It's a Wonderful Life Reviews

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Manny Farber
The New Republic
Top Critic
August 31, 2012

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.

MaryAnn Johanson
Flick Filosopher
January 1, 2000

It isn't a terrible film by any means, and it's easy to see why people revere it.

Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Jurgen Fauth
December 26, 2004

| Original Score: 2/5
Ken Hanke
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
May 12, 2003

It suits a lot of people, but I find it hypocritical and false.

| Original Score: 2/5
Rich Cohen
Top Critic
December 4, 2012

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.

James Agee
The Nation
August 31, 2012

I wasn't able to get reasonably straight about it for quite a while. I still think it has a good deal of charm and quality, enough natural talent involved in it to make ten pictures ten times as good, and terrific vitality or, rather, vigor.

Randy White
Common Sense Media
January 2, 2011

This classic delivers warmth all year long.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Marc Lee
Daily Telegraph
December 24, 2013

The inspirational, thoroughly festive ending is guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes.

Will Harris
November 17, 2007

It ain't just hype; it really is a true holiday classic.

Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
Philip Martin
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
December 12, 2008

If you can separate - or rescue - It's a Wonderful Life from its niche as a Christmas classic, you might discover a film that swings wildly from noirlike starkness to saccharine bathos.

Full Review | Original Score: 87/100
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

What is remarkable about It's a Wonderful Life is how well it holds up over the years; it's one of those ageless movies, like Casablanca or The Third Man, that improves with age.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
James Berardinelli
Top Critic
January 1, 2000

Combine the characters, the story, the message, and the acting, and it's easy to see why It's a Wonderful Life isn't just a holiday favorite, but a great movie by almost any standards.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Nell Minow
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
August 20, 2003

Resistance is futile.

| Original Score: 5/5
Scott Nash
Three Movie Buffs
September 30, 2005

As God as my witness, I get teary eyed every time Harry Bailey offers that toast to his "big brother, George. The richest man in town."

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star
December 23, 2005

Not only as one of the best Christmas movies, but THE Christmas movie.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Fernando F. Croce
Slant Magazine
November 16, 2007

Without overlooking its lapses into populist bathos, it's necessary to rescue It's a Wonderful Life from its spot at the centerpiece of untouchable American "classics."

Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
David Stratton
At the Movies (Australia)
December 3, 2013

I love it, corny as it may be, because it reminds every one of us that we all make contributions to the people around us, contributions we ourselves don't even realise.

Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
December 17, 2005

By now everyone knows Frank Capra's holiday classic and the tears it so effortlessly conjures up year after year -- but it's easy to forget how truly vicious the film is, and how brilliantly James Stewart rises to the challenge.

Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Bert Briller
Top Critic
June 26, 2007

The April-air wholesomeness and humanism of this natural bring back vividly the reminder that, essentially, the screen best offers unselfconscious, forthright entertainment.

Fran Hortop
November 27, 2007

You'd have to possess a very hard heart not to find something to love in this story.

Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Ray Pride
January 1, 2000

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