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George Bailey is you or me as we hope we are, therefore this story
shows us what we can be and the wonderful impact we can have if we make
the right decisions.
Whilst the original story is great, the screenplay to make it accessible is pure genius.
The players are magnificent, especially James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Travers & Thomas Mitchell.
The cynics today may well see this as sentimental, but personally I think they're missing the point, if life can be more like this then it would be a good think and worth aiming for. Upon release in 1946 the critics preferred 'The Best Years of Our Lives', which is also a great film, but which is better remembered & loved today!
Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" has become a staple of the
Christmas season. It will invariably be played around the holidays,
whether broadcast on T.V or picked out by a family from their DVD
collection. But watching it again this year, I realized just how little
it has to do with Christmas. To be sure, the famous final sequence
takes place around then, but the full film is a broader celebration of
life, humanity, and the human spirit. Confining it to simply a
glorification of the Christmas spirit seems too narrow.
Through the story of the life of George Bailey and the lives of those around him, "It's a Wonderful Life" celebrates basic human kindness and compassion. It praises selflessness and putting others above oneself, as George does time and time again forsaking his dreams for the betterment of those more unfortunate than he in Bedford Falls. It condemns greed, heartlessness, and fierce manipulation of fellow persons on Earth through Henry F. Potter, the shriveled and devious old businessman played to malicious perfection by Lionel Barrymore. It extols the worth of the life of any living being, no matter how poor or pitiful they appear and whatever their flaws may be. Consider the way George extends a caring hand to his dearly daffy Uncle Billy or to Violet Bick when she has fallen on hard times. Think of what he saves them both from when he could have easily cast them aside on account of their vices and imperfections, turning them away.
Are these values appropriate for Christmas? Yes, of course. But they are just as appropriate for any time. Calling this "a Christmas film" somewhat underestimates the power of its themes, themes that are ageless and universal (or so I would hope). This is a film that deserves to be kept in the heart all the year round.
This should be the movie making approach..enlightening and educating
simultaneously..encouraging and eye opening..though what ever is one's
life like but still it is a gift.. Movies like this can make u feel
lifted in spirit..must watch and new film makers should think about
these kind of positive concepts as new times needs these kind of
stories.. James Stewart is superb and so is Donna reed..
I just finished watching this movie and felt overwhelmed by it..i mean the character of James Stewart is just perfect and so is Mr. potter.. Also it shows hat whatever the case be a man should not lose hope about his life and continue to live life cheerfully..good and bad times are only transitory..
It's a Wonderful Life is as much a part of Christmas to me as stockings, candy, snow dusted-trees and shopping. It was a tradition for our family to watch this movie every Christmas Eve before my two siblings and I were tucked into bed in anticipation for Santa Clause to visit our front door (we didn't have a chimney). I will admit that I am not usually a fan of films from this era (I gave Casablanca 5 out of 10 stars), but this feature is different. It's long, but it has to be. The storyline truly covers the main character's entire life. It all comes together in the end in divine detail. It's uplifting and romantic. One suggestion, only watch this film in December before Christmas, it's much easier to appreciate that way.
he Review of the Movie, 'It's a Wonderful Life', by Jennifer Heo
I happened to watch this movie a few months after watching Avatar, which was very controversial about adapting a new technology of 3D in film making in 2009. Compared to Avatar, which is visually colorful and dynamic but it has an almost non-existent storyline, this movie not only is well played and matched in the stars' roles but also gives us a message about sincere and happy lives.
The setting and costumes are so classic. It is a white and black movie released in 1947 right after World War 2. Each of the movie stars' costumes, the women's hairstyle in 1940s, men's suits, and settings can be boring and weird, but it can lead me to feel calm and refined.
The movie was photographed in a small village of Bedford Hill in America. It was nominated for the academy award and won the director award. It is certain that a family can enjoy it together all the time not only for Christmas. When you need some refreshment in your life, it shows you how to lead your life to be successful. Of course a successful life depends on each single person. However, I think this movie shows us true success is not how much money we own, but how we spend the money through two characters, George Baily(James Stewart) and Henry F. Potter(Lionel Banymore). In addition, Mary Hatch Bailey (Donna Reed) shows how important and helpful a lovely lover, devoted wife, and dedicated mother is for a man's wonderful life.
George Bailey is an optimistic and cheerful character throughout the movie. The man with a big dream adventuring a larger and wider world from his childhood days wants to be more educated. However, he has to choose another way that he doesn't want. It leads him to sacrifice his life for his family and some other people in the village. His sacrificial life brings about that he is well-known and respected in the small village, while he has to be against the richest and meanest Henry Potter, who lives in the same village. On the contrary, Potter without any children has over money enough to live, but he doesn't give any charity for others. He tries to take advantage of people in the village to make a fortune. He even tempts George Bailey, suggesting a job with some good conditions. That is because he thinks that George prevents him from expanding his business. However, he rejects it without any hesitation and always chooses the righteous and helpful life for other people.
What I was impressed most by in the story is the scenes showing how much he and Mary love each other. He meets Mary at school dance party for celebrating graduation. They fall in love with each other and she chooses him to get married and fully supports him whatever he wants to do. It encourages him to work harder for the people. Yet, he plunges into the depth of despair because of his uncle's big mistake on the Christmas Eve. At that time, through his guardian angel called Clarence, he finds out that the people who he loves including Mary, his eternal lover and wife, lead desperate lives in the world without him and he realizes that he leads a great life. Especially, the last scene where his friends collect money to help him in despair and he is paid back from the people who know him makes us contemplate what a wonderful life is. I could not control the tears from coming down my cheek.
The Christmas carol in the movie and the scenes of snow make us feel happy. I am often forced to grab it in the season of Christmas every year. This old classic movie adding folktale elements by an angel's appearance also tugs heartstrings and gives a profound message. Therefore, I can recommend you to watch with your family and whomever you want. I think George Bailey can surely be your life guide in a tough life.
This film more than any other is the reason we still hear Frank Capra
as a famous film name. In recent years it has become a Christmas movie
on NBC & the exposure at the network level has given this movie the
type of fame enjoyed by The Wizard of Oz.
It deserves the accolades too. Not only is this a great script with great Direction, but Jimmy Stewart is excellent & uniquely cast in the role as the hero. This film shows how good an actor he is. This film might just be the reason Stewart got the attention of Alfred Hitchcock which would lead to Rope, Rear Window, & Vertigo. It wasn't that Stewart was chopped liver before this film, but the way he carries it is a great acting job. Capra-Stewart just seemed to have the right chemistry together as they had already combined in some other roles too. It is interesting that Stewart was so good that he would work with nearly every great director of this era before he was done.
Donna Reed has her best movie screen role here too. The script is just a wonder of all time. Capra seems to always get a hold of unique & powerful scripts & this one is no exception to that. Granted Mr Smith Goes To Washington & You Can't Take It With You are good scripts too, but this is the one which still invades the National stage most often today.
This film rates a bravo from start to finish & may never go out of style. It is indeed a classic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Maybe it has something to do with waiting a few years between viewings
of the same film. Maybe it has to do with maturing or that mysterious
acquisition of wisdom that comes with years. Maybe it has to do with
slowing down in retirement, paying more attention to details and people
and surroundings. Maybe it's a combination of these and other things.
But after going a few years without seeing "It's a Wonderful Life," I
played the DVD at home just before Christmas this year and saw much
more than I had remembered of the film in the past. To be sure, there
is nothing wrong with the warm sentimentalism I had associated with the
movie over the years. But this time I saw and heard and became immersed
in a film steeped in values and development far beyond plain
entertainment or of a happy story with a happy ending.
Good movies of various genres must be entertaining to be enjoyable. Comedies, romances, musicals, and others may provide good talented performances, humor, action, excitement or mystery. And some may have one or two social values or morals interwoven in their plots. But good drama demands exposition and exploration of more values and a wider range of emotions and mores. That is what we see and hear and become part of in "It's a Wonderful Life."
This film has the standard good guys versus bad guys, and the good-over- evil happy ending. But it probes and reaches much deeper into life in its many characters. It contrasts greed with unselfishness, ambition and dreams with sacrifice and kindness, disrespect with trust, arrogance with humility, lies with truth, power and loneliness with compassion and friendship, exploitation with integrity. It's about taking and giving, honesty and dishonesty, hating and loving, family and friends. And as these themes weave throughout the texture of the story, we see the emotions of love, anger, happiness, shame, fear, hurt and joy play out.
In his state of despair, George Bailey gets a chance to see his world without his having been born. We viewers share in seeing the sharp contrasts in the people, places and events that we had seen in George's life up to that time. The enduring message is the huge importance of a single life in the lives of all others. And how one person each one of us is so important in shaping the lives of others and the events of life far beyond our own small worlds. We have much to celebrate when we realize how wonderful life really is.
Frank Capra's sometimes dark post-war film, "It's a Wonderful Life" was
released in 1946. It was intended to be released in 1947, but when a
Technicolor print of "Sinbad" couldn't be delivered on time, this film
was put into release. For that reason, "It's a Wonderful Life" -
possibly the most wonderful film ever made - was overshadowed by "The
Best Years of Our Lives." But you can't keep a great film down, and as
the years have passed, "It's a Wonderful Life" has found its place as
an iconic film that means Christmas. It's survived the public domain
(due to a clerical error, when the copyright was not renewed in 1974),
where it was cut to ribbons and shown so often on television (and why
not, networks could show it for nothing) that people were sick of it.
Now that it has to be licensed again in order to be shown, the film is
shown in its totality and not as often.
This remarkable story of a man who sacrifices his dreams for the betterment of his community and the business his father built resonates today more than ever, when it often seems like no one cares about anything except what's in it for them. James Stewart is perfect as a caring man who swallows disappointment after disappointment and finally is ready to give up, until he is given the gift of seeing what would have happened had he never been born. No man, he learns, is poor who has friends.
I can't think of a better message or anything more inspirational than can be found in this film. George Bailey is all of us, and his story is a reminder that we're all important and, no matter how tough it gets, we need to keep going. One of my favorite movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is a Wonderful life after watching this wonderful film, a film that
has changed my view about life, a film that really made me think twice
before doing any action, a film that allowed me to look deep into
myself, to find this thing that is called "optimism " which is really
our only hope in living this life.
I have watched this movie recently, and as i remember, at the same day or the day before, i have watched a real Italian masterpiece called " La Vita E Bella " and both of these pictures are photos of the good things in life, that we some times forget because of few bad things happens to us. I don't want to talk about the artistic perfection of this film, because i think, that all of us agree about the tremendous performance of James Stewart as" George Baily" and The Brilliancy in Direction that is brought to us by Frank Capra but the thing i want to talk about is what a great deal of joy will enter your heart when you see this picture . First, the film shows us the amount of sacrifice that good men as "George Baily" do in order to see people around them happy. from the beginning of this movie, Baily starts to Sacrifice, First when he get beaten by the old pharmacist in order to prevent him from serving the wrong medicine, then the rescue of his brother, then dropping his dream in becoming an adventurer to allow his brother to study, and much more of these things, these allowed Baily to be rewarded for his acts at the end of the film, when all those people really were by his side in order to help him !
Talking about the ending of the film, there is a great moral lesson we can learn from it, it the old " Do Good things, and good things will happen" which is in my point of view, is the theme of the film. In addition, in the last scene of the movie i've cried tears of joy as if i were him, and as if those people were my family and friends, who are not always there, but the appear when i need them.
Another thing i would like marking to, is the debut of the Angel, which i see a very important thing happens at that moment, the angle throw himself at water to let George rescue him. And i think, the significance of this move, is that this Angel is trying to call Baily's Depth and reality as a good man. Also, the disappear of Baily from life is a very important thing, showing all people, that no matter how insignificant we can see our selves, but there is a whole balance in this world depending on us, and that is our vanishing from this system, could lead to a great gap in it that we cannot understand as long as we are there.
It's A Wonderful job, i can say at the end...Capra has presented a real picture , a picture that sticks at the viewers mind , and could really change their lives.
As for me, "It's A wonderful Life" helped to shape a whole new identity, an identity that is based on looking on the Bright Side of this life....and i really liked it...nowadays, every time i am about to do something that doesn't go with this fact,i immediately remember this Film, and Directly imagine a world without me...and as i said, i maybe an insignificant tiny individual....but i am a part of the balance of this huge Universe !!
Possible Spoilers My favorite movie of all time and it has been that
This movie makes one believe in heaven, angels, miracles, the good in the world, and other things that sometimes in our darkest moments we choose to avoid. This contrast of the heavenly optimistic and the down to earth pessimistic is the point and the reason this movie works. The powerful uplifting super-climax takes place because the movie will draw the viewer into the very bad down-to-earth pessimistic view of a situation, and the wrong way of seeing things, and then the movie lifts the viewer up in a way that seems almost beyond this world! To keep with the otherworldly concept, the movie at the same time teaches the viewer an over-arching life concept of spending life cultivating friends/relationships instead of money, as if we are listening to a voice from heaven that knows all.
The movie was loosely based on the short story by Phillip Van doren Stern, "The Greatest Gift". This was the story of someone who got to see what life would have been if he never existed.
The movie's climax for 1940's was and still is powerful. If one did a remake of it, today, you could add tremendous heavenly sites/colors and music to the climactic words that end the movie, but I really do not think it would add anything of value.
I have read the negative reviews of the movie and I believe many did not get the main point or do not like a happy endings. Some people feel Peter Baily is too selfless. I am happy those views are in the minority.
I watch this movie every time it is on, which probably totals about 1,000 times to date. I'll probably watch it many more times. The ending always is an uplifting experience. If you want to feel the uplifting power of the ending for yourself, watch the entire movie and when the ending comes and people begin singing the song "Auld Lang Syne" immediately turn the volume to the max and listen to the words and sounds until the ending credits start.
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