This is director Frank Capra's classic bittersweet comedy/drama about George Bailey (James Stewart), the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank in the typical American small town of Bedford Falls. As the film opens, it's Christmas Eve, 1946, and George, who has long considered himself a failure, faces financial ruin and arrest and is seriously contemplating suicide. High above Bedford Falls, two celestial voices discuss Bailey's dilemma and decide to send down eternally bumbling angel Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers), who after 200 years has yet to earn his wings, to help George out. But first, Clarence is given a crash course on George's life, and the multitude of selfless acts he has performed: rescuing his younger brother from drowning, losing the hearing in his left ear in the process; enduring a beating rather than allow a grieving druggist (H.B. Warner) to deliver poison by mistake to an ailing child; foregoing college and a long-planned trip to Europe to keep the Bailey Building and Loan from letting its Depression-era customers down; and, most important, preventing town despot Potter (Lionel Barrymore) from taking over Bedford Mills and reducing its inhabitants to penury. Along the way, George has married his childhood sweetheart Mary (Donna Reed), who has stuck by him through thick and thin. But even the love of Mary and his children are insufficient when George, faced with an $8000 shortage in his books, becomes a likely candidate for prison thanks to the vengeful Potter. Bitterly, George declares that he wishes that he had never been born, and Clarence, hoping to teach George a lesson, shows him how different life would have been had he in fact never been born. After a nightmarish odyssey through a George Bailey-less Bedford Falls (now a glorified slum called Potterville), wherein none of his friends or family recognize him, George is made to realize how many lives he has touched, and helped, through his existence; and, just as Clarence had planned, George awakens to the fact that, despite all its deprivations, he has truly had a wonderful life. Capra's first production through his newly-formed Liberty Films, It's a Wonderful Life lost money in its original run, when it was percieved as a fairly downbeat view of small-town life. Only after it lapsed into the public domain in 1973 and became a Christmastime TV perennial did it don the mantle of a holiday classic.~Hal Erickson
The making of "It's A Wonderful Life": a documentary featurette hosted by Tom Bosley
This particular package is a 2-disc version: disc 1 is the original back & white version, with special features, and disc 2 is the colorized version.
I purchased this specifically for the colorized version, as I love the vivid colors while also maintaining the "classic" feel.
While this package does not include a digital copy, it is eligible for disc to digital, making it a great overall deal.
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
A wonderful classic Christmas film!
Owned for less than 1 week when reviewed.
This is one of Frank Capra's best films! This is also the first film that Jimmy Stewart was in after his service in the Army Air Corps during WW2.
There story of a man( George Bailey) who has a few setbacks in his life while he sees the other people in his life have what seems like better fortune. He comes to the point where he believes that he would be better off dead. In an attempt to commit suicide he meets his guardian angel Clarence( Henry Travers) who gives George the opportunity to see what life would have been like if he hadn't been born at all. George finds out that his life was much better than he thought. The people whose lives he touched had much better lives with him than without him. His own brother who became a pilot in WW2 saved the lives of many others, and would not have were it not for George saving him from drowning as a child.
The idea that we touch so many other lives is a strong positive message for us all. The film is supported by a strong cast including Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry travers, Beulah Bondi, Ward Bond, Gloria Graham.
It's worth while to watch this film even when it's not the holidays.A Must See!
Purchased the 4K Blu Ray so I’d have my own copy of the movie my family watches every Christmas on television. The 4K version is definitely cleaner than the broadcast TV version. However, it is still in a 4-3 format (not 16-9).
I won’t offer much of a plot review here other than to say the story involves a decent man who has made sacrifices his entire life for others. When he is in total desperation, an angel shows him what the world would have been like had he never been born. Incredible performances by pretty much every actor in the movie. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are fantastic. Stewart’s performance is one for the ages.
Skip the 4K/UHD edition of "It's a Wonderful Life". You'll be really frustrated with your player and panel, thinking something's wrong with your equipment, when that is not the case. It's the disc and transfer that's problematic to some, yet not to others. In a full restoration of "It's a Wonderful Life", the best chances of seeing a much improved picture from the older disc of 10 years back is to buy the latest BLU-RAY, believe it or not. Although most 4K/UHD packaging include a BLU-RAY, this one does not. Yes, it comes with a BLU-RAY, but its the colorized version. Paramount has split it all up and sells the black and white version of "It's a Wonderful Life" either as a separate 4K/UHD disc or as a separate BLU-RAY. Now, be careful, if it's the newer BLU-RAY that you are seeking and be certain that you are reading on the front and back that you have the 2019 version and not the 2010. Your best clue is to read the back of the packaging and look for the Bonus Materials that include the topic about its restoration from the past year. That's the current and correct BLU-RAY, as the decade old version has similar art work for its cover. Again, save yourself the wear and tear of spending your money twice. Unless you are into experimenting, skip the 4K/UHD version and buy the black and white BLU-RAY, which is packaged separately.
If a movie ever represents Christmas, this one is it... While it was not a popular movie when released, it has been a staple on television during Christmas for many years when the copyright was somehow not renewed, allowing it's free broadcast over the years.
George Bailey is a banker whose life is threatened when his uncle loses the deposits of the bank which would force the foreclosure of many home mortgages. A novice angel is assigned to help George out in his time of crisis.
A very well made film with James Stewart, I always make this one of my must-see films for the holidays every year, my whole family enjoys this movie as well. The whole story brings about the point of life in such a complex world that we live in. I am used to seeing this in the B&W version, but this BD edition comes with a colorized disc version too, which "livens" up the viewing pleasure of this great film.
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
4K Version - worth the upgrade
Owned for 1 week when reviewed.
For those of us who love this movie, and watch it every xmas, this 4K version is absolutely worth the upgrade from the Blu Ray. The picture and sound quality are noticeably superior, and the package also includes the colorized version on Blu Ray (just as the 2-3 year old Blu Ray release did). A 5 Star Release for a 5 Star Movie!