Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Frank Capra
1946 • 130 Minutes • 1.37:1 • United States
RKO Radio Pictures

Principal Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi
Screenplay:  Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra
Producer:  Frank Capra
Cinematography:  Dmitri Tiomkin

Awards & Honors

Academy Awards
Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role - James Stewart 
Nominated: Best Director - Frank Capra 
Nominated: Best Film Editing - William Hornbeck 
Nominated: Best Picture - Liberty Films
Nominated: Best Sound, Recording - John Aalberg

American Film Institute
#11 - AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies
#8 - AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions
#6 - AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains: Mr. Potter - Villain
#9 - AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains: George Bailey - Hero
#1 - AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers
#20 - AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)
#3 - AFI's Top 10 Fantasy Films

The Essential Films
#12 - 100 Greatest Movie Villains (Mr. Potter)
#15 - 100 Greatest Movie Heroes (George Bailey)

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? 

I don't care what anyone says, It's a Wonderful Life, after over 60 years is STILL the greatest Christmas movie ever made.  It may be cliche, but there is not one film better.  On top of that, it makes the Top 5 of The Essential Films' Top 100 Movies of All Time (Coming Soon.)  It's better than Citizen Kane.  Better than Star Wars.  Better than Gone With The Wind.  I watch it every single year, and so should every one.  By those who've never seen it and by those who've seen it dozens of times.  It's message is universal and timeless.  A man who sacrifices his entire life for every family member, friend and sometimes complete stranger just because it's the right thing to do... well one day, he gets in trouble.  He's so desperate he considers committing suicide on Christmas Eve.  A guardian angel intervenes and prevents him from doing so. When George remarks that perhaps the world would have been a better place had he not even existed, the angel decides to show him exactly what the world would be like.  The message of the film is that everyone matters and everyone touches everyone else's life in some way.  You should value and cherish not just your life, but all lives.  And at the end of the day, no man is failure who has friends.  

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