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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:

Simply an annual "Can't Miss"!

Author: Blind Sight from Canada
2 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The acting is what you would expect from this excellent cast and they don't fail to deliver.

This is one of those classics where the winter holiday season isn't complete without seeing this movie.

While the plot is fascinating and intriguing, the human dynamics and character complexity is what makes this film so compelling. The evolution of George Bailey - from a compassionate youth, to a bitter and broken man that cannot see any end to a dark and foreboding tunnel, is both subtle and thoroughly real. There are very few people who cannot relate to that kind of despair, and his return-trip to salvation never fails to be uplifting.

Fantastic film.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: kechhh 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 4 people found the following review useful:

A timeless classic

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
10 February 2013

*** 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!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A fabulous ode to life, love and solidarity

Author: pedro_quide from Portugal
28 December 2012

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.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Masterpiece, classic or both...

Author: Morgan Rhys from United Kingdom
24 December 2012

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!!!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

I Believe in Possibilities, therefore I love this Movie

Author: BatStarIndyFreak from UT, USA
15 December 2011

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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1 out of 4 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 4 people found the following review useful:

A powerful piece of cinema that shows how our lives are more important than we think they are.

Author: wwe7961 from United States
11 December 2010

This is a wonderful movie. It goes beyond the typical holiday special, and gives us something to think about. Rather than giving us that jolly feeling of Christmas through something visual or emotional this film gives it to us in more of a mental way. It makes us think about how important our lives really are, and that we should be glad to be alive. It makes us think about how we have changed the lives of people though we wouldn't realize it. It gives the mind a message that is received the brain and stays there. Yes it does give a heartwarming feel that I love, but I feel the main focus of the story was lesson it wanted to teach its watchers. They deliver that message stronger than any other film I have ever seen. You learn from this movie. This is really one of the best I have ever seen. The cast delivers wonderfully, the script is strong, the cinematography is excellent, and as I said the message it gives is genuine. I love this movie.

4 stars out of 4

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1 out of 4 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 4 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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