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on January 16, 2013
The colourized version is amazing. But quite aside from that, I think this film (colour or B&W) is actually quite underrated. Sure it's hugely popular, but it's still widely thought of as a mere Christmas movie. Few film buffs would think to put it on a par with, say, Sunset Boulevard, which came out just a few years later. I'm not so sure. IWL may get looked down on because it has a kind of Norman Rockwell feel to it, and Clarence the angel is kind of silly. But what makes this movie great is the tremendous inner tension that Jimmy Stewart brings to the hero, George Bailey. Oh, George does the good boy thing and stays in Bedford Falls year after year for the good of others but the sense of sacrifice and inner conflict are always there--at least until the very end. That's what makes this movie endure while more traditional "Christmas" films like "White Christmas" and "Miracle on 34th Street" fade away into film history.
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on December 24, 2003
Back in the 70's I went to see "It's a Wonderful Life" at a theatre that specialized in old movies. I hadn't heard much about this one but I thought I'd take a chance since it boasted both Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra. What a major surprize that screening turned out to be. It was as though someone had dug up a previously forgotten movie on par with "The Wizard of Oz". I don't know how this movie drifted into obscurity for so many years but it has really busted out of it now, hasn't it!
What this movie offers is a solid family experience with a lesson for all. At first it seems like just another "good" movie as we see the life of a young man (Gearge Baily) being recounted by some angels up in heaven. All seems well but it also appears that the weight of the world keeps getting added to George Baily's back one pound at a time. In time this happy life reaches a breaking point and then we start to see the real beauty of the story. George Baily's guardian angel, Clarence, grants him his wish to see what life would be like if he (George Baily) had never been born. Now all those minor and major incidents in George's life that we saw in the first two thirds of the movie suddenly take on a very special meaning. We see how those things affected the lives of so many people and (this IS a Capra movie afterall) always for the better. In case you haven't seen this movie, I'll leave the plot hanging there. The ending is truly heart-warming.
This movie has a lot going for it besides the plot. The directing is terrific as is usually the case in a Frank Capra movie. The acting is terrific with Stewart taking the lead as George Baily. Henry Travers may have been a lesser known character actor in his other roles but he achieved immortality (forgive the pun) as Clarence ASC. Donna Reed is well-cast as the girl-next-door who grew up to be Mrs. George Baily. Lionel Barrymore is terrifically sinister in the role of Old Man Potter. There are plenty of others who make this movie great. Indeed, the nature of the plot has a seemingly record number of role-players who are essential to the story.
If you haven't yet seen this movie, then you have been missing a real treat. When you do get around to seeing it, I recommend that you see it from the start. It's really impressive the way everything eventually fits together so neatly. This movie is like a warm hug on a sad day. It will really pick you up!
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on November 23, 2011
The colour version is great, it's like watching the movie for the first time. Highly recommended!! This is such a classic and everyone should know this movie. It has such a special message that is still valuable today.
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on April 24, 2004
This uplifting film directed by Frank Capra was released in 1947; still being watched years later, It's a Wonderful Life is a true classic. Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed it was nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. The message this story portrays is timeless; not only that no one is poor who has friends, but also that you reap what you sow. When George Bailey (Stewart) was a young man he was driven by his dreams and desires to explore the world and build great things. Unfortunately, George's dreams were repeatedly put on hold by his sense of obligation to his deceased father, the struggling family business, and his friends in Bedford Falls. After years of living in the small town that he always longed to escape and doing a job he never really wanted, impending bankruptcy causes George to hit an all time low. Contemplating suicide, it takes a guardian angel to make him see all the good things that he accomplished in his life and how many lives around him that he touched beginning when he was just a boy. James Stewart gives an emotional performance; whether he is praising his father's morals and decency as a human being, praying to God for guidance, or celebrating his new outlook on life the viewer can relate to his passion, desperation, or joy. Throughout his life George Bailey sowed and nurtured many friendships and in the end he reaped the rewards of each and every one. I give it five stars.
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on May 7, 2005
i think that this film is an all time classic,my wife and 4 kids and all our immediate family really enjoy sitting down to this film at xmas. it is a lighter way to enjoy xmas day and appreciate what you have, than to watch the usual garbage that is on tv at xmas time, i must add that it was my wife that got me into this film as she is a classic film fanatic and i must strongly agree that this is definetly a classic. happy viewing
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on September 7, 2002
The American Film Institute calls this movie the 11th greatest movie ever made. This movie will completely change your perspective on life. I strongly suggest watching this movie, for it will have a meaningful impact at the way you understand things.
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on December 26, 1999
This is an old story of "be careful what you wish, for because you just might get it." Set during Christmas-time, George Bailey gets into a little financial trouble and wishes he had never been born and it actually happens. Then a guardian angel named Clarence rescues George after he jumps into the water and shows him that his life is worth living. Somehow, when George returns back to the real world, he recieves a lot of monetary help from the town, who somehow have been impacted by him. In the end, it's a picturesque moment, as we see George and his family in the Christmas spirit. "It's A Wonderful Life" will definately make you a little teary-eyed (just a little). With great acting by James Stewart and Donna Reed, this movie will forever stand as a black & white classic.
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on March 27, 2016
because one of the bankers there, received a personal recommendation of this movie as being a "lovely family film depicting the banking environment". Since obviously nobody at GS knew it, they watched.

And God knows, those GS-"coffin nails" for our world, the humanism and the message of this infinitely miraculous Flm-tale for anyone didn't fail to touch them either - because after 125 minutes they had to admit, that very very deep inside they still have remained ohhh so human.

So here we have a tender scene with all these ice-cold capitalism-perverters, of the entire board of Goldman Sachs crying really hard, so that the many many zeros of the net profit, stated in the Annual Report of Goldman Sachs Holding, Cayman Islands gets literally "waterboarded" tear-fully, hence becoming illegible. And even the CFO clenches his fist and waves it, at the obvious greed of this wheelchaired hard-core-capitalist (Lionel Barrymore), who as a matter of fact is cheating on proud homeowners-to-be, backed by honest and trustworthy bank-clerks of "Savings & loan". Yet he doesn't obviously seem to give a shyte. As our slightly confused bankers gradually begin to grasp, they all start to think of their loved ones at home, in their humble, yet alarm-protected huts in the Hamptons.
The legally tax-deducted luxury-85-inch-Panasony TV leaves no doubt as to what the human community actually holds together.
"Heartless" Bankers with quite moist eyes flop into each other's arms, comforting themselves and some of them even feel the urge to instantly call for a Presbyterian priest, where they can confess all their sins immediately.

In a fit of unbridled emotion the entire board-members then decide unanimously, to also send this heart-warming magic fairy-tale to the - not only spiritually related - companies of Monsanto, Halliburton, Blackrock, Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Nestlé and Glencore on Blu-Ray as a X-mas-gift. Attached to it a poignant personal dedication and rushed out via overnight express-delivery by Fed-Ex. And even 2 more Blu-Rays for the not-yet-rich-enough 2 Koch brothers are generously added, because today the bankers are simply in da moooooooooooooood.

And all this just because of Jimmy Stewart's generosity, a lasso, the moon, Donna Reed's back-up, wee-Susu, Flowers-healy-heal, angels in their nightgowns, scatterbrained uncles and utterly miraculous friendships. As well as because of bells that do not only jingle, when Amazon again pushes another DVD/Blu-Ray of this timeless, heart-warming tale over the cash counter for the interested reader of this totally factual review ............................... yeah, all of this hopefully gives you an idea, what this poignant film can do for each of us still today. Not only on Christmas.
Because it embodies the spirit of a great socialist (!!!) named Franklin D. Roosevelt, who would have loved this movie (not only) as a US president, but unfortunately only passed away 2 years before its release. So he missed it on earth. Maybe not so as an angel?

Thanks for reading this and for understanding about the true meaning of socialist ideas and attitudes. Canadians do well know, it is not evil. The USA however could use a lot of this spirit again today. It had it once. So re-consider and "feel The BERN". Ring-a-ding.

cheers, >>>>>> the notwister - film = 97% - A masterpiece. Period. Forever. And ever.
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on November 25, 2007
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.
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on November 21, 2002
TWO wonderfully great holiday feel-good movies were produced in 1947, yet one remains virtually unseen. If you ever get the chance to see, "IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE," make sure you do not miss it. This movie could easily become as popular as, "It's A Wonderful Life." The movie was directed by Roy Del Ruth and stars Don DeFore, Ann Harding, Charles Ruggles, Victor Moore, Gale Storm, Alan Hale Jr. and ...I don't know why it has never been put on DVD or VHS, but is surely deserves to be and if I knew how to pressure someone to get the job done, I surely would. If you get a chance, you MUST see it and if you do see it you WILL want to see it every year thereafter or own it on DVD...GUARANTEED!
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