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

See all It's a Wonderful Life articles

Quotes from

[George returns to the bridge where his nightmare began, hoping to bring back his old life]
George Bailey: [praying] Clarence! Clarence! Help me, Clarence! Get me back! Get me back, I don't care what happens to me! Get me back to my wife and kids! Help me Clarence, please! Please! I wanna live again. I wanna live again. Please, God, let me live again.
[it begins to snow again]
Bert: [shouts] Hey, George! George! You all right? Hey, what's the matter?
George Bailey: Now get outta here, Bert, or I'll hit you again! Get outta here!
Bert: What the sam hill you yellin' for, George?
George Bailey: You...
[suddenly stunned]
George Bailey: George... Bert? Do you know me?
Bert: Know you? Huh. You kiddin'? I've been looking all over town trying to find you. I saw your car plowed into that tree down there and I thought maybe you - hey, your mouth's bleeding. Are you sure you're all right?
George Bailey: What the...
[licks the corner of his lip and checks his mouth with his hand]
George Bailey: Ha, ha, ha, ha! My mouth's bleeding, Bert! My mouth's bleeding! Zuzu's petals... Zuzu...
George Bailey: [checking his pocket] There they are! Bert, what do you know about that! Merry Christmas!

George Bailey: [the staff celebrates closing the building and loan company with only two dollars remaining, to stay in business] Get a tray for these two great big important simoleans here.
Uncle Billy: We'll save 'em for seed.
George Bailey: A toast! A toast! A toast to Mama Dollar and to Papa Dollar, and if you want to keep this old Building and Loan in business, you better have a family real quick.
Cousin Tilly: I wish they were rabbits.

George Bailey: I wanna live again!

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

Facts about

Donna Reed's first starring role.
This was the first and last time that Frank Capra produced, financed, directed and co-wrote one of his films.
The scene on the bridge where Clarence saves George was filmed on a back lot on a day where the temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why James Stewart is visibly sweating in a few scenes.
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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