- Actors: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers
- Directors: Frank Capra
- Writers: Frank Capra, Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, Jo Swerling, Michael Wilson
- Producers: Frank Capra
- Format: Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen, Import
- Language: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 2
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Paramount
- Release Date: Nov. 13 2007
- Run Time: 130 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 192 customer reviews
- ASIN: B000VDDDVO
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It's A Wonderful Life (Two-Disc Collector's Set) (B/W & Color) [Import]
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Now perhaps the most beloved American film, It's a Wonderful Life was largely forgotten for years, due to a copyright quirk. Only in the late 1970s did it find its audience through repeated TV showings. Frank Capra's masterwork deserves its status as a feel-good communal event, but it is also one of the most fascinating films in the American cinema, a multilayered work of Dickensian density. George Bailey (played superbly by James Stewart) grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, dreaming dreams of adventure and travel, but circumstances conspire to keep him enslaved to his home turf. Frustrated by his life, and haunted by an impending scandal, George prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. A heavenly messenger (Henry Travers) arrives to show him a vision: what the world would have been like if George had never been born. The sequence is a vivid depiction of the American Dream gone bad, and probably the wildest thing Capra ever shot (the director's optimistic vision may have darkened during his experiences making military films in World War II). Capra's triumph is to acknowledge the difficulties and disappointments of life, while affirming--in the teary-eyed final reel--his cherished values of friendship and individual achievement. It's a Wonderful Life was not a big hit on its initial release, and it won no Oscars (Capra and Stewart were nominated); but it continues to weave a special magic. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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"It's a Wonderful Life" stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey, a bright ambitious man who is also considerate and generous to a fault. He is so considerate and generous that he has always sacrificed his own happiness and goals so that others might pursue theirs. When bad luck strikes a final blow, it seems like all of his generosity has brought George nothing but dissatisfaction and a bad end. An angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) is sent to Earth to convince George that he has had a wonderful life, after all, and one that is very much worth living.
"It's a Wonderful Life"'s message is more idealistic than realistic. And I'm not sure that advocating constantly putting the happiness of others ahead of your own is at all wise. But this is a wonderfully entertaining and well-constructed film nonetheless. Jimmy Stewart is due much of the credit for the film's success. This is one of his finest performances. Perpetual self-sacrifice could easily grow tedious, and George Bailey would be a saccharine character in the hands of a lesser actor. But with the help of a terrific script, Stewart makes George sympathetic and interesting. The supporting cast does a fine job. The cinematography and art direction are excellent. "It's a Wonderful Life" is simply a pleasure to watch, which is why it has become a Christmas classic. Recommended for viewing on cold winter nights. Somehow that works best. It will make a Jimmy Stewart fan out of you.
Some critics of "It's A Wonderful Life" call it "Capracorn" (making reference to the movie's director, Frank Capra), and say that it is unrealistic sentiment, but I disagree. The story basically shows how a man's life unfolds through a period of years in the town in which he was born. What he thinks are disappointments and cruel tricks of fate actually lead him to the place he always wanted to be. He is shown what the lives of his loved ones and friends would have been like had he never been born. He realizes that those small acts of kindness and love that he has given to people were not insignificant, but made major differences in each and every life.
Particularly moving is the scene where the protagonist, George Bailey, superbly played by Jimmy Stewart, prays a silent, but desparate prayer in the town bar. The answer to that prayer gives George Bailey some unexpected twists and turns, but shows the fabric of his life is so carefully interwoven with those he loves and cares for.
This is American filmaking at its very finest. I highly reccomend this for the whole family.
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