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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Its great movie to watch

Author: amikhalyuk from United States
28 July 2011

In a movie It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey (James Stewart) goes through out his life trying to help people in his home town living with his wife Mary (Donna Reed) and four children in an old house. Even though he understood that his father's business does not bring much income, people were his main focus. He lived with a dream that one day he will travel across the globe and will come back to build new buildings. Despite of his dream, Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) prevents him from leaving his home town and is forced to take over his father's loan company. On the Christmas Eve, George's uncle Bill (Thomas Mitchell) loses $8,000 while he is attempting to deposit them into the bank account. Mr. Potter is the one who discovers the money but hides them from Mr. Bailey. As George realizes that after bank examiner finds out about missing money, he might go to jail and will loose his company, therefore he decides to ask Mr. Potter for help and give up his company. As he thought about his family, he was told that he is worth more dead when he is alive, and decided to commit suicide. Because of his family prayers, an angel Clarence (Henry Travers) was sent to save him and to show him how valuable his life is to the people he cares about by taking him to the time as if he was never born. I loved this movie because of its positive attitude. Some of the main characters are just perfect for their character in the movie. Even though James Stewart won an Oscar for his George Bailey character, my favorite character is the Mr. Potter. His bold head and cricket eyes are perfectly underline his grouchy character. Bailey's wife Mary is a perfect character as well. Her facial expressions are very clearly expressing her feelings. Her face did show an expression that she is deeply in love with George. Also you can see when she figured that George is in money trouble.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Warm, heart-wrenching and reaffirms our faith in ourselves !!!

Author: Lord Aragon from Gondor
24 July 2011

I was very much aware of this film consistently being listed as one of the best movies EVER made. James Stewart has been one of my favorites for a longtime. This DVD had been lying with me for quite some time so I decided to give it a try. By God, I was stupefied, I did not write a review immediately just to see if this was not a flash in the pan, just an overdone, emotional blackmailer of a movie but this movie is simply brilliant. As an after thought maybe, its so hard to describe what one feels after watching this gem, this masterpiece. I am told it was a resounding flop when it was released, aah thats so unfortunate.

Everyone goes through the vicissitudes of life, and many a times it is so tempting to end it all, to blame each and everyone around for one's misery that we miss out on the differences one's life makes to others. This is Hollywood at its very best, this is what everyone needs to realize...............

Its a WONDERFUL LIFE... indeed...... ! See it and praise the Lord !

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of the Greatest Films Ever Made

Author: Supachewy from United States
20 August 2010

The drama fantasy It's a Wonderful Life is directed by Frank Capra and stars James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore and it takes place in a modern day small town.

The film starts off with angels talking about how a man, George Bailey (Stewart), needs help to make his life better. The angels decide to send a second class angel, Clarence, to go and help him. But before sending him they give him all the important details of his life. The first one that is shown was when George Bailey was a child and saved his brother's life and stopped the shopkeeper he worked for from selling poison tablets. Then it showed when George Bailey was older and how he dreamed of traveling the world but at any chance he got he had to do some sort of work for the loan shop he was in charge of. He fell in love with a young woman named Mary Hatch (Donna Reed) but struggled to gain her as his wife. This film is excellent and has a morale that everyone needs to hear, a timeless classic.

Frank Capra directed this film brilliantly. It was truly sentimental and he made it so you could feel the emotions of George Bailey. There were quite a few classic moments that he created in this film such as when George asks Mary is she wants for him to lasso the moon for her. Capra truly created an excellent film.

The writing of this film was pure bliss. There are not that many films out there that have a sense of purity such as this one and that is intended for all audiences. There were many ups and downs on this ride and it left you completely satisfied.

The acting by the whole cast was remarkable. James Stewart gave a great performance as George Bailey never being able to get what he really wants and being extremely stressed by all the tasks that he has to do. Donna Reed was great as the love interest, providing much support for Stewart's character to grow off of. Lionel Barrymore was great as the big business man in town trying to buy up everything and keeping Bailey down. Excellent performances for an excellent film.

Overall I give this film a strong 9/10, it is truly a timeless classic from the legendary Frank Capra. I recommend this to absolutely everyone young and old, it is a truly heartwarming story that has already gone down in film history.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Good luck in not to cheer after watching this picture

Author: 851222 from Lithuania
23 July 2015

Greetings from Lithuania.

"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) truly deserves all the praises and kudos it got true the decades. Seeing it first time this evening in 2015, all i can say that this is an amazing movie in every term. I won't going to into plot details as you all probably know it better than me. Try not to smile after this movie - it's impossible.

This is a movie making at highest level. Acting is outstanding (it was made in 1946!), especially by a lead James Stewart - he glues the whole picture. Supporting cast is also great. Script is so simple yet so rich and combined with pitch perfect directing - near every scene (litteraly) in this movie clicks and it is just marvelous to watch this story unfolding. Before watching this movie i really didn't expect it to be THIS good, thought it could be a bit overrated, but boy was i wrong - this is a must see picture for every age, for every person.

Overall, "It's a Wonderful Life" has to be one of the finest pictures. At running time 2 h 10 min this movie never drags, and is superbly involving from start till the last frame. Every scene works here so well, because of great acting, superb direction, great script (simple, yet very involving). The ending is superbly inspiring. I do wonder however about age of some more old characters in this movie, as it seems like they never get old (and some of them should be at around 120 years old by the end of the movie), but it's not even a complain. Watch this movie if you haven't seen it yet - it is an amazing motion picture.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Literally perfection.

Author: liquidmetalkingslime from New Zealand
8 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's not much to say about the movie, except that it is utter perfection in film.

A lovely story about strife in life, and overcoming it with love and family. Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, as he overcomes every challenge that life can throw at him, with an added magical spin from his angel, Clarence, which turns the movie into a pseudo-remaking of A Christmas Carol.

It's tough to review it though, in today's terms at least - but that doesn't make it any less of a fantastic movie. Fantastic movies should stay as fantastic movies, and this certainly has.

A perfect Christmas classic, and one that you should watch at least once in your life.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Timeless Narration of Family Christmas

Author: Evan Dewangga from Semarang, Indonesia
25 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Drama, personally is my favorite genre of movies. It is usually less action, and uses solid dialog. Seems boring, but when the filmmaker knows to execute it well, there is no single scene that's useless. Drama is about the power of story, the strength of characterization, and the deep moral value. Don't say just about blazing editing or unique cinematography, drama doesn't need those so much. Maybe just the soundtrack that counts to the synergy of movie construction. I know there are so many non-drama movie that have amazing idea, but only drama that has businesslike idea. No compromise about all of the social critic, capture it beautifully, and give the enormous view of daily live in human's life each times.

Let's jump to this movie. "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), very classic piece, crafted by doubtless director such as Capra. Before watch it, I have known this notable quote by Frank Capra, "I made mistakes in drama. I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries". So, I expect so high from this movie. I know it's from 1946, how old is that. But I also know that every year this movie aired again and again on American television. So what do I say, it must be very great cultural node in the cinema history. Don't worry about the release date, art lasts forever, especially the superb one.

Yes, my high expectation is paid off. Usually when you expect high, you are disappointed. But, no, it's really wonderful one, very wonderful. In fact, I watch it near before Christmas. It's so Christmas movie though. I feel so grateful after watch this movie, honestly. So humble movie with original comical act. Even after more than six decades, it still drives me to the joyful of Christmas. The fantasy-aspects is just enough, I mean it's not too imaginary. Just a touch of fantasy and you can smell the scent of life.

The moral value, indeed, a very thoughtful one. So, let's say, even a very compassionate man can get stress and crazy. And, maybe a kind man, is actually depressed inside. That's the little twist fact in our life. I don't want to say too much about this problem, because clearly this movie give the fictive solution, the angel. Or you can translate it to the real one. Such as, let's think all over, don't get mad, be calm, and you know that you just think it too much. But, what's actually in my mind is the intrinsic message, maybe not all of the audiences will notice this. So, let's say, that we, and our people measure the success of a human from his/her wealth, properties, and sometimes his/her travel. It's wrong success judgment remains until now, especially in my nation, Indonesia. Yes, because all those things is measurable, no wonder why people think of that. But, we keep forgetting the essential value of life is laid on every human conscience. What is the meaning of a bunch full of money when you lack of true compassion itself. The problem is actually we know those things about compassion etc, but our society drives us to the what they think success is. We learn that, we do that, and we teach that to other people directly or not directly. Even in this modern era, those stigmas still exist, eventually more exist. Those fundamental value of life is eroded by this acceptable idea. Yes, it's acceptable, but you know it's not fully true. This movie lead us to this opinion. I mean look at George Bailey, he doesn't go anywhere, isn't rich, although he can. He keep refusing all those interesting offer, because he knows it's true. And the moment when he want to commit suicide, he just suddenly forget all that truth. Angel comes, and that's the solution. Even without angel, we human can figure it out what we must do in life. Again, it's conscience that this movie tried to lift up.

At last, from the flash impression until the deepest value, I enjoy this movie. In addition, it's also a family movie. Even children can get those visionary message. I give ten out of ten, because all that reasons, added by the acting, cinematography, and its timeless period. A wonderful artworks, from the initial cinema era. Just watch it, and you will love it.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Haven't we all at some point on the way home ...

Author: calvinnme from United States
25 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

... arrived at our exit on the freeway and wondered, "What if I just kept driving?". That very modern - and yet timeless - feeling is at the heart of this film, before life was so complex, when the U.S. was dotted with small towns in which it was possible to be born, make a good living, and die, without ever leaving, save for military service.

George Bailey is both an extraordinarily lucky and unlucky guy. He's unlucky because none of the plans he made for himself as a young man ever worked out - his loyalties to family and to his hometown always kept him pinned there. He's extraordinarily lucky because he has a wife and children that adore him. But one Christmas Eve when he is in his late 30's a crisis brought about by his uncle's stupidity is the last straw that causes him to wish that he was never born, and he gets that wish granted to him - to see the world as if he had never been born, and he does not like the view.

It turns out over his life, George did a series of good deeds - some large some small - that changed the course of just about every life in his hometown. Basically, without the Bailey Savings and Loan, which without George would have collapsed in the 1920's at the death of his father, the only source of financing is Mr. Potter's bank, which makes Citibank look like a charitable institution. The town has thus been thrown into chaos, a place where alcoholism, prostitution, and broken homes abound. Now I could sympathize with George's horror at seeing the bad fate of just about everybody he knew save Mary, his wife. When George inquires about her fate he is told - "You won't like it. She's an OLD MAID"! Oh the horror! She in fact is the town librarian. To quote someone else on this subject - "in a town thrown into chaos she's an educated woman with a job - what's the problem?". Mary, before she even married George, is full of life and has a sense of style, but just subtract George from her existence and she becomes someone who dresses like a woman twenty years her senior and is deathly frightened of men? Pleeeease! Oh well, if I am going to watch the films of 1946 I'd better be prepared to deal with the values of 1946, but I digress.

The fact is George probably WOULD have been better off without these ties that bind. He could have seen the world and done big things and slept like a baby without a worry. But the fact is he realized he cared about these people whose lives would be ruined without him, and that is probably why so many of us don't just keep driving when we hit our exit on the highway. We go home to the people we love and the problems that come with them.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Nothing Short of Superb!!!

Author: zardoz-13 from United States
21 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Producer & director Frank Capra's crowning glory "It's A Wonderful Life" (1946) with James Stewart and Donna Reed ranks as one of the greatest Hollywood movies. This warm-hearted epic about life in the small town of Bedford Falls and protagonist George Bailey (James Stewart) and his eternal battle with the corrupt and evil Potter (Lionel Barrymore) captures the spirit of America after the end of World War II. A box office flop, "It's A Wonderful Life" acquired a new lease on life when copyright holders National Telefilm Associates neglected to renew it in 1973. Consequently, television stations ran it ad nauseam until Republic Pictures renewed the copyright in the 1990s. Everybody considers Capra's film an example of the classic Christmas movie, but Christmas doesn't play a part in the plot until more than half way through it. George Bailey epitomizes optimism and plans to break out of the confinement of rural America to globe trot around the world until events larger than he compels him to remain in Bedford Falls.

After his long-suffering father dies, George steps into the breach and continues his age-old struggle against the greedy Potter and he triumphs in the end. Winning, however, isn't a picnic for our hometown hero. George Bailey comes mighty close to losing. At one point, he contemplates suicide when the bank examiner arrives at his savings and loan office and poor Uncle Billy (Oscar winner Thomas Mitchell) has lost $8-thousand dollars. Capra and scenarists Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, and Jo Swerling, working from an original story by Philip Van Doren Stern, paint our hero into a corner when Uncle Billy lost $8-thousand dollars when he encounter the despicable Potter in the bank. Of course, Potter kept the money that poor Uncle Billy inadvertently handed to him in a folded up newspaper. At this point, fearing scandal, prison, and humiliation, George got drunk, slammed his ancient automobile into a tree, and wandered onto a bridge where he contemplated suicide. Mind you, Potter put the idea into George's head when George turned in desperation to Potter for a loan to cover his shortfall of cash. At this point, an angel second class without wings, Clarence (Henry Travers of "Shadow of a Doubt"), is dispatched from Heaven to save George. When George mentions that he wished that he had never been born, Clarence comes up with the imaginative idea of showing George what Bedford Falls would be like if George had never been born! George is shocked not only when he notes that the town is now called Pottersville but also that his brother died in an ice-skating accident. Earlier, George had saved his younger brother's life when the latter fell through thin ice and nearly drowned. George is so horrified by everything that he sees that he decides that he'd rather be born so he can face the music. As Capra has said himself in interviews about "It's A Wonderful Life," he describes it as a celebration of the individual. Basically, one man can make a difference in this world.

Naturally, for George's sake, he receives a second chance. Meaning, "It's A Wonderful Life" is a life-affirming movie.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Christmas film everyone will enjoy

Author: m-h-clough from United Kingdom
15 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was James Stewart's third (and final) collaboration with Capra, following on from pre-war films You cant take it with you and Mr Smith goes to Washington. Later in life he claimed it was his favourite work.

James Stewart, born in 1908, often portrayed the everyday middle class American, usually a character struggling with adverse circumstances to win through, in many ways the reality of his own early life. After studying at Princeton, Stewart tried to establish a career on the stage. Coinciding with the height of the Depression there was little work, and he later claimed only to have had employment for 3 months between 1932 and 1934. Signed by a talent scout to MGM in 1935, he moved to Los Angeles and stated his film career, working with a series of stars including Jean Arthur, Marlene Deitrich and Katherine Hepburn. World War II brought an interruption: Stewart, a skilled pilot, was eventually enlisted in the air corps. Resisting official attempts to use him merely as a recruiting prop, Stewart was ultimately transferred to an operations squadron, becoming commanding officer and flying bombing missions over Germany. He was awarded the DFC and the Croix de Guerre. His return to Hollywood saw a further 4 decades of films, including noted collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock in the 1950s.

It's a Wonderful Life was his first film in five years: in it he plays the part of George Bailey, a man living in Bedford Falls, a small town in America, but yearning to get away and fulfil big ambitions. Using a plot device, the audience sees George's past life up to the point, on Christmas Eve, when he tries to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. Using a similar device, George then sees what the world would look like if his attempt were to succeed.

The film was not a huge commercial success at the time, but has since come to be regarded as a masterpiece of storytelling. Traditionally associated with Christmas, which forms its backdrop, the film has a wider scope. George makes constant choices of self sacrifice which enable those around him to prosper. This prosperity is more emotional than financial, and a key message is perhaps the value of relationships above money. This self sacrifice is not without cost, but George uniquely gets to see what would have happened if he hadn't existed at all.

The film also examines differing approaches to business and looks at their results. On the one side is the Building and Loan Company, a financial institution run not on a financial basis, but on the idea of mutual support. On the other Mr Potter, who owns most of the rest of Bedford Falls and who wants to end the Building and Loan so he can complete his financial exploitation.

Whilst the film clearly includes many elements which can be regarded as fantasy (changing the past and future, angels descending to earth) it keeps one foot firmly on the ground, offering an ultimately happy ending which only the most jaded viewer will be able to resist.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

It's still so popular for a reason

Author: yeltzmanmatt from Birmingham, England
10 June 2014

What can you say about this film that hasn't already been said? Modern audiences are in the main averse to watching black and white films. The fact it is still an incredibly popular film decades after it's release tells you all you need to know.

It's a clever idea and it's great story that actually makes you think. The acting is superb and James Stewart is at his brilliant best. There are sad and uplifting moments in equal measure and an ending that leaves you thinking whether you should laugh or cry.

If you are feeling a bit down then just put this film on and I guarantee it will make you feel better. Quite simply this is one of the best films ever made and only the most cynical misery will fail to be touched by it.

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