Director: Frank Capra

1947, 129, PG

Screenwriter: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, & Frank Capra based on Philip Van Doren Stern's novel.

Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Henry Travers, Lionel Barrymore, Karolyn Grimes.


Perhaps it takes a year like 2020 to remind us that It’s A Wonderful Life is so more than a nostalgic holiday tradition. Made in the horrific aftermath of World II – where James Stewart flew combat missions – this great film still managed to celebrate community, and the inter-connectedness of us all. James Stewart plays George Bailey, a small town guy who puts his own dreams on hold to help others, only to see his sacrifice cheated by selfishness and greed. It takes an angel named Clarence to reveal what the world would be like without Bailey’s caring and commitment.

“Capra and Stewart, back home after the world nearly threw itself off a cliff knew that humanity is only as good as it is kind. Today, it bobs up to us like a message in a bottle from the past. Do not let cruelty win, it says. Reach out. Hold on. Help.” Emily VanDerWerff, New York magazine