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It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

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An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Top Rated Movies #25 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... George Bailey
... Mary Hatch
... Mr. Potter
... Uncle Billy
... Clarence
... Mrs. Bailey
... Ernie
... Bert
... Violet
... Mr. Gower
... Sam Wainwright
... Harry Bailey
... Pa Bailey
... Cousin Tilly
... Ruth Dakin
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Storyline

George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George's modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Billy loses the business's $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're going steady...straight to your heart! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, smoking and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 January 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,180,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,270,000, 31 December 1947
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(colorized)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The WWII experiences of Bert, Ernie, Harry Bailey and Marty Hatch are described during a montage of combat scenes. The audience is told that, during the war, Ernie the cab driver parachuted into France. In the final scene, Ernie is wearing a shirt with the insignia from the then-Army Air Force on his left sleeve, NOT specifically the 8th Air Force as originally posted. He would not necessarily have parachuted into France only as a member of the 8th Air Force aboard a B-17 or B-24 that was about to crash. While it is possible that the reason why Ernie is wearing a dress NCO's shirt from the Air Force is a backhanded salute to James Stewart, who was a decorated pilot of a B-24 in the "Mighty Eighth" Air Force during WWII, it is also possible that he jumped into France as an Air Force NCO as a radioman accompanying an Air Force Forward Air Controller, a fighter pilot attached to a paratroop unit to coordinate tactical air support from the ground. See more »

Goofs

When George Bailey and Mr. Potter are arguing in the board room after Peter Bailey's death, George does not mispronounce "gnawing" as "gawing". He says "... and it's GALLING you!" See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mr. Emil Gower: I owe everything to George Bailey. Help him, dear Father.
Giuseppe Martini: Joseph, Jesus and Mary. Help my friend, Mr. Bailey.
Ma Bailey: Help my son, George, tonight.
Bert: He never thinks about himself, God, that's why he's in trouble.
Ernie Bishop: George is a good guy. Give him a break, God.
Mary: I love him, dear Lord. Watch over him tonight.
Janie Bailey: Please, God, something's the matter with Daddy.
Zuzu Bailey: Please bring Daddy back.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A ringing facsimile of the Liberty Bell (without the crack) forms the backdrop for the studio logo, which is Liberty Films, and the opening credits are in a scrapbook with Christmas decorations. The bell reappears before the end credits, and the end credits have a Christmas card picture as a backdrop. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dong-gab-nae-gi-gwawe-ha-gi-le-sseun-too (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Sheer brilliance!
18 April 2000 | by See all my reviews

After strong performances in films such as "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" and "The Philadelphia Story", James Stewart confirmed his status as one of the greats with his performance as George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life". This movie is, without a doubt, the best of all time.

"It's a Wonderful Life" is a movie that you can watch over and over again. It's movie that makes you think, about life in general and how each person makes a difference, and about how great life can be (hence the title "It's a Wonderful Life). Whilst making you think, it also entertains with many light hearted moments, particularly towards the end of the film.

The direction, sound and casting in "It's a Wonderful Life" are second to none. Yet it is the fact that almost any person can watch this movie and come away feeling inspired that makes it easily the best movie of all time!

A 10/10 without a doubt!


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