Buy Tickets It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

December 20, 2017 2:00 PM

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

Almost 70 years after its release, this film is still one of the greatest movies ever made and a sure-fire holiday favorite. An absolutely magical story that helps anyone who watches it to remember what actually matters in life! George Bailey spends his entire life giving up his big dreams for the good of his town, Bedford Falls, as we see in flashback. But in the present, on Christmas Eve, he is broken and suicidal over the misplacing of an $8000 loan and the machinations of the evil millionaire, Mr. Potter. His guardian angel, Clarence, falls to Earth, literally, and shows him how his town, family, and friends would turn out if he had never been born. George meant so much to so many people; should he really throw it all away?

Director: Frank Capra

Writers: Frances Goodrich (screenplay), Albert Hackett (screenplay)

Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel BarrymoreBedfordFalls

It’s a Wonderful Life is now considered one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made. It was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 Best American Films ever made, placing number 11 on its ‘greatest movie list.’ and  number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time. Capra revealed that this was his personal favorite among the films he directed and that he screened it for his family every Christmas season.

The original story “The Greatest Gift” was written by Philip Van Doren Stern in November 1939. After being unsuccessful in getting the story published, he decided to make it into a Christmas card, and mailed 200 copies to family and friends in December 1943.The story came to the attention of RKO producer David Hempstead, who showed it to Cary Grant’s Hollywood agent, and in April 1944, RKO Pictures bought the rights to the story for $10,000, hoping to turn the story into a vehicle for Grant.RKO created three unsatisfactory scripts before shelving the planned movie, and Grant went on to make another Christmas movie staple, The Bishop’s Wife.

Despite initially performing poorly at the box office because of high production costs and stiff competition at the time of its release, the film has come to be regarded as a classic and is a staple of Christmas television in many households. Theatrically, the film’s break-even point was $6.3 million, approximately twice the production cost, a figure it never came close to achieving in its initial release.