This is director Frank Capra's classic bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey (James Stewart) who wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) who is sent to earth to make George's wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.
Capra's first production through his newly-formed Liberty Films, It's a Wonderful Life lost money in its original run, when it was percieved as a fairly downbeat view of small-town life. Only after it lapsed into the public domain in 1973 and became an Art House staple and a Christmastime TV perennial did it don the mantle of a holiday classic. Through some legal rangling the copyright was renewed in 1993 because Republic pictures still owned the film rights to "The Greatest Gift" which the story is based on.
Directed By: Frank Capra
Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, and Gloria Grahame.
What the critics are saying:
Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes
"The holiday classic to define all holiday classics, It's a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing."
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"The most well-loved of all Christmas movies."
David Parkinson, Radio Times
"This masterpiece from Frank Capra still has a lot to say about community spirit and is a film with much more to it than feel-good sentimentality."
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