A compassionate businessman contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve,
only to be saved by an angel who shows him life without him in it.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Directed by Frank Capra
Written by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra
Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore,
Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Frank Faylen,
Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame, H.B. Warner
Based on the short story "The Greatest Gift"
by Philip Van Doren Stern
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (James Stewart),
Best Director, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing
It's a Wonderful Life is a timeless Christmas classic that has touched the hearts of millions for decades. It's one of the many films in James Stewart's career that has stood the test of time and remains a poignant reminder of what truly matters in life. Despite receiving minimal attention upon its initial release, it grew in popularity thanks to television reruns and has since evolved into a Christmas staple that holds a special place in all our hearts.
The story revolves around George Bailey (Stewart), a decent son and brother who wants to travel the world but is forced to run the family business when a ruthless businessman named Henry Potter (Lionel Barrymore) goes after his father's company. When he ends up planting roots in his hometown with his wife Mary (Donna Reed) and his four kids, he ends up becoming the most beloved man in town as he helps every person in need, never once thinking of himself. Then, when everything comes crashing down on Christmas Eve, he considers ending it all only to be rescued by Clarence (Henry Travers), an angel in training who teaches him that he has much to be thankful for. Let's be honest. There's not a dry eye in the house when the lesson is learned, am I right?
It's a Wonderful Life has survived because of its universal message of family and hope, as well as its collection of flawless performances. This film is arguably Frank Capra's masterpiece, as well as the vehicle for James Stewart's best performance. It will forever be a classic that families around the world watch at Christmastime, where countless generations will learn the true meaning of the holidays.