It's a Wonderful Life Overview:

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) was a Drama - Family Film directed by Frank Capra and produced by Frank Capra.

The film was based on the short story The Greatest Gift written by Philip Van Doren Stern published in Reader's Scope & Good Housekeeping and as a Novel (1943 (magazine) and 1944 (novel)).


Now the essential Hollywood Christmas movie classic, Capra's fable of finding sustenance in the humdrum of everyday life is a surprisingly dark vision for such a holiday icon. After all, this is a portrait of a man, played with great feeling and emotion by Stewart, driven to despair by potential financial ruin and the loss of his youthful dreams. It also features one of the angriest romantic clinches in all of movie history, as Stewart sees his future in Reed's eyes and knows it doesn't include the foreign adventures that have kept him going day to day in his broken-down savings and loan. But all this loss and compromise is balanced by genuine warmth and joy, as Stewart lassoes the moon for Reed, when she welcomes him to their improvised honeymoon suite, when, finally, all is put right by the community Stewart selflessly served - and by an angel named Clarence. More complex than most holiday fare, and maybe that's why it remains in our hearts.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


It's a Wonderful Life was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1990.

Academy Awards 1946 --- Ceremony Number 19 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActorJames StewartNominated
Best DirectorFrank CapraNominated
Best Film EditingWilliam HornbeckNominated
Best PictureLiberty FilmsNominated

BlogHub Articles:

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE BLOGATHON - A 75TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: Ward Bond and Frank Faylen as Bert the cop and Ernie the taxi driver

on Dec 11, 2021 From Caftan Woman

Ari, The Classic Movie Muse is hosting the It's a Wonderful Life Blogathon, A 75th Anniversary Celebration. Click HERE to access the tributes to Capra's Classic. Assuming you have lost count of the number of times you have watched the movie, spoilers abound.It's a Wonderful Life is a story of dreams... Read full article

The "It's a Wonderful Life" 75th Anniversary Celebration: It's a Wonderful (and Sexy) Kiss

By FlickChick on Dec 10, 2021 From A Person in the Dark

This is my entry in the “It’s a Wonderful Life Blogathon” hosted by The Classic Movie Muse. Click HERE for more great posts celebrating the 75th anniversary of this classic.I hate to be a wet blanket at this party, but I have a bit of an issue both with George Bailey and James Stew... Read full article

It's a Wonderful Life

By Amanda Garrett on Dec 19, 2015 From Old Hollywood Films

Today, I'm reviewing It's a Wonderful Life (1946), a classic Christmas movie that I think avid cinephiles will love. This article is part of the A Movie Gift to You blogathon hosted by Movie Movie Blog Blog Are you an avid cinephile? Are you a devotee of the works of Ozu, Bergman, and Fellini... Read full article

GlamAmor-ous Holidays--Always Remember IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

on Dec 19, 2013 From GlamAmor

Though many point to 1939 as "The Greatest Year in the History of Hollywood," I always remind people to celebrate 1946 as well. For a film noir fan like myself, the quality is virtually unparalleled--Gilda, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Big Sleep, The Blue Dahlia, The Killers, and Notorious a... Read full article

Who's watching "It's a Wonderful Life"?

By Caftan Woman on Dec 13, 2013 From Caftan Woman

Christmas traditions include stories. It starts with the Gospel of Luke and the first Christmas story. From 1843 we have Dickens' immortal tale of redemption and charity in A Christmas Carol. Over the years many movies have added to our emotional connection to the holiday and none more so than 19... Read full article

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Quotes from

George Bailey: Just a minute... just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You're right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I'll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was... why, in the 25 years since he and his brother, Uncle Billy, started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn't that right, Uncle Billy? He didn't save enough money to send Harry away to college, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what's wrong with that? Why... here, you're all businessmen here. Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers? You... you said... what'd you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken down that they... Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about... they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you'll ever be!

Mary: Bread... that this house may never know hunger.
[Mary hands a loaf of bread to Mrs. Martini]
Mary: Salt... that life may always have flavor.
[Mary hands a box of salt to Mrs. Martini]
George Bailey: And wine... that joy and prosperity may reign forever. Enter the Martini Castle.
[George hands Mr. Martini a bottle of wine]

George Bailey: Well, just come back here, Mister. I'll give her a kiss that'll put hair back on your head!

read more quotes from It's a Wonderful Life...

Facts about

Lionel Barrymore convinced James Stewart to take the role of George, despite his feeling that he was not up to it so soon after World War II.
Laraine Day was offered the role of Mary but had to decline because she was already busy working on 'The Locket'.
At one stage when George is walking down the street, Uncle Billy calls out "Hey Captain Cook, got your sea legs yet?". Captain James Cook (1728-1779) was an English sailor renowned as a navigator.
read more facts about It's a Wonderful Life...
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National Film Registry

It's a Wonderful Life

Released 1946
Inducted 1990

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Also directed by Frank Capra

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