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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:

I guess "Timeless" is the right word for this film.

Author: anton-6 from sweden
31 December 2001

I have heard that they show this film every Christmas in America and I can´t understand why they don´t show it every year here in Sweden.A film that makes you happy.

First off all I would like too say that the acting by James Stewart is superb and Henry Travers as the angel is very funny.The rest of the acting is also great.The cinematography is also excellent.

I would call it a masterpiece.A Sentimental tale about life that I am sure will make you happy.It has not aged a bit.5/5

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Sidebar Point Or Two

Author: fowler1 from nyc
16 December 2000

There's no need to echo the praise this film receives from seemingly everyone, but I've always been fascinated by its continuing, if not growing, appeal to modern audiences. The Bedford Falls of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE has never existed and I think we all know that: it's sheer fantasy composed of equal portions of wish-fulfillment and nostalgia, but the type of fantasy that summons the better angels within us and ennobles us by lifting us out of the mundane and towards the ideal. Bedford Falls is childhood and innocence tucked away in the safe harbor of the past. Where this movie's immense power lies is in the Pottersville scenes...let's face it, Pottersville is what contemporary America IS. (Has anyone ever noted that while Bedford Falls is obviously a studio set, the camera pans through nightmarish Pottersville look like stock footage of any postwar American city?) That contrast, that emotional dichotomy, is what strikes such a chord within us: the idealized never-was vs the harsh, unforgiving can't-wish-it-away of grim reality. By the same token, the movie's true message - Bedford Falls is within reach of us all if we love our friends and family, stay the course despite setbacks, and treat others with kindness and respect - is even more seductive and affecting now than in 1946. It's little wonder this movie tanked on first release, as its peculiar magic needs to acquire antique status to reach its full power. I'm sure the first half of the film seemed as unbearably corny to postwar audiences as it now seems impossible to resist to audiences who are unceasingly bludgeoned with entertainment built upon callousness, carnality and levels of brutality once unthinkable. (Which is why the notion of a remake is utterly laughable: even younger audiences who don't 'get' old black & white movies are intuitive enough to grasp that this kind of heartfelt sentiment properly belongs to a different America - the America contemporary Hollywood has taught them to despise.) Though everyone focuses on the well-known plot and a truly stunning performance by Jimmy Stewart, it's worth noting that this might be Capra's most superbly directed project. There's no exotica a la LOST HORIZON or showy MR SMITH filibusters on view; WONDERFUL LIFE is more introspective and mellow a film, Capra in a minor key. But every setpiece is staged and photographed expertly, and all the big payoffs resonate with honest and powerful emotion. The scene with young George Bailey and the drunken, grief-crazed druggist is as beautifully done as any in Capra's long career, and that's just the first of many high points here. Maybe the most satisfying aspect of the film is the inability of film critics to resist taking a shot at it: you keep reading over and over how IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is a 'dark' film with a pessimistic view of middle-class aspirations, despite the fact that millions of viewers, year after year, watch it as a reaffirmation of those same values. And Frank Capra made movies for ordinary people, whom he loved, and not critics, whom he tolerated.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The best Christmas movie ever!

Author: Monika-5 from United States
9 October 2000

What a wonderful film. Sure, it ends happily but it is also a very dark, dramatic film. NO ONE could've played the unlucky hero, George Bailey as wonderfully as James Stewart did. I could never imagine anyone else playing him, and a wonderful supporting cast backs him up beautifully. Who hasn't felt like George at some point in our lives and wondered how our loved ones would be if we'd never been born? The saga of George Bailey is a wonderful story to behold. A must-see, especially at Christmas.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

If you've never seen this movie, you've GOT to.

Author: john in missouri from United States
23 June 2000

If you're one of those people who've never seen this movie -- you've GOT to. It's as simple as that.

In fact, if I were limited to viewing 3 or 4 movies during my lifetime, and could somehow make an intelligent choice of which movies to choose, "It's A Wonderful Life" would be on that very short list.

Even if you've seen it quite a few times, like I have, you can still find details you've previously missed. (Do you know what words Peter Bailey put in a plaque on the wall of the Building and Loan? Didn't think so!)

I personally find this movie so important because of what it says about such things as: the meaning of a single individual's life; the potential of an ordinary person; getting the hard stuff in perspective, etc.

Feel-good movie? Yes -- but darker moments are gripping as well; from the very beginning in which we hear (among other voices praying for a man named George Bailey) the desperate voice of his young daughter. There's a rather horrifying drugstore scene. Classic moments, however, include the touching and the funny as well, like the dance scene ("Hey, we must be pretty good!")

Writing about it all makes me want to see this movie again. If you've never done so, I highly recommend making it next on your list!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A Classic

Author: Fran Robins (critic-22) from London
30 March 2000

It's a Wonderful Life

DIRECTION V% Directed to bring across the story in a fairly good way. Not aged that much!

ACTING †% Stewart is the centre piece of emotions and drama. Supporting performances are good as well.

EDITING/SPECIAL EFFECTS f% Edited to convey a story, showing how the past affects the present.

PLOT •% The strongest part of the movie, enough there to stop you from killing yourself even though times do really get hard.

STRONG WORDS AND VIOLENCE ETC %% There is a family argument, which is emotional and dramatic..

MUSIC e% A score fitting this style of movie.

SOUND 0% Normal everyday sounds, improving tha atmosphere of the flick.

HOOKABILITY †% Good story telling goes a long way.........

LASTABILITY %........and you won't be forgetting this tale in a hurry.

OVERALL ‘% A classic in the respects of good story telling and provides a healing process for the hurt in this world. Life is wonderful and worth every moment!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's a Wonderful Life!...It really is!

Author: Derek Viger ( from Rumford, Maine
2 March 2000

There are multitudes of Christmas films that have been made. Some are only for kids, some are more serious, and some are simply classics. It's a Wonderful Life fits under the last category. Ever since I was a small child, I cant remember one Christmas where everyone didn't cuddle up under warm afghans and watched this movie. Jimmy Stuart gives his most brilliant performance in this movie. He does a very well job of portraying a man who's down on his luck at the beginning of the movie. I can hear the frustration in his voice when the stair banister breaks. But he not only plays this one shade of a man. He plays many more. He is the sweet father who watches over little sick ZuZu, but at the same time he is the man with too many troubling thoughts when he yells at his daughter Janey for practicing the piano too loud. Then again he shows his helpful side when his old friend comes back looking for money to head out to Hollywood and start a acting career. Although this story has vast differences, I find that it contains a hint of A Christmas Carol. The underlying story is still there. A man who is heading down the wrong path and is shown how he changed the world. If you haven't seen this movie before rent it in the middle of July for a little bit of the Christmas cheer.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest

Author: Mike from Saginaw, Michigan
21 February 2000

It's a Wonderful Life is probably one of the most spectacular films I've ever seen in my short film experience. Every little piece that went into making this film is superb. The plot is ingenious, to actually see what it would be like if you never existed, the acting is a joy to watch, the direction is Frank Capra, what more can you say. I gave it a ten and even decided to comment on a movie for the first time in seeing that someone could brand this movie with the disrespect of a one.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's a Wonderful Movie

Author: Gregory R. Greco (
9 January 2000

In one of the great stories of this century, we meet George Bailey, who in a desperate moment is shown how his life touches so many others. It is a story of a man who has given up money, adventure, and excitement in favor of integrity, loyalty, and sacrifice. It is a loving tribute to everyone who knows the value of making a house a home, and making a place a community. Jimmy Stewart, as George Bailey, is able to effortlessly give us such a man, but he is also able to give us a flawed hero who is at the end of his rope. It is when he sees what life would be like without him that he truly appreciates his "wonderful life." While this film was billed as a romance, and Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart do not disappoint on that end, director Frank Capra is going for something deeper than romance. What he is aiming at, and succeeds like few have done before or since, is to demonstrate the value in placing people above money, integrity over opportunity, and sacrifice over adventure. While these values have been demonstrated in movies before, none have done so with Capra's poetry.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Everyone loves it!

Author: lawrence-14 (
22 December 1999

Everyone loves It's A Wonderful Life, if they don't then something's up. Very influental, this is a timeless classic from Frank Capra that doesn't seem to get as much screening on TV in the UK as it does in the USA. James Stewart is brilliant and is without a doubt one of the all-time acting greats. Everyone else is great in a movie which is a true festive favourite.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's a wonderful movie

Author: JeffG. from Boston, MA
19 December 1999

This movie is not just a Christmas classic, but one of the best movies ever. Despite being over 50 years old, it hasn't aged at all and is just as endearing now as ever. Jimmy Stewart gives the performance of his lifetime as the selfless George Bailey. The movie also delivers an important, though often overlooked message: no man is a failure who has friends. What a wonderful movie.

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