It's a Wonderful Life - one of the most popular and heartwarming films ever made by director Frank Capra, who claimed the film his own personal favorite – as well as James Stewart's favorite of all his feature films.
The film is actually a dark, bittersweet post-war tale of a savings-and-loan manager who struggles against a greedy banker and his own self-doubting nature in a small town. Earnest do-gooder George Bailey (James Stewart) recognizes his life as wonderful and truly rich, even in its humdrum and bleak nature, only after suffering many hardships, mishaps and fateful trials (including compromised dreams of youth to leave the town and seek fame and fortune, other sacrifices, dismay, losses and the threat of financial ruin). He is given encouragement by a whimsical, endearing, trainee-angel named Clarence (Henry Travers).
One of the most popular American films of all-time and a perennial holiday favorite, It's A Wonderful Life was not a huge hit with either critics or audiences when it debuted in December 1946 but was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor (Jimmy Stewart), and Best Director (Frank Capra). Ranked #11 on the American Film Institute's list of Greatest Films, It's a Wonderful Life is an indisputable movie classic.
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