It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film. The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Oddbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched, and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be if he had never been born.
- The film is considered one of the most loved films in American cinema, and has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season. It has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made.
- Capra insisted on recording the sound live during the film’s snow-filled scenes so a new, less disruptive snow made from water, soap and a fire-fighting chemical called Foamite was invented and pumped through a wind machine.
- It’s a Wonderful Life was actually shot in the summer of 1946—in the midst of a heat wave, no less.
- It all began with a Christmas card. After years of unsuccessfully trying to shop his short story, The Greatest Gift, to publishers, Philip Van Doren Stern decided to give the gift of words to his closest friends for the holidays when he printed up 200 copies of the story and sent them out as a 21-page Christmas card. David Hempstead, a producer at RKO Pictures, ended up getting a hold of it, and purchased the movie rights for $10,000.
- It’s a Wonderful Life Quiz (answers below)
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” What is the name of the stumbling, bumbling, but very lovable angel who helps George realize what a wonderful life he has?
- What is the name of the city where this story takes place?
- “I wish I had a million dollars!” What two words follows this George Bailey quote twice in the film?
- How much does Violet spend on licorice?
- Which president’s picture hangs in George Bailey’s living room after the money was lost?
- What is the name of the book that Clarence is reading in the beginning of the movie?
- What does George pile high on Mary’s sundae even though she says she doesn’t like it?
- Who lost the $8,000?
- Where is Mary working when George tries to find her after Clarance changes everything?
- What does it mean when a bell rings?
- Clarence Oddbody
- Bedford Falls
- Hot dog!
- 2 cents. “Two cents worth of shoelaces?”
- Abraham Lincoln
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- Uncle Billy lost it at the bank. The envelope containing the money got wrapped up in a newspaper which Uncle Billy left with Mr. Potter.
- The library
- An angel gets his wings!