Truly a great and inspirational film, "Wonderful Life" will remain one of my favorites and a classic. The colorized version? Skip it. See this one.
But, oh, Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. He is the best actor in history and in this film, this one being his first one after WW2, he delivers in his usual style.
He plays everyday schmuck George Bailey, a modern day Bob Cratchit with an urge to get out on his own.
Unfortunately, he is forced to watch his dreams get smashed repeatedly by business and family obligations. It is on Christmas Eve that his last shred of hope is diminished and he is forced to take the only way out; suicide.
Then we have Clarence, George's guardian angel who hasn't earned any wings. He gives proof to my theory (convieniently called the Frank Capra/Jimmy Stewart theory) that everyone has an effect on everyone else.
He shows George that he should stop feeling sorry for himself by creating an alternate reality; one that shows what Georges hometown of Bedford Falls would have been like without George.
It is here that Capra shows a darker, spookier side as he takes us into what is now called Pottersville, named after the rich villain of the story Henry F. Potter. It has been transformed from an innocent Mom and Pop town to a Las Vegas-ish pit.
The most powerful scene is that where George meets up with Mary, a woman who (in the real world) was his wife. Here, we see that she has turned into a lonely old maid.
Frank Capra was the Spielberg of his time, and the way that he tells the story of one man who doesn't know his own goodness, is truly amazing.