A Wonderful Film and Timeless Classic, 6 December 2000
Author:FlickJunkie-2 from Atlanta
This film has become a Christmas tradition in my family. We watch it everyyear and never tire of it. Frank Capra is a master of creating films with amessage that reinforce strong values. This is probably his greatest film inthat regard. Both he and Stewart have publicly stated that this is theirfavorite film.
The message in this film is one of courage and sacrifice for the greatergood as George Bailey, a man with big ideas about seeing the world,continually forsakes his own desires to do what is right for the town. Thesecond message is that each life important. No matter how insignificant wefeel we are, we are all inextricably linked to each other and play animportant part in the fabric of one another's lives.
Capra's direction is brilliant. His genius is bringing human stories tolife in a ways that not only make a point, but that totally involve theaudience in the lives of the characters. He is always extremely optimisticabout the human condition. He is known for testing his characters withoverwhelming adversity to make them struggle to triumph in a way that causesthe world to change and the character to grow. For this reason his filmswere always crowd pleasers and this film was the best of all in thatregard.
Led by Capra's understanding hand, the actors all did a magnificent job. Stewart's wide-eyed enthusiasm and boyish charm, coupled with an unbendingstrength of character made him the perfect folk hero. Donna Reed was lovelyand charming and attained the right balance between being supportive andinspirational. The romantic chemistry between her and Stewart was subtleand charming. Lionel Barrymore was towering as the greedy old skinflint whowas trying to take over the town. Thomas Mitchell plays one of my favoritecharacters, as the bumbling Uncle Billy in probably his most memorablerole.
This film is number eleven on AFI's list of best films of the century. Itwas nominated for five academy awards and won none. It was swept in 1947 by`The Best Years of Our Lives', a great film that won seven Oscars that yearbut in my opinion was the lesser film. History has corrected that minorinjustice by rendering `It's a Wonderful Life' an enduring classic that isviewed and loved by generation after generation. Of course, I rated it a10/10. I can't wait to see it again this Christmas.