It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

Director: Frank Capra Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

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This is director Frank Capra's classic bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey (James Stewart), the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank in the typical American small town of Bedford Falls. As the film opens, it's Christmas Eve, 1946, and George, who has long considered himself a failure, faces financial ruin and arrest and is seriously contemplating suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey's dilemma and decide to send down eternally bumbling angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings, to help George out. But first, Clarence is given a crash course on George's life, and the multitude of selfless acts he has performed: rescuing his younger brother from drowning, losing the hearing in his left ear in the process; enduring a beating rather than allow a grieving druggist (H.B. Warner) to deliver poison by mistake to an ailing child; foregoing college and a long-planned trip to Europe to keep the Bailey Building and Loan from letting its Depression-era customers down; and, most important, preventing town despot Potter (Lionel Barrymore) from taking over Bedford Mills and reducing its inhabitants to penury. Along the way, George has married his childhood sweetheart Mary (Donna Reed), who has stuck by him through thick and thin. But even the love of Mary and his children are insufficient when George, faced with an $8000 shortage in his books, becomes a likely candidate for prison thanks to the vengeful Potter. Bitterly, George declares that he wishes that he had never been born, and Clarence, hoping to teach George a lesson, shows him how different life would have been had he in fact never been born. After a nightmarish odyssey through a George Bailey-less Bedford Falls (now a glorified slum called Potterville), wherein none of his friends or family recognize him, George is made to realize how many lives he has touched, and helped, through his existence; and, just as Clarence had planned, George awakens to the fact that, despite all its deprivations, he has truly had a wonderful life. Capra's first production through his newly-formed Liberty Films, It's a Wonderful Life lost money in its original run, when it was percieved as a fairly downbeat view of small-town life. Only after it lapsed into the public domain in 1973 and became a Christmastime TV perennial did it don the mantle of a holiday classic.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/17/1996
UPC: 0017153208337
Original Release: 1946
Rating: NR
Source: Republic Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Stewart George Bailey
Donna Reed Mary Hatch Bailey
Lionel Barrymore Mr. Potter
Thomas Mitchell Uncle Billy
Henry Travers Clarence
Beulah Bondi Mrs. Bailey
Ward Bond Bert
Carol Coomes Janie Bailey
William Edmunds Mr. Martini
Gloria Grahame Violet Bick
Argentina Brunetti Mrs. Martini
Sarah Edwards Mrs. Hatch
Frank Faylen Ernie
Jean Gale Mary (younger)
Karolyn Grimes Zuzu Bailey
Frank S. Hagney Potter's Bodyguard
Jim Hawkins Tommy Bailey
Samuel S. Hinds Pa Bailey
Todd Karns Harry Bailey
Sheldon Leonard Nick
Virginia Patton Ruth Dakin
Ronnie Ralph Sam (younger)
Lillian Randolph Annie
Larry Simms Pete Bailey
Mary Treen Cousin Tilly
H.B. Warner Mr. Gower
Charles Williams Cousin Eustace
Bob Anderson George as a Child
Lane Chandler Actor
Harold Landon Marty Hatch
Bert Moorhouse Actor
Robert Peyton Actor
Bob Scott Mickey
Frank Albertson Sam Wainwright
Danny Mummert Marty Hatch (younger)
Ray Walker Joe at Luggage Shop
Edward Keane Tom
Ellen Corby Miss Davis
Stanley Andrews Mr. Welch
Marian Carr Mrs. Wainwright
Tom Fadden Tollhouse keeper
Charles Halton Bank Examiner
Harry Holman High School Principal
Charles Lane Real Estate Salesman
John Farrell MacDonald House Owner
Garry Owen Bill poster
Almira Sessions Potter's secretary
Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer Othello
Al Bridge Sheriff
George Nokes Little Harry Bailey
Harry V. Cheshire Dr. Campbell
Eddie Fetherstone Bank Teller
Dick Elliott Actor

Technical Credits
Frank Capra Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Gordon Bau Makeup
Joseph Biroc Cinematographer
Arthur S. Black Asst. Director
Russell A. Cully Special Effects
Frances Goodrich Screenwriter
Albert Hackett Screenwriter
William W. Hornbeck Editor
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Jack Okey Art Director
Clem Portman Sound/Sound Designer
Edward Stevenson Costumes/Costume Designer
Jo Swerling Screenwriter
Dimitri Tiomkin Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Richard VanHessen Sound/Sound Designer
Joseph Walker Cinematographer

Customer Reviews

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It's a Wonderful Life 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Any time you get stressed and are having 'one of those days' WATCH THIS MOVIE. It is timeless - it applies to everyday situations and will continue to do so forever. Don't listen to the person complaining that it is in color - IT'S IN BOTH black and white and color. It says so right on the box.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a holiday classic and should be in your collection. For its 60th anniversary, they've taken the opportunity to restore the film and create a brand new high-definition master. The new disc features a superior video presentation in the original full frame aspect ratio. PS - To the reviewer who complained about color... Only the packaging is in Color (and IMHO looks great!), the movie is in it's original B&W.
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
Another great movie with James Stewart. Great to inspire you to value the life you have and enjoy the blessings of family and true friends. This is a well-developed storyline with endearing lead and supporting cast that you should hopefully find enchanting. A great story for the upcoming holiday and Holy-day season as well as a reminder to enjoy your life's "gifts" to the fullest, is the message of this heaven sent tale. If you enjoy this tale you may like to consider watching, The Bells of St. Mary's starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. Both stories are very inspiring and great faith builders. A classic movie with modern applications is in this, It's A Wonderful Life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL, Classic Movie that will stir your feelings. A time when the townspeople got together to do something good for someone who loved the town and didn't want to see it disappear. A town where one evil person was not allowed to control the town because the good people of the town would not let him. A time when the good was in ultimate control not the bad. This movie should make as aware IF THE GOOD PEOPLE DO NOTHING - THE BAD PEOPLE WILL TAKE CONTROL.
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Personal_Book_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Love this movie. Look forward to watching every Christmas.
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SMeyerDestroysBooks4ever More than 1 year ago
amazing movie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
a truly one-of-a-kind presentation. it reveals the importance life, and the meaning of christmas joy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is one of my all-time favorites, along with White Christmas. If anyone feels like life is not worth living or if you feel down all the time, please watch this movie. It is one of the most inspiring movies I have ever seen! If you have not seen this movie yet please go and see it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a wonderful Life is a superb movie and is great to watch during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. It is a very heartwarming story and the actors are wonderful, especially James Stewart and Donna Reed but the rest of the cast is great too, especially Henry Travers, and the children who played Jimmy and Donna's children were also very good especially the adorable little girl who played their daughter Zuzu, (she also played Loretta Young's and David Niven's daughter in The Bishop's Wife). I highly recommend buying It's a Wonderful Life on DVD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a movie this is. I believe when Cappra made this movie he was most inspired by God. It helps many people in their walk in this life. I know it does me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who watches ''It's a Wonderful Life'' and isn't moved at some point throughout the movie needs to have his or her pulse checked. Truly, this movie epitomizes what Christmas REALLY means - throughout our lives, our selfless acts really DO matter, on a scale so large we can't even see it. Jimmy Stewart/George Bailey truly IS every man (and woman) who've ever missed the forest for the trees. Every year, for the past 20 years, I've watched this movie on Christmas Eve, and I sob at the end every time. This year, my 11 year old daughter reminded ME that ''we have to watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' on Christmas Eve, dad!'' Talk about priceless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is without question, quite simply the best movie ever made, Christmas or otherwise. This movie isn't great just because we find it sentimental, though it is. It is the antithesis of what rivals it as the greatest movie ever, Citizen Kane. While Kane is ultimately cynical, ''Citizen Bailey'' is fulfilling and rewarding. It reaffirms our cultural belief that redemption comes through charity and that our real reward is not material. While Kane reaches the same conclusion, it does so without the hope or joy of It's a Wonderful Life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was the beginning of my love affair with Jimmy Stewart. I don't think this movie could have been casted better than it was, it's almost perfect in every way. I don't often love ''feel goods'' but I cry at this movie every time. It's so hopeful and full of love, just like Christmas should be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ever since I can remember I watch ''It's a Wonderful Life'' every Christmas Eve. It's a story about how one man can impact so many lives. This wonderful story reminds us of the meaning of Christmas and truly warms the heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had always loved this movie. When I got the blue-ray player and saw that this movie was available in blue-ray, I had to get it. It came with both the original black and white version and a colorized version on 2 separate blue-ray disks. The picture is unbelievably clear in both the original black and white, and the colorized version which I thought was very professionally done with very natural looking color choices. This is one of those movies that I love to watch every Christmas and was very satisfied with this new blue-ray version of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a favourite movie of a freind--Mr. Jose Rouise Ramos. His kindness and encouraging words when I was in hopelessness and despair actually endears this movie to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I consider myself a fairly good evaluator of movies. I didn't ''discover'' IAWL until mid-adulthood, but I marvel at it every time I watch it. I could write a short story on it's virtues, but suffice it to say, when George is called ''the richest man in town,'' I just start bawling everytime.