Enjoy unlimited streaming on Prime Video
Thousands of other titles available to watch instantly.
8.6/10
338,907
782 user 224 critic

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Trailer
1:02 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director:

Frank Capra

Writers:

Frances Goodrich (screenplay), Albert Hackett (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
515 ( 113)
Top Rated Movies #24 | Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

The Lion King (1994)
Animation | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A Lion cub crown prince is tricked by a treacherous uncle into thinking he caused his father's death and flees into exile in despair, only to learn in adulthood his identity and his responsibilities.

Directors: Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones
Modern Times (1936)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman
Spirited Away (2001)
Animation | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Directors: Hayao Miyazaki, Kirk Wise
Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride.

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright
Adventure | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
Toy Story (1995)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A cowboy doll is profoundly threatened and jealous when a new spaceman figure supplants him as top toy in a boy's room.

Director: John Lasseter
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
WALL·E (2008)
Animation | Adventure | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

In the distant future, a small waste-collecting robot inadvertently embarks on a space journey that will ultimately decide the fate of mankind.

Director: Andrew Stanton
Stars: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin
Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home world.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote
Up (2009)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.

Directors: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
Stars: Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, John Ratzenberger
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In order to power the city, monsters have to scare children so that they scream. However, the children are toxic to the monsters, and after a child gets through, 2 monsters realize things may not be what they think.

Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs
Finding Nemo (2003)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.

Directors: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
Stars: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Stewart ... George Bailey
Donna Reed ... Mary Hatch
Lionel Barrymore ... Mr. Potter
Thomas Mitchell ... Uncle Billy
Henry Travers ... Clarence
Beulah Bondi ... Mrs. Bailey
Frank Faylen ... Ernie
Ward Bond ... Bert
Gloria Grahame ... Violet
H.B. Warner ... Mr. Gower
Frank Albertson ... Sam Wainwright
Todd Karns ... Harry Bailey
Samuel S. Hinds ... Pa Bailey
Mary Treen ... Cousin Tilly
Virginia Patton ... Ruth Dakin
Edit

Storyline

George Bailey has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity in order to prevent rich skinflint Mr. Potter from taking over the entire town. All that prevents him from doing so is George's modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Billy loses the business's $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from Billy. When the bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George, with the promise of earning his ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Frank Capra's..."It's a Wonderful Life". See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, smoking and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

7 January 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,180,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,270,000, 31 December 1947
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Liberty Films (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

When Mary and George are walking down the street after the dance, she asks him at 0:24:46 (2007 DVD), "Well, why don't you say it?" The next shot George is heard saying, "I don't know. Maybe I will say it," but his mouth is not moving at all. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mr. Emil Gower: [voice-over] I owe everything to George Bailey. Help him, dear Father.
Giuseppe Martini: [voice-over] Joseph, Jesus and Mary. Help my friend, Mr. Bailey.
Ma Bailey: [voice-over] Help my son, George, tonight.
Bert: [voice-over] He never thinks about himself, God, that's why he's in trouble.
Ernie Bishop: [voice-over] George is a good guy. Give him a break, God.
Mary: [voice-over] I love him, dear Lord. Watch over him tonight.
Janie Bailey: [voice-over] Please, God, something's the matter with Daddy.
Zuzu Bailey: [voice-over] Please bring Daddy back.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A ringing facsimile of the Liberty Bell (without the crack) forms the backdrop for the studio logo, which is Liberty Films, and the opening credits are in a scrapbook with Christmas decorations. The bell reappears before the end credits, and the end credits have a Christmas card picture as a backdrop. See more »

Alternate Versions

Beware of the many edited 16mm/"Public Domain" prints still floating around somewhere on home video. See more »

Connections

Referenced in House M.D.: It's a Wonderful Lie (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

O Sole Mio
(uncredited)
Written by Eduardo Di Capua
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Atop my Top Ten
9 December 1998 | by dweckSee all my reviews

I am a film lover from 'way back, having even served a stint as a newspaper movie critic. Entries in my personal list of Greatest Films of All Time include "Fantasia," "To Kill A Mockingbird," "Casablanca," "Singin' in the Rain," "North by Northwest," and "The Sound of Music. But sitting atop all of them, as undisputed champ, is "It's a Wonderful Life."

I have seen it hundreds of times (dating back to, oh, when I was a teenager I suppose, and our local PBS station ran it as part of a pledge drive). I drive my wife and family to distraction when we watch it together because I quote all the dialogue along with the actors.

I cry every time--and this is after viewing upon viewing--when Harry Bailey toasts his big brother George as "...the richest man in town." The emotions in that scene are so true and pure that I can't help but be affected by them.

The performances are unparalleled. Stewart is brilliant as a small-town dreamer who loses and finds his way. His superlative acting abilities cause us to identify strongly with him (how many of us have lamented--even to ourselves--that no one seems to notice the sacrifices we've made?), which is, I think, why the movie bears up under so many repeat viewings. Reed is just lovely here, the epitome of sunny girlfriend, caring lover, devoted wife, dedicated mother.

Capra's talent as a screenwriter are all over this script. He knows just how hard to tug the heartstrings without becoming overblown or phony. And his technical wizardry is evident too. I've never seen--before or since--more natural-looking onscreen snow.

Watching IAWL has become a tonic, a pick-me-up when I really need one--whether it's the Christmas season or not. Its message--that each one of us is important and has *something* to contribute to the greater good--is one about which the world could use some reminding from time to time.


329 of 357 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 782 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed