It's a Wonderful Life - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

It's a Wonderful Life Reviews

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July 25, 2016
A delightful film - a true feel-good story. It spans a decade or so and follows the life of George Bailey (Stewart, exceptional) and Mary (Reed, beautiful) and how George is such a good guy that he always puts his life on hold to help others - sacrifices going to college so his brother can go, sacrifices his honeymoon to save his business, sacrifices an amazing job opportunity to save the community he's helped create. When something goes wrong and it looks like he'l have to go to jail, George is ready to throw it all away, until an 'angel' shows him what the town would be like if he'd never been born (definitely based on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"). Realising what he'd been taking for granted, it goes to show you should be grateful for what you have and not always worried about the grass being greener on the other side - it rarely is. Touching and earnest, the ending is fantastic and the film is fast, fun and just plain nice throughout. Sometimes, they truly don't make 'em like they used to!
July 24, 2016
One of the best films ever made. James Stewart is outstanding as usual. Great message and extremely touching.
July 22, 2016
Frank Capra beautifully crafts a holiday classic that resonates louder each year.
July 17, 2016
It's a Wonderful Movie
July 13, 2016
This is another film I never tire of. It feels to me like all of life is contained in this film.
July 10, 2016
Un clasico no solo para verlo en Navidad. Una historia conmovedora llena de valores y sueños.
½ July 6, 2016
It's A Wonderful Life is the perfect movie to watch during the holidays, being a classic that provides a lot of heart and really makes the audience think.
July 4, 2016
The best movie of all time for me
Shane Sackman
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2016
It's a Wonderful Life is not particularly complex, deep or stylistically marvelous. None of that is a criticism of the film it is, in fact, the very reason why this movie is so brilliant.

I struggled for sometime to write a review of this film. I tried to pick apart the elements and pieces of the movie to find why it worked, and it does, but could never really place why. I started by assessed some of the usual parts of a film.

Is the filmography great, fantastic or memorable? Not particularly, but it is certainly strong in a number of places. Usage of shadowing for mood changes and to emphasize the nature of the characters is tastefully done. I will add, please watch the black and white original, the color version does not do this movie justice and many elements are lost.

Acting is the next major area to investigate. The answer again, strong, and well tailored to the film, but not stand out. James Stewart did a good job, but I would not rave about it. The setting is all solid, apple pie america, but not provocative or engrossing. Mr Potter, a passable villain.

The mystery remained though. I cannot help but describe this film as anything other than a simply great movie. I think, perhaps, the simplicity is indeed the magic of this film. The message is profound, albeit sort of obvious, that what really matters is love and humanity for one another. The trick is in telling this sort of tale without resort to cheap ploys or weak story telling.

It struck me that this is a truly accessible film in every way. The film has a quality of production, but it is not too flashy. There is a whimsical childlike approach to all of it, but it is not a kids movie. The love story is innocent and light, but not cheap or hallow. The villain is unlikable, but not a focal study in evil. Its not so much that you want to believe in the film's message to embrace idealism in a grand gesture, but you instead feel that warm sense of humanity for just a little bit. Given the subject of the film, that might be all that is really possible with this theme.

Maybe it is fitting that such a universal message is so well captured in such a universally accessible movie.
June 12, 2016
A must-see at Christmas time. Makes me tear up every time. Sensational message.
June 8, 2016
Through the help of a person who seems to be God, a guardian angel learns about a man on Earth named George Bailey. This man seems to be a great everyday man helping out people in need and taking care of his family, but he is battling some inner demons himself, and he needs some encouragement and help in trying to make it through the Christmas season and some economic problems.

So this movie is supposed to be a Christmas classic, but it really does not take place entirely during Christmas. However, I do think it is worth watching during the Christmas season because some important climactic events happen during this holiday, when it is a time to be cheerful and happy. It is tough sometimes to be happy and find reasons why we are still alive and know what good we might have done in our lives, but the film's message is that there is always something good that we have done for others, and they will remember that (and it's probably true vice versa). This movie is one of the most inspiring films I have ever seen.

The acting in the film is overall very good. James Stewart plays George really well. He delivers the right amount of excitement ("my mouth's bleeding"), desperation, anger, and sometimes insanity. Lionel Barrymore plays the grumpy Mr. Harry, um, excuse me, Henry Potter. He does a good job at acting like he thinks he speaks sense, while still taking advantage of the poor people around him. In general, the entire cast, the rest of which includes Donna Reed as Mary Bailey and Henry Travers as Clarence Odbody, are very good in their roles.

The acting really helps elevate the most emotional moments in the movie. If the acting was not good, the moments probably would be less effective. Some inspirational and inspiring moments I liked the most were when George helped Mr. Gower with the pills, Mary's wedding surprise, and Clarence's gift in the end. Even the tragic scenes, though hard to watch, have power in them, like during George's meltdown.

There are a few brief issues I have with some scenes in the film. One is a continuity error where a tombstone for a character who was supposed to be nine years old says he was eight, at most. This is a potential spoiler, but my next fleeting problem with the movie is when during George's stay in the alternate world, there is a sight of an African-American piano player in the bar. This gave me the quick impression that the filmmakers may have been kind of racist, but I don't rest on this for too long. At least the Bailey's have an African-American family maid, and since the bar's manager in the alternate world is supposedly against a lot of atmosphere in his bar, this might just be another continuity error.

As a whole, though, the movie is incredibly inspiring and well-made. "It's a Wonderful Life" is one of my favorite classics that hopefully will live on into the future for many generations.
½ May 14, 2016
Plot is moving and magical
March 28, 2016
An inspiring, life changing, masterpiece. This movie will have you crying tears of joy towards the end of the film. The greatest christmas movie of all time(no competition) and one of the greatest films of all time.
March 25, 2016
It's a wonderful life holds up wonderfully and has been cemented as one of if not the best Christmas movies ever.
March 6, 2016
Still waiting for people to stop saying how good it is so I can finally watch it with an open mind.
½ February 27, 2016
Though sometimes pigeonholed as a holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life should not be dismissed. It is a heartwarming tale whose message holds truth both for individuals and for societal values.
February 4, 2016
It's a Wonderful Life is a classic that could make you rethink how your actions are affecting those around you.
January 31, 2016
Conclusion: Every man can add his values to this world
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