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I'm selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I'm out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.

—Marilyn Monroe
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It's a Wonderful Life [1946]
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Director:Frank Capra
Writer:Albert Hackett
Frances Goodrich
Frank Capra
Composer:Dimitri Tiomkin
Length:130 minutes
(2 hours 10 minutes)
MPAA Rating:UR
Suggested Event Use:Christmas
Sorting Category:Holiday
IMDB Rating:8.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:92%
Amazon Rating:5.0/5 stars
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Classifications:
  • Drama
  • Fantasy
  • Family
  • Comedy
  • Romance
  • Kids
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Synopsis: George Bailey spends his entire life sacrificing his own hopes and dreams for the benefit of others. But when things turn sour for himself, who can he turn to for help?


Reaction: Fun movie with classic scenes and characters. Quote a line from this one and see just how long it takes for people to recognize it.


Personal Rating: 9/10

Select Cast and Crew
Frank Capra => Director / Writer
Albert Hackett => Writer
Frances Goodrich => Writer
Dimitri Tiomkin => Composer
Al Bridge => Sheriff (uncredited)
Beulah Bondi => Ma Bailey
Charles Lane => Real Estate Salesman (as Charlie Lane)
Donna Reed => Mary Hatch Bailey
Eddie Kane => Building & Loan Depositor (uncredited)
Ellen Corby => Miss Davis (uncredited)
Ernie Adams => Ed (uncredited)
Frank Albertson => Sam Wainwright
Frank Faylen => Ernie Bishop
Frank Hagney => Potter's Bodyguard
Georgie Nokes => Little Harry Bailey
Gloria Grahame => Violet Bick
H.B. Warner => Mr. Emil Gower
Henry Travers => Clarence
J. Farrell MacDonald => Man Whose Grandfather Planted Tree
James Stewart => George Bailey
Jean Gale => Young Mary Hatch
Jeanine Ann Roose => Little Violet Bick
Karolyn Grimes => Zuzu Bailey
Lionel Barrymore => Henry F. Potter
Marian Carr => Mrs. Jane Wainwright (uncredited)
Mary Treen => Cousin Tilly
Robert J. Anderson => Little George Bailey (as Bobbie Anderson)
Ronnie Ralph => Little Sam Wainwright
Samuel S. Hinds => Peter Bailey
Sheldon Leonard => Nick
Thomas Mitchell => Uncle Billy Bailey
Todd Karns => Harry Bailey
Tom Fadden => Tollhouse Keeper (uncredited)
Virginia Patton => Ruth Dakin Bailey
Ward Bond => Officer Bert
William Edmunds => Giuseppe Martini (as Bill Edmunds)

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • Originally ended with {Ode to Joy}, not {Auld Lang Syne}.
  • Ginger Rogers was offered the role of Mary, but turned it down.
  • During the scene when Uncle Billy knocks over a trashcan, his cries "I'm all right! I'm all right" were ad-libbed by Thomas Mitchell. The actual noise was made by a clumsy stagehand knocking over equipment but it sounded so authentic to Frank Capra he left it in; he still had it augmented though with added sound effects.
  • The gym floor that opens up to reveal a swimming pool was real and was located at Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles.
  • For the scene that required Donna Reed to throw a rock into the window of the Granville House, Frank Capra hired a marksman to shoot it out for her on cue. To everyone's amazement, Donna Reed broke the window with true aim and heft without the assistance of the hired marksman!
  • Vincent Price was considered for the part of Mr. Potter.
  • The set for Bedford Falls was constructed in two months and was one of the longest sets that had ever been made for an American movie. It covered four acres of the RKO's Encino Ranch. It included 75 stores and buildings, main street, factory district and a large residential and slum area. The Main Street was 300 yards long, three whole city blocks!
  • In the original script, Clarence confronts Potter about what he did to George. It was to take place right after Potter yelled, "And Happy New Year to you, in jail!"
  • Debuted a week after [?] William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives, which explained why this movie was a disappointment at the box office and at the Academy Awards.
  • Frank Capra often said that this was his favorite of all his films.
  • In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #20 Greatest Movie of All Time.
  • James Stewart was nervous about the phone scene kiss because it was his first screen kiss since his return to Hollywood after the war. Under Frank Capra's watchful eye, Stewart filmed the scene in only one unrehearsed take, and it worked so well that part of the embrace was cut because it was too passionate to pass the censors.