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 wings. He shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born. In a nightmarish vision in which the Potter-controlled town is sunk in sex and sin, those George loves are either dead, ruined, or miserable. He realizes that he has touched many people in a positive way and that his life has truly been a wonderful one. —IMDb
The most honored and well-liked director of his generation, Sicilian-born Frank Capra graduated from the California Institute of Technology as a Chemical Engineering major. Down on his luck after service during World War I, he bluffed his way into the movie business and learned films from the bottom up, from the film lab to the prop department to the editing department. He settled in as a gagman during the 1920s, and soon became a director specializing in comedy. After a stint with Mack Sennett, Capra moved to Columbia Pictures, where he came into his own as a filmmaker.
Displaying a good feel for drama as well as comedy, and a common touch with which ordinary viewers could resonate, Capra quickly became the star among the tiny studio’s stable of directors. His pictures, starting with American Madness in 1932, displayed themes that audiences regarded as important and uplifting during the worst days of the Great Depression, and Capra, despite the relatively modest budgets with… read more
I hate how Its a Wonderful Life gets lumped in with the standard playlist of Christmas movies when its really so much more than that. This is easily the kind of movie I can't stand in lesser hands, but in Frank Capra's its a thing of beauty that never fails to reduce me to a weeping mess at the end or a little misty at the very thought of it.
The Depression bites, as does winter, and survival until spring becomes paramount in this Fox Production.
"One theory is, it goes back to the days when they were making the calendar. They put in the extra days between the lunar and the solar year
The first roundup of TRON: Legacy reviews — and it's a big one — dates back a couple of weeks and you'll find it right here. Initial takes
When I think of the words inspiring and memorable, this movie is the 1st that comes to my head. It’s a Wonderful Life is truly one of the most inspiring, memorable, touching, funny… read review
It’s A Wonderful Life portrays the life of a man who has given everything in his possession both physically and mentally to his community causing him to break down and lose faith. This in turn stretches… read review