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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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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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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

a story about a man livilng a wonderful life

10/10
Author: koichi-saito-95 from Japan
27 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of my favourite films. I heard that it's still nominated as films which people want to watch in Christmas seasons in the US. Although this film was published in 1946, it's still popular among the people. The lesson of this film, I suppose, is that we mustn't give up until the end. We cannot guess what will happen in our future. Even if we had serious problems, an angel might help us. We cannot prove what is impossible in our world.

I've watched some films in which Jim Stewart, who is the star of this film, appears. In these films, I like 'It's a Wonderful Life' the best.His way to act is perfect.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

the movie told about an angel that helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

10/10
Author: Boni Andika from Indonesia
22 July 2014

I consider this movie as one of my inspirational movies. I think there are many lessons that we can take from the story. In life, sometimes we feel down, nobody cares with us, no choices in life, and many others desperate things. We might feel like why we should be born in this condition, or why is God gives this problem to us, or anything else. But, we should reconsider how wonderful life is.! From the movie we can learn that life is like a cobweb. We don't know that thing which happened to us, might be connected and give the influence to other's life. We don't know that the thing we do is might be a history. We don't know how is precious our life for others, for our family, our friends, and for people around us. We can think that the thing is disaster, but we never knew how great that thing and what is God's planned for us. From the movie we can see that George might feel very desperate and thought that better not to be born. But, God has his own plan! And no matter how hard the problem is, God can always helps his slaves. We should not be regretful to everything happened in our life. Even how hard our life is, we should consider that God is exist, and we have many friends that still willing to help us and give us their support. We are human being, we don't know the future, we don't know that every problems has its solution behind. That we need just belief that LIFE IS WONDERFUL!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A flawless movie that never grows old.

10/10
Author: roberto_cava (roberto_cava@hotmail.com) from Spain
12 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"It's A Wonderful Life" is a 1946 movie directed by one of the greatest filmmakers of all time: the three-time Oscar-winning director, Frank Capra.

The film is set in a fictional North American village, and tells the story of an ordinary guy, George Bailey (James Stewart in the role of his life) from his childhood to his adult age.

The first hour of the film is like a summary where we witness some events of George's life: his first love (the astonishing Donna Reed playing the role of the woman everybody would like to marry), the death of his father, his wedding... But the real aim of this introduction is making us feel utterly identified with Stewart's character: a good man who has been constantly sacrificing his dreams to help his family (renouncing to go to University to stay in charge of the family business), his friends (lending them money through his company whenever they need it) and many other members of his community.

Capra then focuses on an unfortunate incident of George's current life that leaves him totally broken and makes him believe his whole existence so far has no sense, what finally will lead him to attempt suicide.

Then, an angel from heaven appears to help George by letting him see how different (and worse) the life of all the people he knows would have been if he hadn't been born. In other words: in the middle of an incredibly intense family drama, Capra did something that nobody had done before (and nobody would dare to do again) in movie history: he changed completely the gender of the story... after almost 2 hours of movie!!! Therefore, a drama film suddenly became a fantasy film... but, surprisingly, it worked perfectly well because those last 30 minutes still remain as one of the most touching endings in movie history.

Curiously, the movie was not only a flop, but it was also defeated in the Oscars by "The Best Years of Our Lives", incidentally, my favorite movie of all time. But what is harder to believe is that Stewart wasn't awarded for one of the most outstanding performances ever given by an actor.

Fortunately, as years went by, this masterpiece eventually reached the critical recognition it always deserved and nowadays it's constantly included in the lists of greatest motion pictures ever made... including mine. It became even more legendary when TV channels all over the world started to show it on TV every Christmas since the 1970s decade.

But "It's A Wonderful Life" is much more than a Christmas movie: it's a gripping and moving work of art, a masterpiece that never grows old, but mostly, a film you never get tired of watching over and over again. I think that's the best compliment for any movie.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

My family watches this every Christmas!

10/10
Author: mjennings_cot from United States
30 May 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love, love, love this movie. (;)-Darcy) It is our Christmas movie while we eat our party foods.

Comments below may be considered spoilers: It's been about six months since I've seen this movie so I don't know if I can think of all my favorite scenes. I'm sure I will have forgotten to put some of them. :) * I like when they are walking home from the school party and throw a rock in the old house windows and make a wish. The whole scene where they are walking home is good.

* I like when Sam is explaining about plastic and getting them to invest. It is kind of upsetting because George has longed to get out of the little town, but he is falling in love with Mary. It is very conflicting, does he love Mary and stay in the small town and have a family or leave the small town.

* Some parts are frustrating or upsetting, George's father dies, Potter is trying to take over George's late father's business, George will never get his dream of leaving the small town, Potter tries to have George arrested.

*The end is wonderful when his friends come to his rescue. It makes me cry. And George's family house servant says the money she is giving to help George is the money she was saving for a divorce if she ever got married. :)

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