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|Index||607 reviews in total|
This is a movie that has to be experienced to be appreciated. The names may be changed, the time periods, settings, situations and places may be different, but, this is the story of every person who thought they lost everything and were given a second chance to find it. Jimmy Stewart at his usual best. Donna Reed at her most lovely. Great acting all around, especially Barrymore at his most sinister. Although this usually appears at Christmas, this is more than just a Christmas classic.
A lesser cast would flounder with this story, about a small-town man who suffers a setback and ponders ending it all on Christmas Eve. But Jimmy Stewart and friends make the tale truly uplifting rather than sappy. The rare kind of movie that can actually influence you years after you've seen it. Supporting cast provides great backdrop for Stewart. As good viewing the tenth time as it is the first.
Like the entries for 'Star Wars', 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'The Third Man',
about everything that can be said about this one has been said already. I
will say that it's a tremendously affecting film, even after seeing it every
year for ages-it still delivers. Watch this one after watching, say, 'You
Can't Take it With You' or 'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town'-you'll see many of the
same faces in the cast, and a similar magic working in them as well.
Personally I have always enjoyed Sheldon Leonard (as the bar keeper) and Sam S. Hinds as the father, among many, many others.
Of course, the ending where he gets help from the Halohead, and begs God for his life back, absolutely wrenches your guts to tears every time out; no one could deliver the goods like Capra, Reed and Stewart. A film too good to see just in December, by all means see it, watch it, enjoy it. They do Not make them like this anymore; for all I know, they don't know how.
**** outta ****, as good as it gets.
To my utter dismay and disbelief, I recently discovered that a friend from
work hated this movie.
This friend, whom we will call "Jean", says she saw it for the first time recently and absolutely hated it. "What a crappy movie" or something to that effect.
Not that it's important how old Jean is, but let's just say she's had ample opportunities to view the film in previous years, and by her own account she feels her parents had the good taste to protect her from this film.
I can only react in shock as one of my most beloved film experiences is torn asunder in such a harsh way. But perhaps I'm blindsided by the tradition of the film, with it being a staple for Christmas fare. Maybe I'm being merely nostalgic. Maybe I can't see it for what it is.
I tell you something dear friends, I hated Christmas this year.
It seemed to be one obligation after another that nearly stamped out any Christmas cheer I could usually muster with the greatest of ease. My beloved wife and I were busier than ever before and didn't even find the time to put up a Christmas tree, much less enjoy "It's A Wonderful Life".
You know something, I think it's because we didn't take the time to enjoy the finer points of Christmas, and part of that is Frank Capra's delightful film, which I've just acquired on DVD and plan to watch just as soon as I'm able, despite my hectic schedule.
I don't know if Jean will ever give this film another chance or not, I hope she does. Because nothing on film can compare to the touching scene at the end, where George Bailey discovers just what kind of an impact he's had on the lives of the friends around him. Just try to fight those tears, but it won't make you feel any less choked up, no matter how many times you see it, whether you start at the end or not, it doesn't matter. C'mon Jean.
Best of any year, this movie should be on everyone's top 20 list. It is on mine, next to "Godfather" and "Some Like it Hot", two of my all time favorites. Jimmy Stewart is wonderful as George, if only we all had the opportunity to see what life would be like without each one of us. Good at any time of year, not just Christmas. Donna Reed is wonderful as his wife Mary, for putting up with him. You will laugh, cry and look at your own world. It is a wonderful life!!!
It's a Wonderful Life is truly a great, heart-warming, emotional film that always finds the power to make me bawl like a baby. Even as I got older and started noticing some of its interior corniness, this film never failed to touch me. It is truly an American classic, with superb acting, tender directing, and a sweet, close-to-home plot.
Anytime I'm felling down I'll put on "It's A Wonderful Life" and just forget about the things that were bothering me. To me that's the power of this exceptional film. It has an amazing way of putting things into perspective for me and that's why it's my favorite film. Of course the film also contains some of the finest acting I've ever seen. It's not just the entralling performance from James Stewart but the richness in depth of all the character actors no matter how insignificant their parts may seem.
It is a nice movie, but what is the special thing about it? What is the "magic"? The story develops slowly... veeeeery slowly. It might have been appropriate 65 years ago, but today? Storytelling in cinemas changed and that is not always a bad thing. The setup took to long and the struggle of the hero was not believable for me. The acting was good (more or less). The moral of the story was lame. "Your life makes a difference!" It is a calendar motto, the message of a cheap self-improvement book. Maybe I am not romantic enough to enjoy this movie. To me it was OK, but it was not a "revelation". Not a movie, that I want to watch "over and over".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is easily my favorite Christmas film and also one of my favorite
films of all time.
The story of George Bailey (James Stewart) who as a young man dreamed of traveling the world and making a difference, until outside influences and obligations tie him forever to his small home town of Bedford Falls. While George endeavors to make a difference in Bedford Falls while raising a loving family, circumstances would once again take a hand causing George to questions what good his life has been and whether everyone would be better of if he had never been born. Thus we have the premise upon which our story will focus with some very obvious debts to Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol".
While the movie wasn't a huge success upon its initial release it would still be nominated for 5 Oscars including; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Editing. And this film has a very impressive pedigree in terms of both its Director Frank Capra and its cast. So while some will see this film as a surprise belated hit I don't think it's really all that surprising.
The films cast includes five Academy Award Winners; James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Gloria Grahame along with Ward Bond, H.B. Warner and a pair of Academy Award nominees in Beulah Bondi and Henry Travers.
The message of film along with its depictions of family, friends and small town life are the great strengths of Director Frank Capra's work perhaps best realized here. Although Capra would not win here, he would earn three Oscar's as best director over his career.
As has oft been told, the films popular revival is due largely to a lapse in its copyright in 1974 which allowed local TV outlets to air it for free which made it very popular as seasonal programming.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At its center, the film works because we all have wondered what would the world be like if we were never born. Have we had an impact? After all, whether it's leaving behind descendants, works of art, discoveries, or just our name, we all want some recognition, that we mattered, or at least were here. It helps define our sojourn, and allow us to extrapolate meaning from a cosmos which is random, indifferent, and so large and eternal as to defy the meager human ability to fully comprehend. With that as a base desire, the film then goes nearly two hours showing us a life that has many tangents with ours- be you an American, Mongolian, or Zulu. We see the effect George has had, even if he does not, and know what can only await him when Clarence pulls out his life's rug from under his feet- if not the particulars, certainly the general effects, which can only be negative. Yes, George may be more involved with others than the typical person, but we are all connected, however peripherally. This film does a better job than any other film in espousing the notion of The Butterfly Effect, even more so than the recent film of that name. We all see ourselves in George Bailey, for the film does not focus on George's mere home nor business lives, but all the important moments they bound, and even fail to contain. We can easily extrapolate ourselves into his position, especially at his moment of crisis, when he literally, as Potter taunts, is worth more dead than alive- at least on a material level . This toweringly great film is all about corralling the material instincts and aspects of the world, and using them for the right reasons, while appreciating the values that lie beneath those instincts. The cynics, dummies, and willful misreaders of this film be damned! It is not corny, cheesy, hokey, nor a mere feel good tearjerker, like its many inferior copycats are. Too often the commercials or excerpts that are shown damage the overall film's perception, for it's a synergistic film, whose whole far surpasses its parts. It is great art, period. It is defensible not only on an emotional level, but on intellectual and artistic levels. It is also testament to the fact that great art always rises to the surface, even if bad critics pummel it. This has an extra resonance for me and those who produce excellence with no immediate reward nor recognition. But, even without that, It's A Wonderful Life deserves its plaudits, and your viewership.
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