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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:

Life IS wonderful

10/10
Author: anonymous from St.Jerome, Quebec, Canada
23 April 1999

It's a wonderful life is ,in my opinion,one of the best Christmas movie.Even if that film is over 50 years old,everybody have seen and will seen it for a long time.Those films don't seem to get old.James Stewart plays a depressed man who try to kill himself and he is saved by and angel by showing how the life would be if he never been born.The story is wonderful and the plays of the actors are wonderful.A very good movie.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Just try to hold back the waterworks at the end, I dare you

10/10
Author: Kyle Milligan (toldyaso@planeteer.com) from Toronto, Canada
22 February 1999

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.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Never fails to move me to tears, the best of all films.

10/10
Author: Kenneth Wilson (wilsonk@tcnj.edu) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
17 October 1998

Frank Capra has created a film for the ages with "It's a

Wonderful Life." The story chronicles a man, George Bailey,

who seems to have lost everything that is important in life. With the assistance of his guardian angel, Clarence (the role of Henry Travers' career), George is shown how important his

life has been to those that are dearest to him. The film

captures the true spirit of the holiday season without

appearing overly sappy or contrived. A universal story for all mankind, "It's a Wonderful Life" is the rarest of all films: a

film that improves upon repeated viewings.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's without doubt the ultimate feel-good movie

10/10
Author: Graham Kavanagh from Dublin, Ireland
9 October 1998

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.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

one of the best

10/10
Author: dragos_parazitever from Romania
27 June 2009

yes indeed its one of the best movies that goes down in history...yes..you're no man until you have friends....its stunning how one can change the others life by simply his presence and moreover sometimes his actions driven by his judgment of things....clearly the best part of this movie is the 4th quarter...George Bailey is a troubled man because of his current financial situation.....and the angel comes down to show him how the others life would be if he never existed....we really should stop and think what we have done in the past...and know that we've all changed the life's of others...maybe u're giving an advice to someone to go someplace and there he will meet a person who will change his life for good of that fellow...the angel is a psychological creature that we all have in mind...by reflecting on our good things that we've done in our past we should really feel better...everyone carries this angel but not everyone uses it....

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

An excellent film...An outstanding film

10/10
Author: Nikji from Arabia
5 December 2008

Outstanding: Grade 1 Good: Grade 2 Satisfactory: Grade 3 Inadequate: Inadequate

Overall rating: Grade 1

This is my favorite Hollywood film ever made. No other Hollywood film has ever touched my heart the way this one did. In my opinion, Hollywood don't make films like this, and its good to have films that touch your heart. Even though, its a long film (2hrs 10mins) it is worth every second. Frank Capra managed to make it an epic film with comedy, tragedy, romance etc.

Acting Rating The acting by the actors is exceptional. James stuart acted really well, and this is one of him best films. The children acted very well.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sentimentality as a valid subject

10/10
Author: smile10520 from United States
9 November 2008

It's a wonderful life is a magical piece of film-making that has entertained and inspired several generations. While it is easy to be critical of technical and creative aspects of the film., anyone who thinks this is less than a classic can only be seen as a cynic and totally devoid of any heart. The inability to appreciate the warmth and heart on display here is sadly a reflection on a persons bitterness about life in general and a need to drag down anything that smacks of "sentimentality".

As a person who chose a career in film and has studied film history I stand proudly on this movie as a genuine classic. Of course this film is subject any analysis. It can even be rated a B-, but to rate it anything less than a 7 out of ten speaks volumes about the critic's lack of any true feeling for the emotion of film.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Great Accompanying Story to My Experience With This Film

10/10
Author: Jorge Bernardo from Alexandria, Virginia
11 May 2008

Pure movie magic that has never been eclipsed before or since. The feelings one can derive from this film have no benchmark for comparison. Additionally, each and every scene is essentially flawless with regard to the movie's purity and "vibe".

Please note, when George says, "Well, how old are ya?" his lips are not moving!

You won't believe the neat experience I had with bringing the woman who played Zuzu to introduce the film at a Christmas screening in historic Greenbelt, MD a few years back. If you're a fan, do yourself a favor and read about it at http://zuzu.net/essays/wonderful_theatre.html.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The Big-Box Swindle of Bedford Falls

10/10
Author: Andy (film-critic) from Bookseller of the Blue Ridge
22 April 2008

For many, "It's A Wonderful Life" is a staple to their holiday traditions. With all major networks vying to get their hands on this mediocre blockbuster, this little film transforms from ordinary to cult status every holiday. As a viewer, outside of the final act, this Jimmy Stewart classic is more than just a Christmas movie, but instead a powerful Capra film that demonstrates an America from long ago. It shows a small-town America, without the plowed Wal-Mart roads or big-box makeovers. For this critic, it demonstrates the power of independent business, and why we may never find this type of service ever again. As an independent, downtown shop owner of about a year and a half myself; "It's A Wonderful Life" transformed this viewing from holiday pastime to dedicated film exposing the corruptive nature of capitalism as well as the realism of independent business. With this change in tact, Jimmy Stewart's words become more emotional, Donna Reed's actions become more honest, and our little Christmas film transforms into a man's journey to search for himself. I cannot denounce that this is a holiday film, Stewart screams "Merry Christmas" throughout the entire ending, but before that final conclusion there are about two hours of small town America and one man's struggle to escape. "It's A Wonderful Life" is a powerful blend of realism and fantasy, individualism and community, dreams and truth, as well as frustration and joy. The cast is superbly placed in their respective roles and Capra's action behind the camera stands boldly in place. This is not just a movie, but an experience coupled with foreshadowing – giving George not just a glimpse of a world without him – but also a glimpse of a world without small business

"It's A Wonderful Life", the film itself, is beautifully crafted. With new editions being released each season, one can easily see the crisp beauty of Capra's image. Its characters; George Bailey, Mary, Sam Wainright, Potter, Bert and Ernie, and even Clarence seem to jump from the screen, giving us imaginative citizens to this quaint town of Bedford Falls. Capra not only gives these characters spirits and souls, but also the town. Capra built three blocks of Bedford Falls so that he could capture the honesty of the town that Stewart so adamantly wanted to leave – and upon doing this gave this little town a soul of its own. Watching this film, Stewart's portrayal of George Bailey runs the gambit of powerhouse acting. Stewart, freshly back from the war, was worried if he could carry the weight of Bailey's cynicism. His ability to care for Bedford Falls, while always dreaming of wanting to escape could only be portrayed through Stewart's Americana eyes. When he screams at Mary, denouncing his desire to be on the ground floor in plastics, or when he yells at Potter's bid to join him – we scream with him. This film works from an acting standpoint because we believe in the characters – we trust the actors to give us a slice of their souls for these roles – and they do. One cannot fault anyone in this film for their acting and that is a rarity in today's Hollywood.

Capra's eye in this film seems far more advanced than the credit he has received. His enormous sets, the birth of a new "snow", and his ability to create a world we care for without having to travel the globe. What I enjoy about "It's A Wonderful Life" is that Capra tricks you by the end. Here we believe, outside of the brief opening, that this is just your typical drama, a man's life is shown in scope so that he can see his full worth, but then sneakily Capra brings in (depending on your religious basis) a huge science-fiction element that was unheard of during the time. One cannot argue the validity of science fiction vs. religion in this film – since Joseph is portrayed by the stars and planets. Sure, Clarence was an angel, but there is this aura of the supernatural. Clarence offers no evidence that he is, in fact, sent by the man upstairs, so one has to question the time this film was released, the faith in spirituality, and the fact that Capra's Clarence could be alien, vegetable, or mineral.

Overall, "It's A Wonderful Life" remains in constant rotation no matter the time of year in my home. The acting is superb, the sci-fi element seems fresh every time, and the growing fact that George Bailey is pro-independent business means quite a bit in this rushed Wal-Mart world. Bailey, and this film, is the voice for the little man, the quiet shopkeeper who doesn't want to sell to Potter, but instead dreams of keeping their home-style values. The spark between Potter and Bailey can be seen in every facet of today's growing world, as the rich continue to get richer – the less fortunate work harder and feel more held back. Dreams are traded for jobs – communities are strengthened by friendships. This film is a time capsule for the future, as we discover convenience overcomes customer service; it is nice to look back and see a world like Bedford Falls. The science fiction element to this film, yep – that is what I am considering it – comes in sharp and remains powerful throughout. Did anyone else see Jimmy Stewart's eyes throughout those scenes? Brilliant! While this film will remain a staple through the holidays, I persist that you watch it away from the holiday to see the real message behind the film. Capra was a genius in creating this film, and subsequently crafted a cult film that will remain forever. Even today, nearly thirty years since my first viewing, I am more impressed that ever. It is a film that grows with you, and that is quite a rarity in today's cinema.

Grade: ***** out of *****

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A real jewel!

10/10
Author: pennycarrol
14 April 2008

"It's a Wonderful Life" is a movie that you can watch over and over again. The movie makes you think about life in general and how each person makes a difference. It's about life with all its ups and downs and about how great life can be. It also entertains with many light hearted moments, particularly towards the end of the film.

The cast is excellent. I'm especially fond of James Stewart's performance, and the direction is second to none. Yet it is the fact that almost any person can watch this movie and come away feeling inspired that makes it easily the best movie of all time!

"It's a Wonderful Life" is literally a wonderful, multi-layered, romantic, serious, funny, touching and inspiring movie--much like life itself.

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