore at his best, which seems to be his worst.

Makes me feel good to be alive. What a wonderful little world it is. And if I waited my entire life, it would not be a waste of time.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful film at any time of the year

Author: DAVID SIM from United Kingdom
19 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Is It's a Wonderful Life the greatest Christmas movie ever made, or the greatest film ever made, period? Certainly many people on the IMDb think so; although a strong contender for the former, I'm not sure about the latter. One is hesitant about pronouncing any film something that eclipses all others, because that means every film you watch thereafter will seem inferior somehow, and I love movies too much to be pigeonholed.

The film's genesis is an interesting one; to my knowledge, It's a Wonderful Life is the only movie in history to originate from a Christmas card. Written by Philip Van Doren Stern, and originally titled The Greatest Gift, it told the story of George Bailey, and how his guardian angel Clarence shows him a glimpse of what life would be like if he had never been born. Stern shopped the story to various studios, and many of them turned their noses up at what sounded like such a frivolous idea for a movie.

But when it fell into Frank Capra's hands, he loved it, and wanted it expanded into his first feature after World War II had put his directing career on hold. After selecting fellow war veteran James Stewart as his leading man, and a rather troubled production, It's a Wonderful Life got the go-ahead.

But the film was met with indifference, where the public seemed to share in the studio heads distaste for the source material. It wound up forgotten about for several years, until the 1970s when copyright expired and the film landed in the hands of the public domain; suddenly It's a Wonderful Life was hailed as not only a Christmas classic, but a shining icon of cinema itself.

What is it about It's a Wonderful Life that has earned it that distinction? When reading other reviews on various sites, one thing that doesn't come through about the film is how little of Christmas there is in it. The framework Capra was working from only took up the last half-hour of the movie; nearly everything before that isn't even set at Christmas. It's a long road that we're on before we even get to George on that frigid bridge, considering suicide on that dark and snowy Christmas night.

Frank Capra takes his time with the story, investing plenty of development in the character of George Bailey. George has lived his whole life in the town of Bedford Falls; he has lofty ambitions that take him far, far away from this place, but he's forever having to make sacrifices for others.

Although he puts on a brave face while giving up his dreams of travelling the world and a college education, secretly a frustration burns deeply within George. He has to take over the Bailey Building & Loan, a job he really has no love for, and he watches friends and family go off and live their dreams and even become war heroes in the case of his brother, while he feels trapped in Bedford Falls.

This type of story could easily become saccharine in the hands of a lesser director, but Frank Capra's skillful direction makes sure the film avoids all of the obvious pitfalls (something the film's imitators often fall into). If George had taken each setback with a smile and a kind word, that is unrealistic, and I'd agree the film is worthy of the term Capra-corn that It's a Wonderful Life coined.

In fact this is a dark, relentlessly harsh Christmas film. Just look at George's face fall when he knows he must take over the BB&L to thwart the ambitions of the town miser Mr Potter, or when he forces a smile at the news that his brother Harry has gotten married and accepted a job offer, meaning the burden of responsibility over the future of the BB&L now rests in George's hands.

James Stewart was never better as George Bailey; as his life snowballs into an avalanche of misfortunes, he handles the increasingly depressing situation perfectly; even he believed this was his finest role. But equally good, if not better, is the film's villain, the heartless and chilling miser Mr Potter, played to perfection by Lionel Barrymore.

Potter makes Ebeneezer Scrooge seem a wimp; this is a man with no redeeming qualities, none whatsoever. He leans on the town of Bedford Falls like the Devil atop of Bald Mountain; he has no respect for the people who live there, and crushes anyone who dares challenge him, with George his favourite victim. He delights in seeing George's ambitions come to nothing, and vindictively pockets money that if not recovered, will bankrupt the BB&L and ruin George. He doesn't even get any kind of comeuppance; Potter is one of cinema's most chilling villains.

The final 30 minutes is where It's a Wonderful Life becomes ever more wondrous, and is the film at its blackest. George's failures have finally bested him, but just as he's about to end it all, Clarence Odbody, his guardian angel falls to Earth and shows him what Bedford Falls would be like without him. The town becomes a dark, twisted shadow of its other self, with Potter as its king and the people as his subjects. It's the film's darkest chapter, and a stunningly nihilistic vision of how things might have been.

The fact that things end on a happy note is never in doubt of course, but those who say seeing the townspeople come to George's rescue is Capra giving in to the soppy stuff before the end missed the point. After such a thoroughly miserable ordeal, George deserves his happy ending, and truly earns his redemption, like all the great film heroes. It's a Wonderful Life is often thought of as an upbeat, sentimental Christmas fable. What utter tosh! This is a film that takes us on a journey fraught with raw emotion, and rightfully earns a hallowed place in the Christmas pantheon.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The Greatest Film Ever Made

Author: donjeffries from United States
27 August 2013

Frank Capra produced a quartet of timeless films that managed to combine a heartwarming sentimentality with hard edged social commentary. "It's A Wonderful Life," which was initially a box office disappointment, is his masterpiece. In my view, it also represents the apex of cinema, the finest achievement in the history of motion pictures.

The irresistible plot borrows heavily from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," but manages to put a unique twist on it; instead of Ebeneezer Scrooge being reminded by the spirit world of just how horrible a person he's been, George Bailey is reminded by the spirit world that he has touched the lives of countless people, and that the world would be a horrible place without him.

James Stewart is perfect as Bailey, somehow 'aging' throughout the film, beginning as a believable college aged man even though he was thirty eight years old at the time of filming. Donna Reed is lovely, and the rest of the cast is filled with the type of character actors Capra's films were noted for. There is an interesting cameo from Carl "Alfalfa" Swtizer, grown from his "Our Gang" days into a gangly, rather homely teenager, whose prank sets off the unforgettable scene where Stewart and Reed Charleston their way into a swimming pool.

"It's A Wonderful Life" is that rare film that never gets old, never ages. The viewer can jump in at any point in the movie, and feel satisfied. The movie used to be played repeatedly by numerous channels during the holiday season, but in recent years copyright issues have reduced air time to only one or two broadcasts by NBC.

Everything about this movie is first rate. The dialogue can be, and should be, quoted endlessly; it is filled with Capra's trademark pro- little guy populism. The final scene, where the cast sings first "Hark The Herald Angels Sing," followed by "Auld Lang Syne," never fails to bring a tear to my eye, from the moment younger brother Harry Bailey proposes a toast, "To my big brother George, the richest man in town."

Capra's movies always inspired, but this one is in a class of its own. To watch James Stewart, cradling little Zuzu in his arms, while his friends and neighbors shower him with money and affection, is to understand how powerful this medium can be, and how in the hands of a truly good soul like Capra's, that message can be positive and uplifting. The lesson everyone should take away from this film is: "It IS A Wonderful Life."

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I want to live again

Author: elmag101 from US
14 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is by far the greatest Christmas movie ever made, and one of the greatest movies ever made. It is not Christmas until my family and I watch this. It in cases every meaning of Christmas but can, and should, be watched all year long. When I was little I thought this movie was just boring and long but now I see that the movie takes it's time so as to develop George Bailey. From the very beginning we see George (James Stewart, in a wonderful performance) saving his brother from the frozen pond and his boss from overdosing a woman. We actually care about him and feel bad when others take advantage of his kindness (his brother in particular. This doesn't happen in today's movies a lot.

In the end, after George wishes that he was never born, he sees that every man touches the lives of countless others. One of the best lines in the movie is when he begs for his life back and cries out "I want to live again". Such a simple line gets me every time.

If you have never seen this movie you may have seen a TV show that has used this story line:man gets down on his luck, worth more dead than alive and wishes he was never born and then sees how bad live would be if he never was born. This movie will make you see the good in man and the evil that tries to bring us down.

Just watch and see just how wonderful life is.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

'The Greatest Gift' that became 'IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE'

Author: Morgan Rhys from United Kingdom
6 August 2013

There is no film quite as fantastic as 'It's a Wonderful Life'. A beautiful script from Goodrich/Hackett and of course Frank Capra, the magician. The person who turned Phillip Van Doren Stern's short story 'The Greatest Gift' into a masterpiece. And of course lets not forget Jo Swerling for the additional scenes that made the movie an American classic. Acting was another grand part of the story. Full of great actors such as Ward Bond, Todd Karns, W.B. Warner, Thomas Mitchell, Gloria Grahame, Frank Faylen and Frank Alberson. But the performances from James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers were Oscar bound and unforgettable. Even if 'IAWL' didn't win any Oscars, it is still the most powerful and most celebrated movie of all time.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Holy mackerel, what a film.

Author: transylvanianfairy from Spain
4 July 2013

It's been a while since I last cried so much with joy after watching a film. The last minutes of It's a Wonderful Life are so beautiful and heart-melting that you'll probably want to stand up and clap! At least I did. I can't think of any flaw in this film. The acting is perfect, and James Stewart and Donna Reed shine out with their own light. The script is funny, witty and sometimes even sad. But what's most important about this film is its message; that life is often hard, but always beautiful, and something you should never give up on. Definitely, this movie is a classic that should be celebrated for the years to come. No matter if you're an adult or a child, you'll enjoy it.


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