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An angel (Henry Travers) helps a compassionate but despairingly
frustrated businessman (Jimmy Stewart) by showing what life would have
been like if he never existed.
After almost seventy years, and getting played over and over on television, you might think people have grown tired of this film. And yet, as of 2014, it seems to be appreciated more than ever. Not that it is a flawless film. The editing, for example, is pretty rotten. And critical, it is probably not a great film, especially alongside "The Best Years of Our Lives", which came out around the same time. But this film really hits the heart.
There are some parallels here with "A Christmas Carol", only now it is Bob Cratchitt who is the one in a need of a visit from a supernatural friend. The message is different, but also very much the same.
I usually do not enjoy old movies but my acting coach had recommended
me to watch this film as I was going to produce, write and act in my
own film. This film was not only inspirational but beautifully written.
It was heartfelt and was very touching. I especially loved the scenes
containing conversations between the stars in the universe. That really
added the comedy aspect of the film.
The message of the film was moving and relatable to life in general. Furthermore, the music composed really added a great touch to the underlying emotion and setting of the film. This was one of my favorite black and white films of all time, mainly due to the moral of the story which inspired me.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) was produced and directed by Frank Apra.
The film is about George Bailey, played by James Stewart, who dreams of
leaving Bedford Falls, his home town, to travel around world.
Unfortunately, a chain of events prevent him from realizing his dream.
His father, who owned the family savings and loan, had a stroke. After
the death of his father, George agrees to manage the savings and loan
until his brother graduates from college. However, his brother gets
married and accepts a job working with his father in law. George
continues to run the family business. He eventually marries Mary,
(Donna Reed) his childhood sweetheart, and they settle down to raise
their four children.
On Christmas Eve, Uncle Billy, played by Thomas Mitchell, loses the $8,000 bank deposit. He absent mindedly placed the money in a newspaper, and gave the paper to Henry Potter, (Lionel Barrymore). Henry Potter was the major shareholder in the Bedford Falls Building and Loan. Potter keeps the money because he wants the bank to fail, and George to go to jail. George and Uncle Billy are unable to find the money. George asks Potter for a loan. Potter turns him down, and reports him to the authorities. George gets drunk and tries to commit suicide by crashing his car into a tree. After realizing that his plan did not work, he staggers to the town bridge. Before he can jump, Clarence, (Henry Tavers) his guardian angel, jumps in and pretends to be drowning. George rescues him and he discovers that Clarence is his guardian angel. Clarence convinces George that he has a wonderful life, by showing him what life in Bedford Falls would be like without him.
The theme of the film is that every life is important. Everyone is important, and everyone contributes to the greater good. George based his worth on the things that he did not accomplish. Therefore, he believed that Bedford Falls would be a better place without him. George was so focused on the negative that he forgot about the good things that he had accomplished; and all the people that he had helped. Through a series of flashbacks, Clarence convinces George that his life was important. Sound was used throughout the movie to provide transitions between two sequences. The actors projected naturalness, sincerity and truthfulness. Henry Potter and Clarence Odbody provided the theme of good and evil throughout the movie. The movie reminded me of Ebenezer Scrooge, by Charles Dickens. The movie shows us the importance of recognizing the good that we do in life.
One of those rare films people like visiting on an annual basis, It's A
Wonderful Life is a heartwarming look at how every person affects
everyone else around him/her without even knowing it.
A look at each person's importance in this society and how everything would've been different in the lives of their dearest ones in their absence, It's A Wonderful Life works not solely because of an honest heart at its core but also because of its brilliant direction, nicely crafted script, & well, James Stewart.
With nothing to complain and every ingredient of filmmaking blending pretty well to provide a brilliant finish, I've no doubt in saying that It's A Wonderful Life is, indeed, a wonderful film.
"It's a Wonderful Life" is the title of this movie and it really could
not have been other because this movie show us the good and bad things
in life and it also show us that life is wonderful.
This movie is not a simple old fashioned movie which is overrated, it's a movie that can learn you many things for life and not only for that, it can make you understand which are the true and more important things in life and which not. With this movie you can learn and earn very much.
James Stewart as George Bailey is really great and makes one of my favorite interpretations as well as Donna Reed as Mary Hatch.
*** 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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This classic film opens with the voices of various people praying for
George Bailey; it is clear that their prayers will be answered when
voices in the heavens discuss how to help him. Angel Clarence will be
assigned to save George but first Clarence, and the audience, must see
how George came to be considering suicide. As a child George Bailey
dreamt of getting out of the small town of Bedford Falls; he wanted to
see the world, get an education then make his mark on the world. It
wasn't to be though; he constantly sacrifices his dreams to help
others. This leaves him stuck in the town running the savings and loan
company that his father ran. It isn't a job he wanted but he does it
anyway giving loans to people nobody else will help. This makes him
popular with everybody apart from the miserly Mr. Potter who doesn't
like to see the people who were paying him to rent slums buying their
own houses. The years pass and George gets married and has children; he
isn't rich but he is content; then one day Potter gets the opportunity
to ruin George; thinking the only way he can help his family is to kill
himself for the insurance we get to the point the film started. As he
hits the depth of despair Clarence appears in his life and showed him
just what the town would have been like if George had never been born;
a miserably place full of bitter people lorded over by the odious
Potter. When George returns he understands what good friends he has.
I'd obviously heard of this film a long time ago but had somehow never seen it until today. I knew the film was considered a classic and think James Stewart was a fine actor so I had to watch it when it was on television. Now that I have seen it I ban see why it is held in such high regard. I was a little put off by the opening but once we started seeing George's life from the time he saved his brother's life when he was twelve till the very end I was engrossed. Stewart did a great job as George; the man destined to miss out on his dream each time it looked as though it would come true... even the moment he was about to go away on his honeymoon was ruined meaning he couldn't go. It isn't all disappointment though; there are many joyful scenes as George helps various people and falls in love and then marries Mary Hatch. By the end it is likely that the viewer will have shed tears of both sorrow and joy. If you haven't seen it yet watch it the next chance you get and if you have seen it I'm sure you don't need anybody else to tell you how good it is!
A fabulous ode to life, love and solidarity.
It is one of the most beautiful Christmas stories, although not exactly about Christmas. It is about how real miracles happen in our daily life. It shows us how to live life in happiness, love and solidarity.
In a small town in the United States, George Bailey, a man who tried all his life to be fair, honest, caring and good, has reached the limit of its mental, physical and financial strengths. It's right on the verge of losing everything he has and leave his family destitute unless a miracle happens this Christmas. But as George does not believe in miracles, he decides to commit suicide by throwing himself to the icy river. When he is about to jump he is prevented from doing so by a stranger named Clarence, actually an angel trying to earn his wings. He will prove to George, who wished never to exist, the importance of his life and show him the nightmare that his city could have turned if he had not existed.
Technically it is a bit poor, with bad cuts inside same scenes, but we must care that this is a 1946 movie and this doesn't takes down the 10/10 rating I gave. A remake of this movie should be made in order to update such a remarkable story.
What can I say about 'It's a Wonderful Life'. I have just watched the
film this evening on Christmas Eve 2012, and every time I watch the
movie, it just gets more powerful and grander each year. The film is on
top of thousands of peoples lists around the world as the greatest film
ever made. It is definitely my favourite film. I am seventeen years
old, and you would think the magic of 'It's a Wonderful Life' would die
out in the older generations, but no, it gets more magical through
every generation that comes.
Have you ever herd the expression, "They don't make films like that anymore." Well, the thing is, they don't. And really, there is never going to be anything in the whole history of motion pictures that will be greater than this masterpiece classic. The moral to this film is that no man is a failure who has friends (as written by Clarence inside the 'Tom Sawyer' book in the film).
The film is brilliantly casted with exceptional roles from James Stewart (who should have won an Oscar for the role, never mind just getting a nomination), Donna Reed (the smart and beautiful actress who every man would love to be an ideal wife or mother), and Lionel Barrymore (for his exceptional role as the wicked Scrooge like character, Mr. Potter). The film was nominated for five Oscars without winning any, you can thank 'The Best Years of Our Lives' (1946) and the film critics for that. Really nowadays, you don't hear anyone talking about that film. A lot of films that are at the top of polls have never won an award anyway, like 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1992). Both 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'The Shawshank Redemption' topped a poll in the Empire magazine for the greatest film never to win an Oscar (IAWL came second). But gladly, the film did win a Golden Globe for Best Directing (Frank Capra) in 1947. So not all was lost.
Overall, this film is a masterpiece and a classic, and for those people who have voted the film under seven, what are you thinking? 10 out of 10!!!
I am a little shocked by the criticisms of the portrayal of George as being selfless amid so much opportunity. I'll admit that I'm nowhere near that level of dedication toward improving the lives of people in a community, but I've known several people of that caliber and have always been in awe of what they do. If you watch George at the very end and all you can think is that he short-changed himself in life, you're overdue for a thoracic stone removal. I, like many, have made "It's a Wonderful Life" a Christmas tradition. One of the bits of magic I appreciate more and more in movies is when the ending brings such a sweet atmosphere that stands as complete resolution to all the bleekness and despair that permeates the plot. In the end I have nothing but admiration and gratification for the character of George Bailey.
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