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It's a Wonderful Life
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Reviews & Ratings for
It's a Wonderful Life More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It was a Wonderful Movie!

10/10
Author: ace217 from Pakistan
22 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is my first time writing a review for a movie. Seeing this movie I had to write the review. The movie really touched my heart. The script was beautifully written and the character development was great. How the main character George Bailey struggles with his life and always makes the right decisions was really beautiful but sometimes sad to watch. How he struggles in his childhood, how he struggled in his school to win the girl, and how he had to dash his dreams of going to college so he could take care of the family business and also so that his brother could live happily. I recommend you watch this movie with your family.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Afirmation of our Worth

10/10
Author: (andrewsavedra@rogers.com) from Canada
29 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How often does a movie come along that changes the way you think and feel about your life? If you are like me not that often. Don't get me wrong I am a "movie-guy" I watch movies all the time, yes even "chick-flicks". But this movie is separate, its not obviously Hollywood in its approach to its core topic but rather it follows the path of an everyday man, in his thoughts and methods of thinking.

If you, like most of us have seen this movie, then you know that most people in our society today could walk away from a job which was unintentionally handed to us. A job which controls our life and has impact on our goals, we could walk away. But George does not he is caught up trying to do the right thing. He wants to indulge in the "its my oyster" society but does not.

Husband, Father, Nephew, Son and most of all Friend. George Baily is the common man, he is you, he is me, he is within all of us. We struggle, flounder, fall get back up. Wish and want more from life. Dream of doing and being and seeing different things. George finds he is far more rich than he thought when he considers how those around him feel about him.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

So blissful.

10/10
Author: Cocacolaguy912-2 from United States
25 December 2007

You have probably heard that It's a Wonderful Life is one of the happiest, most uplifting movies ever made. This is so true. I watched this film for the first time last night on Christmas Eve, 2007, and all I have to say is that, besides being close to tears when it was finished, it made me feel blissful. Now feeling happy is not too exciting, but this film made me feel absolutely cherry. It is the kind of movie that, were I to be abandoned on an island and I could only choose five movies, this would most certainly be one of them. The film is oddly scary in that it is truthful...not in the sense that angels will come down and make a man continue to live, but in the sense that is shows what would have happened had someone never lived in a fashion that is entirely realistic.

It's a Wonderful Life is remarkable, if not life changing.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Motherhood, apple pie....

9/10
Author: Harry Matthews from Brooklyn, NY
31 December 1998

It was Frank Capra's genius to translate America's fondest dreams into irresistibly emotional movies. Maybe it takes a Sicilian to capture the essence of America.

The movie's power is certainly enhanced by its terrific cast: Lionel Barrymore as an irresistibly evil villain, Donna Reed as an imperfectly perfect wife, and Jimmy Stewart as, well, Jimmy Stewart. (Like most movie-goers, I am enormous grateful to Tom Hanks for taking up this mantle.)

I could go on, but why bother? Get out the Kleenex and enjoy! "It's a Wonderful Life" beats roast turkey, roast ham, roast beef and even apple pie as a holiday tradition.

All the best in 1999 --

Harry

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An all time masterpiece!

10/10
Author: promitheas 2003 from Greece
4 January 2016

I have watched the movie twice. The first time i was not prepared for anything. I realized that it was not just a Christmas movie, but also a study on human relationships. It describes how the choices we make in life have an impact to ourselves and to other people, regardless if the choice is what we really want. The true value in life is having people that you love. All the other things, simply do not count, and that's why the choices we make in life, forced or not, false or not, are not so important, given that they do not concern the people we love. Only the choices regarding the people we love must be right and not forced. The second time i watched the movie i cried not only because of it's quality, but also because i had forgotten the above message, and the movie reminded it to me for second time. I decided to write this review in order to never forget it again and say to everyone "do yourself a favor and watch this movie".

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's a wonderful film

Author: GusF from Ireland
21 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Based on the 1945 short story "The Greatest Gift" by Philip Van Doren Stern, this is a quintessential Christmas classic that I never saw before today. It is not only a wonderful life but a wonderful film. Its excellent script by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett and Frank Capra chronicles the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The film serves as a reminder that the most important thing in life is other people and that no one is truly a failure so long as they have friends, which is the perfect Christmas message. I had never previously seen one of Capra's films but I was very much impressed by his direction and his superb handling of the material. I was expecting to love the film as I'm a big softie who loves old, sentimental films but I loved it even more than I thought I would.

The film stars Jimmy Stewart in perhaps his best performance as George Bailey, a much loved institution in the small town of Bedford Falls who is contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve 1945. We are introduced to George as a 12-year-old boy in 1919 when he saves his younger brother Harry from drowning after he falls through the ice. In the process, he loses the hearing in his left ear, something which becomes symbolic of the sacrifices that he makes for others. For many years, he entertains the dream of exploring Europe and South America in order to escape the monotony of Bedford Falls where everyone knows everyone else. Over the years, he displays his propensity for selflessness time and time again. His dream dies a death and he never leaves home. On that fateful Christmas Eve, he comes to believe that he has accomplished nothing in his life. Thankfully, however, he is proved wrong after he wishes that he had never been born. Without knowing it, he has single-handedly prevented the town and many of its inhabitants from falling into darkness and despair. George is a great character who, in spite of being a thoroughly decent man, is not perfect as he falls victim to the same depression that anyone else in his position on Christmas Eve 1945 would. He thinks of himself before others but these scenes serve to humanise him. Except for Henry Fonda and Gregory Peck if he were a few years older, I don't think that anyone other than Stewart could have played this role so well.

Donna Reed is excellent as George's incredibly loyal, supportive and understanding wife Mary Hatch Bailey, who has harboured a crush on him from the time that they were children. Although George initially does not seem to be interested in her and tells her that he never wants to get married, he realises that he is in love with her. Mary is a kind, somewhat shy woman who is a perfect partner for George. They are like two peas in a pod. She tells George that she would have ended up an old maid without him and this is proved to be the case in the reality where George was never born. I think that Mary could have easily married someone else in the other reality as I am sure that she would had her fair share of suitors but George was the only man for her and she was the only woman for him. Crucially, Stewart and Reed have great chemistry. The scene in which George and Mary are listening to the phone while standing very close together is one of the best romantic scenes that I have ever seen in a film. It is so simple but it works so well.

Lionel Barrymore is suitably vile as Bedford Falls' wealthiest and most immoral citizen Henry F. Potter, a "warped, frustrated old man" who sees the Baileys as a thorn in his side. Consistent with the film's thematic links to "A Christmas Carol", Mr. Potter is similar to Scrooge prior to his redemption but I found him to be even more despicable. He is a great film villain who almost succeeds in crushing George's spirit, telling him that he is worth more dead than alive. He is not seen in the other reality but he has gained control of the town and has renamed it Pottersville, turning it into a den of iniquity. Henry Travers has very little screen time but he is fantastic as George's eccentric, whimsical guardian angel Clarence Odbody. His manner serves as a very effective contrast to George's depression before he realises that he has a great deal to live for. The film also features great performances from Thomas Mitchell as the sweet but scatterbrained Uncle Billy Bailey, H.B. Warner as Mr. Gower, Frank Faylen as Ernie Bishop, Gloria Grahame as Violet Bick and Todd Karns as Harry Bailey. It also features small appearances from Charles Lane, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer and the future television producer Sheldon Leonard.

Overall, this is a sublime film which shows that one man can make more of a difference to the lives of others than he ever through possible. I have to admit that I cried at the end. I honestly cannot remember the last time that I cried because of a film and I have watched over 500 in less than two years. I plan to watch this every Christmas season from now on. There is talk of a sequel in which Karolyn Grimes will reprise her role as George's daughter Zasu (now a guardian angel herself) but, since it is unlicensed, it is unlikely to materialise. In any event, I would not be terribly interested. Without Jimmy Stewart, what's the point?

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

It's a wonderful movie!

9/10
Author: OllieSuave-007 from California, USA
18 December 2015

This is indeed a wonderful Christmas movie, where James Stewart plays George Bailey, who has dreams of moving out of his town (Bedford Walls) going to college, having an established career and seeing the world. However, after his father's demise, he reluctantly takes on the family business (a loan company), indefinitely putting his dreams on hold.

This is a classic story that definitely reminds you of the more innocent times in America and reminds you things will always turn out all right at the end if you have enough hope and faith. The plot keeps you engaged from start to finish as you follow George Bailey's life, from his times as a preteen to him taking on the family business, and finally to him getting married and raising a family of his own - all the while seeing his dreams fade away. However, when things get too down in the dumps for him, an angel tries to help him out of despair and lets him see what would life be like in George's town without him being born. This reminds you to never take anything for granted and to always appreciate what you have.

It's a great movie with heartwarming moments and great acting. James Stewart and leading lady Donna Reed had great chemistry together. And, the rest of the cast, from Lionel Barrymore as the villainous Mr. Potter to Henry Travers as the angel Clarence, all did a wonderful job.

Even as a movie made in the 1940s, it holds up very well through the test of time and is surely one of the greatest to watch during Christmas time. Highly recommend!

Grade A

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Classic American film deserving ALL acclaim

9/10
Author: michaelny7-909-638520 from nyc
13 December 2015

Just a terrific film that needs to be seen each yr, Great acting by James Stewart and supporting actors. I guess audience and critics back then could not support another inspirational film vs Best years of Our Lives which deserved much acclaim after WW 2. Stewart did deserve the Oscar though and that would have made 2 if they got it right, since he should have won for MR Smith goes to washington.director Frank Capra does a tremendous job and its a shame he wasn't given more time and money for creative jobs. BTW its fascinating that the snow scenes were filmed on days of heat waves and you see Stewart sweating in the scenes. A great classic film that holds up and hopefully will be seen a hundred yrs from now

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

George Bailey's Community, or Stray Thoughts About It's a Wonderful Life!

10/10
Author: teddyd
19 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The concrete lessons from this film: 1) the world is a thankless place, and 2) 99.9% of the time, you will not receive help if you don't ask for it.

The final act of the film, I am immediately concerned with George Bailey's apparent closet-alcoholism. I know he has finally hit, what he believes, anyway, the rock-bottom of hopelessness in his business, and the only way to go through with his final plan is to get very drunk. I suppose it is also fitting that he has to become incredibly drunk in order to meet Clarence, and "enter" Pottersville, modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

Like nearly every repeat watcher of this film, George's return home is overwhelmingly emotional. That the financial downfall of the building and loan can bring an entire community together like that is amazing, and hopeful for humanity.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

What is there to say?

9/10
Author: your-killin-me-smalls from United States
4 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is a classic. There is very little negative that I can say about it. The acting is incredible and the plot is great and iconic. The film hit with me a lot of different emotional levels and is definitely can be a tear-jerker at times but is uplifting at the end when George wishes he was born again and goes back to his family. The film plays out as a life story for our main character George Bailey and follows the different events in his life such as the people he meets and the things he does. It is powerful and touching and a iconic masterpiece. It is not only a great movie but a great Christmas movie as well. It is something that everyone should see at least once in their life because it teaches great lessons about life. It is not always happy as it does get a little sad at moments but when you sit down and watch it you can have fun with it because it really is just that great of a film. Definitely something worth watching every Christmas.

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