Small town boy George Bailey dreams of making it big and travelling the world but finds himself trapped by a sense of duty to family and community. In his darkest hour, his mind turns to suicide which leads to the appearance of his guardian angel Clarence who gives him the opportunity to see how the world would be if he had never been born.
It’s A Wonderful Life is the very definition of the word “classic”. James Stewart gives an appropriately wonderful performance as George, someone so selfless and devoted to his fellow man that you can’t help but love him. He’s not some two dimensional do-gooder however, and it is sometimes easy to forget about the dark edge to the story; after all George often feels as if he’s being held in Bedford Falls against his will. It’s still typical Frank Capra in that it’s a modern fable that shows a genuine belief in the innate goodness of man, and it does so with such infectious, innocent charm that even the most hard-bitten cynic cannot help but be swept away by its charm. It is the kind of engaging fantasy that just cannot be made without sincerity, and every year Hollywood attempts to milk its sentiment to fill its coffers and always fails for that very reason.
It’s A Wonderful Life is one of those films I never tire of seeing and is rightly considered to be one of the best films ever made.