It's a Wonderful Life (1946)



Critic Consensus: The holiday classic to define all holiday classics, It's a Wonderful Life is one of a handful of films worth an annual viewing.

Movie Info

This is director Frank Capra's classic bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey (James Stewart), the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank in the typical American small town of Bedford Falls. As the film opens, it's Christmas Eve, 1946, and George, who has long considered himself a failure, faces financial ruin and arrest and is seriously contemplating suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey's dilemma and decide to send down eternally bumbling angel … More

Rating: PG (for thematic elements, smoking and some violence)
Genre: Drama, Kids & Family, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Jo Swerling, Frank Capra, Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 19, 1995
Liberty Films


as George Bailey

as Mary Hatch

as Mr. Potter

as Uncle Billy

as Clarence

as Mrs. Bailey

as Janie Bailey

as Violet Bick

as Mr. Gower

as Sam Wainwright

as Pa Bailey

as Harry Bailey

as Cousin Millie

as Mrs. Patch

as Ruth Dakin

as Cousin Eustace

as Mr. Martini

as Mrs. Martini

as Little Sam

as Little Mary

as Little Violet

as Little Marty Hatch

as Little Harry Bailey

as Potter's Bodyguard

as Joe at Luggage Shop

as Real Estate Salesman

as George as a Child

as Janie Bailey

as Zuzu Bailey

as Tommy Bailey

as Pete Bailey

as Marty Hatch

as High School Principa...

as Dr. Campbell

as Bank Examiner

as Bank Teller

as Mr. Welch

as Tollhouse keeper

as Mrs. Wainwright

as Bill poster

as Miss Davis

as Potter's secretary

as Man with Sheriff

as Sheriff

as Bank Teller

as Mickey
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for It's a Wonderful Life

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (11)

It's a Wonderful Life is a wonderful title for a motion picture about which practically everyone who sees it will agree that it's wonderful entertainment.

Full Review… | December 7, 2014
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

The most well-loved of all Christmas movies.

Full Review… | December 4, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It's a Wonderful Life is about hunger. It's about greed. It's about the many ways a good man is stymied. Finally, it's about George Bailey, whose decency prevents him even from killing himself.

Full Review… | December 4, 2012
Top Critic

Capra is an old-time movie craftsman, the master of every trick in the bag, and in many ways he is more at home with the medium than any other Hollywood director. But all of his details give the impression of contrived effect.

Full Review… | August 31, 2012
The New Republic
Top Critic

It's a Wonderful Life is a pretty wonderful movie.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The epiphany of movie sentiment and a transcendent experience.

Full Review… | June 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for It's a Wonderful Life

Maybe considered a timeless classic, however I wish time had moved a little faster during the movie. For me a forgettable movie that drags in places. Huge fan of Stewart, not a huge fan of this movie!

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


Joyous, timeless classic! I can't say I've seen many movies from the 1940's, let alone any Christmas ones, but this was a very pleasant viewing experience, in several senses of the word. James Stewart is fantastic and brings a lot of vigor to his performance, but above all it's got a story that can be applied still today. It isn't confined to the values of the era, as it's broadly and universally human in its message. Basic themes like love, loss, greed and empathy, provides it with a wide spectrum of emotions that we can all relate to in some way (which is pretty amazing, considering it's over half a century old). A riveting, jolly and beautifully narrated holiday tale, that will add some extra lustre to your Christmas.

Mike S

Super Reviewer


Capra finds the most perfect balance between bittersweet and optimistic in this timeless holiday tale, to remind us that life is always worth it, even in the worst of circumstances. A wonderful story that resonates for a very long time after it is over.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

It's a Wonderful Life Quotes

– Submitted by Alyssa B (16 months ago)
– Submitted by Alyssa B (16 months ago)
– Submitted by Sarah K (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Aaron S (2 years ago)

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