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It's a Wonderful Life More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Spoiler Alert - Great movie!!!

Author: walshy448 from United Kingdom
4 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of an handful of movies I can watch time and time again, it never shows its age. Its always Christmas once I have watched this or should say feels like the holidays once I have watched it Frank Capras film shows us why is one of the most popular and enduring festive films of all time,with its gloriously sentimental testament to homely small-town moral values and how we all influence each others life's along the way and what would happen if fate was given a nudge in a different direction.

James Stewart gives one of his finest, most affecting performances, though he was always great at portraying the everyman character that most people can relate to, even us outside the US. This film and Scrooge and Christmas Carol (the George Minter one from the 1950's) are my all time favourite feel good Christmas movies, though I have Elf on here as well. Overall its a great film and I am amazed to know it bombed at the box office, even though its now a well loved classic.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

like it

Author: pisrgofort from Japan
4 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is a impressive movie. Firstly, it happens unhappy things. But happiness comes, finally. I realize that the most important thing in our life is friendship. In addition, consideration. If people have consideration and kindness, and act of kindness, people will be rewarded someday. I think that god doesn't betray great person. God looks people. Also, people look great person, too. After experiencing pain, happiness is waiting absolutely. If we do everything whole- heartedly, result follows us. This movie makes us realize that what is important in our life and life is wonderful if we spend the valuable life.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Best feel good movie there is

Author: Miller Tucker from TN
14 January 2015

I had heard of It's a Wonderful Life for years, however had never watched it. This Christmas I sat down to watch it and was taken aback by the phenomenal film. The acting was spot on and the filming was perfect despite how old the movie is. This film made me sad, mad, and happy all at the same time. The actors show emotion well enough to make the viewers feel the same way. Throughout the movie you question why you would want to see such a story, however the end scene brings it all full circle. It's a great movie to watch during Christmas to give you that warm fuzzy feeling inside. This movie fortifies faith in human generosity and is the best feel good movie I have ever seen. A must watch for all!

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A great story, one of those which brings shivers of awe to me

Author: Johan Dondokambey from Indonesia
21 June 2014

Despite the age of this movie, the story of the movie is an incredibly marvelous one. The story of how one often underestimates his/her own life especially under sickening burdens.

The flow is quite a slow on the start, up to three-quarter parts of the movie. But it picks up at about the last half-hour and builds up a fast paced yet long and detailed finale.

There are also things to compensate, regarding the age of the production, such as the color, the spoken accent which sounds quite stupid for the current times. But besides those, I think the story is a strong one that it helps the movie overcome those obstacles.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The Greatest Film Ever Made

Author: caseynicholson from United States
20 December 2014

So often the movies that claim the top spot on people's "Best Movies" lists are iconic films that are suitable to watch any time of year. "Gone With the Wind", "Casablanca", "The Godfather", and many more would easily fit into that category, and certainly those movies along with your favorite that I'm leaving out all should be in the discussion whenever we talk about the best movie ever made.

But whenever I'm asked that question, be it now (five days before Christmas in 2014) or in mid June or July, the movie that I always come back to time and again is the iconic Christmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." This movie is the greatest film ever made.

The film features James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who dreams of seeing the world only to be a victim of fate that finds him staying in his hometown and running the family business, the Bailey Savings & Loan Company in the fictional town of Bedford Falls. James Stewart turns out the performance of his career (barring no other role, including "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"). The tale sees him fall in love with Mary (Donna Reed, who offers a similarly strong performance as supporting actress). The two are wed and life goes well for a while, until a fateful day when George's world comes crashing down on him, prompting him to wish he had never been born...only to eventually realize what a wonderful life he has.

The story is of course much more complex than that brief summary, but it's the story itself that is the most prevalent star in this movie. The script is a masterpiece in the art of conveying an entertaining and emotional narrative, taking the viewer on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Over the course of two hours you grow to love George Bailey for his character and his perseverance in standing up for the little guy against the tyrannical Mr. Potter, the film's antagonist. When George is elated, you feel it with him. When the frustration of life overwhelms him, you sympathize with him. When he finds himself in the midst of great despair, your heart breaks. And when his grief turns to joy, your heart swells....along with your eyes. I cannot watch this film without crying time and again in its final minutes.

Along with the acting and the script, the other major contributing factor to this movie being such a wonderful film is its cinematography. I have seen this movie pop up on "film noir" lists from time to time, and I'm not sure that I would agree with that categorization at all, given that film noir movies tend to be more tragic in nature. That said, though, there are a few scenes in which the film uses strong shadow effect in a similar way that noir films are known to do. In at least two scenes, Stewart is shown staring prominently into the camera as he realizes the gravity of certain situations he finds himself in. Those scenes become impressed in your memory after you've seen the film a time or two, and overall the film is well produced with good scenes and settings, and good camera work.

All of this makes "It's a Wonderful Life" my pick for the Greatest Film Ever Made. We may not always think of it immediately when we're sitting around the picnic table in the summertime thinking about great movies, but it's nevertheless a top notch movie that stands out for its artistic and cinematic value in a way that makes it much more than just a "Christmas movie". The wonderful story and well constructed script, the tremendous acting, and the excellent camera-work and film production all make this movie the cream of the crop.

10 out of 10 stars!

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

There should be more movies like this.

Author: Innsmouth_Apprentice from Earth
16 October 2014

It's a Wonderful Life is an epic story of the life of a man named George Bailey. George spends this life living in a small town, with his nose deep in the lives and problems of its other citizens. He dreams of seeing the world, of conquering it, but somehow always postpones that in order to battle his arch-nemesis - the ruthless local businessman Mr. Potter. Potter perpetually has his sights set on utterly dominating the town's cash flows and, effectively, its life. The idealistic and charitable Bailey family, especially George, are the one thing that persistently prevents Potter from succeeding.

However, George has his share of troubles, and they eventually begin to take their toll on his good nature and optimistic outlook. It's now up to his guardian angel, Clarence Goodbody, to open George's eyes to how wonderful his life really is.

IAWL promotes friendship, empathy, optimism, and love of life. You can't but admire the excellent way in which it does this. The story, the sets, the actors, the dialogue, the music are all top-notch. Highly recommended!


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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

I cried. A lot.

Author: Pancho Diaz
8 September 2014

I don't think I would be able of ever cast an objective statement regarding the quality of this movie. It's not one of this movies I can objectively say which rating does it deserve in a 1 to 10 scale, because it reached something in me way beyond objectifiable maths and numbers. Yes, it may sound super cheesy, but it did reach my heart. I don't even know how it happened, but it was definitely a slow, progressive proccess. The more you get to know George's life, the more difficult it is to wish the best for that man even if he doesn't exist beyond the flat screen. Art is very much about creating an illusion of reality, and some say that if an art piece doesn't cast a spell on you that makes you believe you're appreciating the real world, then it is bad art. When you're reading a novel and you're able to abstract from it and make sense of the fact that all the characters are just plane words on a blank page, is because the spell was not correctly cast and the book you're reading is a bad one. Well, at some point during the movie I stopped to think why on earth was I so touched by just a bunch of pixels in my computer's screen, because I couldn't understand how could I care so much for a person that doesn't even exist. I guess that the answer to that is that people like George do exist, and we're surrounded everywhere by those people who make our lives better, and that sometimes life doesn't give back to them what they deserve. I guess that's the reason why, in the last scene, I just started to cry like a baby, not just a timid tear, but lots of them, up until the movie finished. I don't remember having cried this way for a movie before. I still need to digest this movie, it'll take me a while.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Every Life Makes A Difference

Author: sddavis63 ( from Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
9 December 2012

For many this is a Christmas classic, watched every year and much beloved. For me, I've never seen it before. Heard of it; seen short clips of it; but never have I sat down and watched it straight through from beginning to end. Having now done that I can understand why it's such a beloved movie to so many people. It isn't necessarily a Christmas/holiday movie. The basic message would work at any time of the year; it just happens to be set (in its climax anyway) on Christmas Eve. And the message it presents is an important one that everyone needs to hear from time to time, in a world where it's so easy to feel discouraged: every person's life counts. Everyone makes a difference. That's the point here, and it's well made.

The movie revolves around George Bailey (James Stewart.) George starts out as a kid with big dreams of escaping his hum-drum (to him) home town of Bedfork Park and seeing the world. But it never works out. He ends up running the small savings & loan operation his father started, while his brother and his friends all seem to go on to bigger and better things - becoming heroes; becoming famous; becoming rich. George has a good life. He's married to a woman he loves (Donna Reed) and he has great kids and a lot of friends, but it just isn't what he always wanted. It's not completely satisfying for him. Eventually it all falls apart when the local ruthless banker (Lionel Barrymore) comes up with a way of bringing him down. With everything apparently out of control, George decides to kill himself, only to be rescued by the angel Clarence (Henry Travers) who shows him what Bedford Park would be like if he had never existed - and it's not pretty.

The story isn't complicated. It's simple and straightforward. Everybody does a good job in it. Personally, I thought there was perhaps a little too much emphasis on George's life and what brought him to the brink of suicide, and maybe not quite enough emphasis on George being confronted by the consequences of his non-existence. (And, in the alternative timeline, Bert the cop opening fire on George in the street seemed a bit - shall we say - excessive; not to mention dangerous!) Perhaps the opening, with God and the angels talking to each other as stars and other heavenly bodies was a bit too cute, but it's all within the expected standards of 1946.

It is a nice movie, and it does have a nice message. Your life does make a difference to a lot of people - probably more than you know, so be satisfied with it and rejoice in what you have. I can easily understand why so many consider it a classic. (8/10)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

it's a good movie

Author: garyfromct from CT
2 December 2012

I just saw IAWL for the first time last night. While it's not the best movie I have ever seen, it is very good and worth watching at least once. It is allegorical and thus shouldn't be held to exacting standards, as some reviews have done, in my opinion. The movie gets you to think about how your life impacts others and how we should treat one another better. For that I think it succeeds quite nicely. I think Jimmy Stewart did an excellent job of portraying George Bailey. He is fundamentally a good person, but like all of us, is given to bouts of anger and emotion, and lashes out against the people he loves. He quickly realizes his errors and apologizes for them. He is frustrated by his responsibilities and obligations intruding on his dreams, but he does the right thing in the end. We can all related to this and learn a few things by his example.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

It's a Wonderful Life

Author: ShibanPD from Cleveland, OH, USA
12 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is like a photo negative (or positive) of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The Ebenezer Scrooge character in Capra's film, Mr. Potter (played perfectly by Lionel Barrymore), rather than occupying the position of the main character, is the antagonist. The protagonist in the film is the Bob Cratchit character from Dickens' story, a man named George Bailey (played perfectly by Jimmy Stewart). The supernatural (or imaginary) visions and visitations in A Christmas Carol comprise the bulk of the story, whereas the same in It's a Wonderful Life take up less than fifteen percent of the movie's screen time, although it seems like much more. In A Christmas Carol, we have an extremely unlikable central character, who is shown what the world would be like if he doesn't change; in It's a Wonderful Life, we have an immensely likable central character, who is shown what the world would be like if he had never existed. This second part of the film—in which George's guardian angel Clarence (a delightful Henry Travers) shows George how "each man's life touches so many other lives"—is a fun-house-mirror look back at the first part—a fantasy that resembles a rough night of drinking: fun and frivolous at first—then serious, painful, and dire in the end. The first part of the film, which inhabits more than eighty percent of its screen time, tells George's life story: his abundant acts of altruism, which enable the continual thwarting of his repeatedly voiced ambitions; his continuation of his father's fiscal and ideological battle with Potter, in the name of the Bailey Building and Loan, an institution that represents the "community" side of the film's diatribe against the form of unbridled, unrelenting, anti-humanistic "capitalism" represented by Potter's monopolistic business interests; and George's union with Mary, his lifelong sweetheart, and their settling down in that quaint, provincially idyllic American town named Bedford Falls, which George had seemed so insistently focused on shedding like a cheap suit. The sad, decadent, cold, flashy, Vegas-like imagining of Bedford Falls sans George Bailey convinces him (and us) that his heart is much bigger than his ambition, and it belongs to the members of his hometown. The final sequence jerks buckets of tears, not through manipulation, but through the genuine redemption of a man whose life of selfless acts repays him in a way that only a town like Bedford Falls can.

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