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It's a Wonderful Life Reviews

It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life review

Posted : 9 months ago on 17 July 2013 05:04

Capra's Dickensian masterpiece... James Stewart is a vision of decency as the selfless guy George Bailey who finds himself deeply loved in the smalltown community he'd once dreamed of leaving: a redemptive discovery that follows his suicidal despair one snowy Christmas night. Every time I watch it, I am surprised afresh by how late in the story Clarence the angel appears, on his mission to show George how bad the world would have looked without him. The film is gripping enough simply with the telling of George's lifestory. A genuine American classic.

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Overrated, but nice

Posted : 1 year, 3 months ago on 30 December 2012 02:14

Well as the title says, it's overrated but it's still a nice family film to watch around the christmas time I guess.

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It's a Wonderful Life review

Posted : 1 year, 3 months ago on 29 December 2012 07:26

Superb movie of 1946, I watched the original version of the movie in black & white. A movie with a touching story of person named George Bailey, who has lots of big dreams of his own, he wanna go big but thrown in the circumstances and for the sake of the well being of others he adapted another path helping others in need. he managed to do it wonderfully when finally at a crucial juncture he broke down and wishes to take his life.

Nature intervenes to help him and make him realise through a guardian angel, how important his life is and how much difference his contribution has made. A beautiful movie, a must watch.

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It's a Wonderful Life review

Posted : 1 year, 3 months ago on 25 December 2012 08:34

Frank Capra's more timeless films seem to be the caffeine of classic Hollywood. They're peppy, fun to consume and leave you with a positive buzz until the cold hard realities of your world set in.

One of the finest examples of this Capra rush is the holiday classic "It's A Wonderful Life". The film adroitly tells the story of small-town hero George Bailey and the many lives he touches. It also throws in a miserable miser and an extended dream sequence ripped off from Dickens but does so in a way that almost outclasses "A Christmas Carol". Instead of spending time with a bitter old man you spend time with a genuinely kind soul as the world slowly crushes his spirit before building it back up again in a flurry of joy. The turns by James Stewart and Donna Reed are captivating in their kindness and humor. There is also some memorable supporting roles for the great Lionel Barrymoore and Gloria Grahame but the real star is the gloriously uplifting script. Sure, there are some cloying Hee-Haw moments and you don't get the satisfaction of seeing that miserable miser get his but the unfettered anti-cynicism is refreshing and makes this Capra's finest film this side of It Happened One Night.

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It's A Wonderful Story...

Posted : 1 year, 6 months ago on 14 October 2012 08:53

What does it take to make an immortal film?
Every time I get a chance to watch an old classic I feel compelled to search for an answer to this question. Honestly what it takes to make your work so timelessly beautiful that even after 60 years people would adore the work. I don't know the answer perhaps those were the golden days of storytelling. There are so many great stories told in the 40s and 50s era which still looks so relevant and beautiful. Never the less, as a lover of good cinema I am happy with so many pearls at my disposal.

It’s a wonderful Life even after 66 years of its release time still looks so breathtakingly beautiful. It being considered as one of the most inspirational American cinema does not conceal the fact that it bombed at box office in 1946 largely due to the high production cost and perhaps due the theme but still it is a classic in true sense because of an incredibly moving story and some spectacular acting.



The story looks at the life of George Bailey (James Stewart) confined in the mediocre life in Bedford Falls. He wants to travel the world and aspires to become an architect creating beautiful structures instead as his fate turns out he is struck with the old building and loan, a lending firm formed by his idealistic father. He also finds an enemy in Mr. Henry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), a slumlord who wants to take over everything in the city. Bailey the kind hearted city boy is the only one who can stop Potter through his compassionate heart and his father’s legacy – the Building & Loan.

The story takes us through an emotional ride through the entire life of George Bailey till we reach the D day on a Christmas Eve when Bailey almost loses it. Then enters his Guardian Angel Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers), Angel Second Class who intervenes his suicide attempt and shows him how his life connects that of so many people around him and wins him his life in the end while earning his own wings.

The story is very lively and moving and the direction by Frank Capra is very competent. He never interrupts the narrative and the screenplay remains free flowing through out. The humour is very subtle and real funny and there are certain heart worming scenes that truly touched my heart. The fact that I watched the colourised version adds brownie points ( Though the Critics hated it), the film looks spectacular on screen. The film also has a formidable star cast. The legendary James Stewart as George Bailey is energetic as usual and steals the show. Donna Reid as Mary Hatch Bailey, Bailey’s wife looks out of the world. She looked one of the best on screen ever. The supporting cast also looks brilliant. All in all what a movie experience it has been. I have watched it thrice so far and still it looks so fresh.
I am going with 10 out of 10 for this all time classic; I just love this one so much that this is in my list of all time favourites


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It's a Wonderful Life review

Posted : 1 year, 11 months ago on 19 May 2012 02:28

In 1945, the horrible World War had ended. It was this age when people had seen too much reality and they didn't care for entertainment that lived in fantasies or easy-going films. It's A Wonderful Life unfortunately suffered because of the same reason and it went unnoticed under the audiences' noses. But in 60's this films magic was revived making it an instant holiday classic.

It's A Wonderful Life is the story on the life of George Bailey (James Stewart). He has a perfect life but just one problem: nothing ever turned out he wanted to. George dreamed of exploring the world, going places. But his father's bank and the Notorious Mr. Potter, the antagonist whose after the bank and is the richest man of Bedford Falls, never gave him a chance. When George learns of Potter's interest of taking over the whole town, George tries hard preventing that situation. He spends half his life helping out his dear ones, even during the war. At one point, a terrible calamity befalls George that breaks him completely. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an angel named Clarence comes down to Earth to save George from committing suicide and makes George see his mistake in the epic half-hour conclusion.

Every American has seen this film at least once. It's a timeless classic with a beautiful message, so beautiful that it can inspire you. Some people think that this film is brilliant only in the last half-hour, that's the time when the angel comes to the rescue and shows George how wonderful his life actually was and is. That's not true though. The entire film is joyous, happy and wonderful but we don't see it because we lack the vision to see it. And it's Clarence who gives us this vision and proves the point. The film teaches us that one should not care what conditions he/she is in as long as he/she has people who care for him. George and the audience (That's us) don't see the point of everything that's happening in his life as it is a normal life that we all live: simple, honest and a sometimes a lot of struggle. When I watched it the second time, I got it and enjoyed it even more. Since then I have tried hard to appreciate all the small things that have come along my path, whether it's good or bad, because I know that I have friends and my parents who will always laugh with me and help me. I am not sentimental or gay or anything, it's just that It's A Wonderful Life is right...

About the performances, it were great. The film has great humor, a little spice, a little romance, a little serious stuff, a little of everything that life's made of. Frank Capra has timed everything perfectly and even Clarence the angel doesn't look silly as angels frequently are in reel life.

I will conclude saying that It's A Wonderful Life is a wonderful film, the one with a seriously thought-provoking message. Highly Recommended Classic...

Visit my facebook movie page: www.facebook.com/filmsthemostbeautifulart

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It's a Wonderful Movie!

Posted : 2 years, 4 months ago on 5 December 2011 09:01

"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"


A Christmastime staple, Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is a rare film which has withstood the test of time and continues to touch millions of people through its themes, boundless appeal, and emotional power. Placed alongside such movies as Miracle on 34th Street or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, It's a Wonderful Life is not exactly a typical Christmas movie since only its finale happens on Christmas Eve and it has nothing to do with Santa Claus or gift giving. Nevertheless, it encapsulates the true spirit of the holiday: the value of family and friends, and the importance of giving rather than receiving. On top of this, It's a Wonderful Life can be watched any time of the year because of its feel-good themes and the message it conveys about the significance of a single human soul.



The story kicks off on Christmas Eve, as a chorus line of prayers are heard coming from the small town of Bedford Falls pleading for the angels to assist the despairing George Bailey (Stewart). The unsung hero of Bedford Falls, George was anxious to travel the world and head to University when he was a young man, but was forced to relinquish his dreams and manage his late father's business to ensure that it won't fall into the hands of wealthy schemer Mr. Potter (Barrymore). George has always acted in the interests of others before serving himself, and in his adult life he marries the beautiful Mary (Reed) and has a handful of wonderful children. However, financial problems and personal issues suddenly begin to mount, overwhelming George and plunging him into a tragic abyss of despondency. Enter George's guardian angel Clarence (Travers), who is sent from heaven to heighten the depressed man's spirits. In order to achieve this end, Clarence shows George what the world would have been like if he had never existed.


The first two-thirds of It's a Wonderful Life are spent in flashback, with Clarence learning about George's background and seeing the events leading up to his suicide contemplation. Such a device is a structural masterstroke; it allows a chance for viewers to see George's past and it permits room for George's character to be meticulously developed while the knowledge of his depression sits at the back of our mind. Conveying enough material to constitute a separate movie on its own, Capra accommodated the full breadth of George's existence and treated it with the care it deserved. We become immersed in George's existence and we fall in love with the man, and it seems impossible that anything could threaten to destroy his life. This kind of gentle, enthralling character development is gratifying and essential, letting us see what's at stake when Clarence at long last travels down to earth to meet George. And since we grow to love George so much, the climax is all the more poignant (almost unbearably so).



It's a Wonderful Life is such an effective feel-good movie because it asserts the notion that everyone, regardless of how insignificant they may seem, has the capacity to make a difference. Life is described as "God's greatest gift", and the film delivers the message that worldly riches mean nothing compared to love, family, friends, honesty and integrity; qualities which are far more valuable than other fleeting items of value which are so often held in higher regard. All of this converges for the goosebump-inducing finale which never fails to leave this reviewer a blubbering mess. Anybody who isn't moved by the flick's final few minutes should wonder what the heck is wrong with them. Additionally, It's a Wonderful Life is so often referred to as cheesy and sentimental, but it's surprisingly dark at times. The imminent lead-up to George's depression is heart-wrenching in how bleak it is, and George's lurid odyssey through Pottersville - a community in which he was never born - contains noir-ish traces, as it's realistically gloomy.


With Capra having made the most of his estimated $3 million budget, It's a Wonderful Life is a technically impressive picture indeed. The fictional town of Bedford Falls seems completely real, as Capra's crew constructed an elaborate main street consisting of dozens of buildings and stores. It feels lived-in and real, not like something situated on a studio back-lot. Additionally, filming took place during summer months, meaning that snow had to be artificially created. Fake snow often fails to convince, but every flake of snow in It's a Wonderful Life looks authentic. If anything is to be criticised (though perhaps that's too strong of a word), it's that there are a few technical faults, like a wide shot not precisely matching a close-up. But such shortcomings don't matter at all, as Capra's direction is stunning. His sense of pacing is magnificent, and each shot is infused with enthralling visual flair. And while the film is vehemently a drama, gentle humour is scattered throughout, making the film even more of a delight.



While Frank Capra and his team of credited screenwriters deserve some of the recognition for It's a Wonderful Life's brilliance, it's James Stewart's immaculate performance that truly makes the film work. Stewart infused George Bailey with a deft mixture of innocence and veracity, not to mention humanity and fallibility that has viewers rooting for him from the outset. Stewart fits the role like a glove - he's amiable and convincing, and his desperation and despair is increasingly apparent when he's submerged into the vision of Pottersville. Equally excellent is Donna Reed in the role of Mary. Reed wasn't Capra's first choice, but it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role, as she embodies the sweetness that was required to capture George's heart. Meanwhile, as George's guardian angel, Henry Travers is completely charming. The rest of the supporting cast is just as excellent - Lionel Barrymore's performance as the wicked Potter is full of cunning and malice, while Thomas Mitchell was a great pick as the lovable (albeit incompetent) Uncle Billy. Capra never allowed a faulty moment of acting to sneak into his picture.


With It's a Wonderful Life's strong reputation and almost unanimous acclaim, it's difficult to believe that it wasn't a hit during its theatrical release. Reviews were mixed and the box office earnings were underwhelming, dooming Capra's newly established production company. It was nominated for a few Academy Awards, but won nothing. Subsequently, It's a Wonderful Life fell into relative obscurity until the picture's copyright expired and it entered the public domain, meaning that television stations could play it ad nauseum without having to pay royalties. Thus, it was used as a time-filler for the Christmas season, allowing it to be rediscovered by a whole new generation. At last, reviews were almost uniformly positive and It's a Wonderful Life became bestowed with the love and acclaim that it always deserved. Indeed, if It's a Wonderful Life was never born, the world would have been worse off for it.


"You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"


10/10



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A classic

Posted : 3 years ago on 19 April 2011 10:59

It must be the greatest classic directed by Frank Capra. Even though I'm not a fan of his work, I have to recognize that this movie is a great achievment. The story is timeless and this feature is a must see for any film lover.

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You've really had a wonderful life.

Posted : 4 years, 4 months ago on 10 December 2009 02:10

''You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?''

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

James Stewart: George Bailey

Truly one of the finest films ever made. It's message still resonates as if 1946 was yesterday. It's central themes of love, appreciation, loyalty, and sacrifice are valuable reminders any time of year; This isn't just a Christmas film! This is a complex story about life itself and the importance of giving!
Like many other Christmas-themed stories, this one reminds us to pause for a moment and take in our surroundings.



It is unfortunate that such films are expected to be only celebrated once a year, but that particular trait also adds a certain degree of rarity to its charm and appeal. The characters are well-developed and whether loved or hated; each plays a vital role in the film; as in George Bailey's life.
Director Frank Capra has simply put a masterpiece onto celluloid here; and that is quite a feat for a holiday niche film. Never dull, always heartwarming, funny, and true, It's a Wonderful Life is truly one of cinema's shining achievements.
If you have a chance, watch both the Colour and Black & White Versions. Alot of work has gone into restoring and preserving the film; equally adding colour shows how perfect this film truly is.

Sure there is the whole cliché of seeing the world as though you have never existed; the waking up to show how important life is to so many. It's a rendition of Dickens yet spun in a way that makes it original. The entire film could have run with the gimmick and created a complete story from it; as numerous reinterpretations have done. Instead the filmmakers have started us at the end, a tragedy has occurred and a man's faith in life is taking a diminishing blow. Prayers have been sent above and the Gods have decided to send down an angel to help our hero out of his predicament. Well this angel knows nothing about George Bailey; so for the first three quarters of the movie we go along for the ride to catch up on the life of this great man, just as our angel Clarence does the same. We are shown the life of a man who has given the whole of his being for those around him. With not a selfish bone in his physical frame, George continues to sacrifice his happiness for the joy to see his friends jubilant. Through his good deeds, he eventually wakes up to the treasures of life that have been in front of him the whole time and really takes a small town from the Depression to a bonding, successful society. It is almost a strain to consider he could be in so much trouble that he would be contemplating suicide, but once again we see his caring nature come through in that trying, desperate moment. When the story finally catches up to itself we learn that the predicament he is in is actually one of another that he has taken responsibility for in order to see if he can't solve the town's problems again.

James Stewart is a revelation here. The self-deprecating nature is prevalent at all times, and the intellect his character retains balances nicely with his humour and good nature. Stewart is George Bailey, as the role fully encompasses his being. Every nuance of emotion is etched to his face as he goes from wide-eyed explorer to smitten lover, responsible adult, compassionate son and brother, loving husband and father, beaten failure, and finally redeemed hero and friend to all men and women he has ever come across. Of course what hero can exist without a nemesis of equal power whose immense strength comes from evil? Here we have the loathed Mr. Potter played brilliantly by Lionel Barrymore. I don't think anyone who has ever seen this film can have any real compassion for this man who is truly a scrooge to all. People are numbers and figures to him, which need to be conquered and claimed as his own. Barrymore is despicably slimy and true to his character at all times. There must also be mention of the beautiful Donna Reed as our protagonist's love interest. Her striking beauty and self-assuredness shows why George Bailey could be so taken by her, always getting distracted away from his dreams of leaving Bedford Falls. The sexual tension between Reed and Stewart throughout begins humourously at a dance and after when drenched with water and culminates in a serious and real moment as the love takes over during a phone conversation with an old friend. The relationship is believable from start to finish; portrayed even by the young actors who played their roles as children.

True there is a segmented population during Christmas time containing those whom watch A Christmas Story, those with a love for Christmas Vacation, and those championing It's a Wonderful Life among many others. I must say that I have been converted to Capra's classic film and would have no problem watching it not just every Christmas but every holiday, for the rest of my life. The story means alot of things to many people and has been remade countless times in many forms, (there are chunks of time here which show how even Back to the Future II is copying it's paradoxical story at one point). If you want a perfectly written and acted tale of the joy of giving and the strength of friendship to help show the true meaning of Christmas, look no further than this diamond that has endured for over 60 years.

Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.

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A delight to the mind

Posted : 4 years, 6 months ago on 19 October 2009 12:16

It's a wonderful movie as well. I would usually have an issue with it if a film so outrageously claims that christianity is the one true religion, but I'll be damned, if a film does that then this is exactly how it should be done; in a way that will never offend a soul, done so casually that it's barely detectable. This film is just bursting with energy, great performances and a message that will be needed for as long as there are human beings walking this earth. It's all about appreciating what you have instead of longing for what once was, and Wonderful Life is also a fun character portrait of a man who is unrelentless in his generosity but never feels satisfied with the role he is given, until realising what he has managed to do in the world. Still, there are issues with this film. For one thing, for 1946 the editing is really horrible. This is visible during the bank scene late in the film, when a discussion between two parties have about five cuts in it, but the camera angle stays the same. Is is that hard to shoot a single good take? I also personally disliked some things we saw that felt very unnecessary when looking at the big picture; the "what if"-scenario feels like it goes on for too long, and I really think Valerie is utterly useless after the first scene we see her in. Still, it's a great flick that deserves to be watched by all of us.

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