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It's a Wonderful Life

1946 American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra Website

Approval Rate: 89%

89%Approval ratio

Reviews 54

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    Fri Jan 14 2011

    The man in this movie that punched George Bailey in this movie reminds me of grandpa George, because I would remember when he would always take up for my grandma.

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    Sun Mar 28 2010

    I love this movie i can't find words to tell you how good of a classic this is. I dont care if it's in black and white, for people who say like it probably wont capture kids atentions...i agree but disagree. im 14 and im a sucker for this movie, otheer kids...probably.

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    Fri Oct 16 2009

    A truly great film, wonderful message.

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    Sat Sep 27 2008

    Definitely my favorite movie. A movie that teaches gratefulness. We don't do that anymore. Is it really a Christmas movie? I guess not. Maybe in the same way that "Last Christmas I gave you my heart" is a Christmas song (hate it, by the way) I watch it several times a year, too. James Stewart was a great actor. As about the "second class angel" Clarence, how can you not like him!??

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    Sun Jul 20 2008

    A Christmas classic no doubt. Tho its a little over played during the Holiday season for my taste.

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    Thu Aug 23 2007

    A great family movie. Runs a bit long and it may be tough to get younger people to watch a black and white film now days. One of J. Stewart's best roles / performances.

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    Thu Apr 06 2006

    A magical Christmas tradition.

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    Fri Jan 20 2006

    A classic story of one man's redemption and a lesson to anyone who thinks that his or her life is without value. Jimmy Stewart gives an amazing portrayal as George Baily capturing nearly every human emotion during the course of the film. (Who the hell won the award for best actor that year?!!) He is at his best when he lets his expressions and mannerisms guide his performance. Lional Barrymore is also superb as the malevolent Mr. Potter. A film that should be witnessed by one and all. Thank you, Frank Capra for your vision and warmth.

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    Sun Jan 08 2006

    The perfect Christmas movie. If you have really young kids, I don't think they'd enjoy it, because it is long and in depth, but I love it, and I'm 16.

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    Thu Dec 01 2005

    Far and away the best Chrsitmas film ever made and one of the top 10 movies ever made period.

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    Thu Dec 01 2005

    You know as much as this is a beloved classic and as great as Jimmy Stewert is....I really don't care for this movie. The story has been copied in so many films and I respect how well done it was, I just can't sit through this one.

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    Wed Nov 30 2005

    I love Jimmy Stewart.

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    Wed Nov 30 2005

    I own it and it is probably in my top 3. Ive already watched it twice this year. Donna Reed was one of my first crushes as a kid. What a beautiful girl she was in this movie! I wanted to Marry her when I was 9-10. This is just a great story that teaches a lesson in life that we should all cherish. If God needed to teach this lesson to someone, I think he might have done it just this way.

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    Wed Nov 30 2005

    After seeing it three times over the course of my life, I no longer need to see it again. I get the point -- Even doormats need to get some love. But I must say, that Donna Reed would sure make my bells jingle.

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    Tue Nov 29 2005

    I know I'll get beaten up for it, but I can't stand this movie. While it is technically competent, it is tedious, maudlin and dull.

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    Tue Nov 29 2005

    Sanctimonious, dated, and corny, and not one of Stewart's better performances, but it has essentially been canonized by the American public, rendering any valid critical objections more or less powerless. Not truly awful, but certainly vapid.

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    Tue Nov 29 2005

    A good, yet sterile flick. Goes down in history for it's fantastic directing and production value, though,

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    Sat Oct 22 2005

    A great film to watch every Christmas!

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    Fri May 06 2005

    Best Christmas movie of all time, hands down. Jimmy Stewart was brilliant!

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    Thu Apr 28 2005

    this movie stands the test of time with human emotion spanning many decades awesome

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    Thu Mar 03 2005

    What's not to like about It's a Wonderful Life?

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    Mon Feb 28 2005

    A good movie, but not really Great. A good standard-fare movie of the time. This is NOT a Christmas movie, despite all the hype around Christmas time. (BTW, it wasn't popular or even known until the mid-80s. That was just AFTER I myself was told about & shown the movie by my parents. Dang if w/in the year my SocialStudies teacher used it, then it started being peddled publicly as a great Xmas movie. Before then, Miracle on 34th St was the universally acknowledged non-Scrooge Christmas champion.) It has a great message and such, but again, is pretty standard regular movie. It is also mostly a biography. It is not a Christmas movie; it just happens the hero goes to his wit's end at Christmas Eve and is saved then. Clarence the angel doesn't even mention Christmas. Most of the movie doesn't have a Christmas feel, exactly because it's a biography which covers any and all aspects of life; it's not even all set in Winter. So I downgrade it maybe partly for the myth that it is a C... Read more

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    Mon Jul 26 2004

    This is not the best film ever created but gets 5 stars for many other reasons..This movie is a tradition that has always left me with a comforting sense with its' small town goodness. I always sensed those were better times when vitues and family mattered...teaches some very good moral lessons too.

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    Fri May 14 2004

    Purely overrated. Some good elements, but the ending is so pathetic. As if everyone in the town would pitch in money for a disliked unpopular person.

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    Mon Apr 19 2004

    Directed by Frank Capra, It's A Wonderful Life (1946) is one of the few, if not the sole dark films that is considered a Christmas movie. For the uninitiated, the story revolves around George Bailey (James Stewart) who finds himself considering suicide, notwithstanding his numerous selfless acts that has helped his family, friends and hometown. His savior is the angel Clarence (Henry Travers) who shows what his town would have been like if he had never been born. Through the process, George discovers that his seemingly inconsequential life was important after all. The core cast includes Donna Reed as George's supporting wife and Lionel Barrymore as the evil Mr. Potter who wants to control the town. Despite the film being recognized by the Academy, the movie was not a commercial success. In fact, It's A Wonderful Life did not become wildly known until the copyright was allowed to lapse, and the movie entered the public domain. After the lapse, the film was shown repeatedly during... Read more

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    Mon Feb 09 2004

    This is a true classic that I have pased on to my children. At 30, 33 and 36 they still watch this show as a tradition of their childhood. My oldest even discusses this in his Literature class he teaches to middleschool.

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    Sat Dec 13 2003

    If there was a rating higher than 5, I would give it. People need to look past the mistaken idea that this is a Christmas movie and see that it is a movie that can be viewed all through the year...and with every viewing you get something new. It just grabs your heart. James Stewart, as far as I am concerned, was the greatest actor Hollywood has produced. He is sheer brilliance in this movie. To watch him fall apart is to see what happens to many people in dire straits. You live it with him. When he realizes just how blessed he is, you share that joy with him too. I think, of all the movies Mr. Stewart did, this is the one that he will be remembered for 100 years from now. And they will still be remarking on the brilliance of the film and the performances. While he is by far the best thing about the movie, that is not to say that the others were less than wonderful. The whole cast was astoundingly fabulous. As you can see, this IS my favorite movie. Mr. Stewart made this fi... Read more

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    Sun Nov 02 2003

    True holiday classic. It does seem a little old fashioned compared to today's films, but that's also part of its charm.

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    Mon Jun 23 2003

    This movie didn't hit me till well into my 30s. It really got to me this last Xmas. When George is ready to off himself, and when he sees life without him, that always brings a tear. Stewart did a hell of a job in this one. Even the love story rang true. I love his transformation from optimist to cynic to optimist again. It really speaks to all of us. Very American, but also a true cinema classic.

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    Tue Jun 17 2003

    Definitely an all-time classic. One of the best of the 40's, and Frank Capra's masterpiece.

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    Tue Jun 17 2003

    BEST HOLIDAY MOVIE EVER!! one of the few movies that gets me choked up at the end!!

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    Fri Apr 25 2003

    Great lines:"Pox upon me for the oaf that I am","Hee-Haw, Hee-Haw" Great theme: An opportunity to examine the impact one's life makes on others. Great cast: Quintessential Jimmy Stewart (made me a life-long fan). Demure and tantalizing (naked in the bushes scene) Donna Reed. Great introspection: When young George has the loving maturity to understand Mr. Gower's grief over the loss of his son. Withstanding his verbal and physical barrage to prevent what could have been a fatally errant prescription. And Mr. Gower's belated awareness and subsequent thankfulness to George. Great scenes: The rush on the bank and Mary sacrificing their honeymoon nestegg to save it. Clarnece ordering that long past due drink at Martini's. And on and on and on. Great impact: Bert and Ernie...alive and well in the hearts of our children on Sesame Street... well of course you get it This is easily an all-time top 5 of my favorite movies that never ceases to choke me up and always makes me long a little for... Read more

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    Tue Dec 24 2002

    It's a WONDERFUL movie!

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    Fri Oct 18 2002

    Sappy and very dated. I love Jimmy Stewart, but in this I can barely watch him. Give me "Rear Window" or "Vertigo" any day.

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    Sun Sep 22 2002

    THE COOLEST MOVIE EVER!!! For christmas anyways

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    Wed Jul 17 2002

    A film that consistently brings tears to my eyes. Frank Capra's masterpiece of ethics, the American Dream, and George Bailey's search for fame and discovery that a man doesn't have to be wealthy to be the "richest man in town" is an American classic that has become such a part of our lives that Christmas without this film is like bacon without eggs. Includes the performance that defines Jimmy Stewart's unparalleled movie career, some of the most memorable scenes in history, and Lionel Barrymore as Mr. "that man has been a boil on my neck for 20 years" Potter. See it every year.

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    Thu May 23 2002

    Anyone who isn't touched by this movie would have made a great Mr. Potter, without even acting.

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    Sat May 11 2002

    When small-town denizen George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes out loud that he'd never been born, his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) shows him how his idyllic home town of Bedford Falls would have been without him. This perennial Christman classic works so well because it plumbs the very depths of despair before pulling out all the emotional stops for the desperately happy ending ("I never knew I had so many friends" wails George). This is a beautiful and heartwarming tale that is an absolute must-see. Summary: A BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS CLASSIC.

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    Fri Feb 22 2002

    This is my all time favorite movie. It is about priorities and what really matters in life. It may seem to start off a little slow, but all of the things at the beginning are leading up to something worthwhile. It is the movie that made James Stewart my favorite actor and Frank Capra my favorite director. It is warm, funny and has a good moral. A true classic and the closest thing to a perfect movie there is.

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    Thu Jan 24 2002

    Before watching this I had the same mis-conceptions as everyone else about films from this golden age and especially this festive flick. The film fortunately put such doubts to rest. Many will argue it is too sentimental, while partly true, such scenes are handled with the utmost care and NEVER feel corny. Being from this current generation of cynical drones, this film to me, was a revelation. Capra fills each scene with such aplomb that one cannot help but feel slightly moved. The film has the perfect cast especially the immortal Jimmy Stewart and the ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS Donna Reed (underrated, underrated). While labelled as a feel good christmas movie, such a label is disrespectful. The film encompasses a variety of values and emotions, from family, faith, hope, love, aspirations, despair to many others. Although it is a universal film and there are some lighthearted scenes, there are also long periods of darkness and depression (exploiting the talent of Stewart perfectly). I... Read more

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    Sat Dec 22 2001

    A timeless classic

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    Tue Oct 02 2001


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    Fri Sep 28 2001

    I watched this movie at a time in my life when I was feeling very down. I moved to Michigan away from my family in New York and was feeling very lonely because I couldn't be with them a Christmas. I felt so good after watching it that I called my mom to discuss it.

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    Fri Jun 08 2001

    this is not just a christmas story, it's message is universal: that persistence and FAITH can overcome despair. it is a thoroughly heartwarming movie, and go back to it again and again...

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    Tue May 15 2001

    A magnificent picture!

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    Sun May 06 2001

    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Our family watches this every year at Christmas.A tradition for us.I love the story of a man who has always given up his dreams to help others. He goes through a crisis and thinks about ending his life . and down comes Clarence the angel.He shows George what life would have been like for others if he had never been born.George finds how important he is to those around him and decides he wants to live. the very last scene where the town rallies around for George is still a tearjerker. I love feel good movies and this is a good one. James Stewart is perfect as George Bailey.the other actors are fine too.

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    Sat May 05 2001

    In my opinion, this is about the tenth greatest movie eleven months out of the year. But during December, it is number one!

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    Thu Apr 05 2001

    Corny, but well done christmas movie that can be considered a classic. The plot is kind of goofy, but well worth watching. ACting is over-the-top but, decently played out, and they don't waste their time singing carols like in other attempts to create a holiday feature.

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    Sat Feb 10 2001

    "It's a Wonderful Life" Is a real classic, and it is a good lesson for anyone to learn who feels useless, and that his or her life has little or no meaning. People who feel discouraged with life can take a look at their life and think back at all the good that has come , and there most likely are people who could not have done without you. It is a good look at how one person's life can affect the lives of those around him in a positive way, and as far as Mr.Potter goes,in a negative way. So you can really appreciate a movie like this to help one find meaning in life.

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    Sat Jan 27 2001

    One of the very best. I watch it almost every year and never seem to get tired of its hopeful message.

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