Aw yes, the holiday season is here and nothing makes the holidays more memorable than tradition. So why not start a new one with the family and watch a movie? The timeless classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, would be the perfect fit.
Released originally in 1946, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, was based on a short story written by Phillip Van Doren Stern, in 1939, called, “The Greatest Gift.” While it initially opened to mixed reviews it eventually garnered high marks in many cinematic accolades including five Academy Award nominations and a forever place in Top 100 Movie lists everywhere. The leads James Stewart and Donna Reed front an amazing cast in what’s truly become the quintessential holiday movie.
Stewart plays, George Bailey, as an optimistic, blue-collared dreamer. He had aspirations to go travel and see the world but he kept coming up short of those dreams to help out his family. Reed is Mary Hatch, who had a long time crush on George Bailey, eventually gets married to him and they together start a family. Henry F. Potter, played by Lionel Barrymore, plays the grinch in this story as a heartless tyrant who holds huge financial power over the fictional city of Bedford Falls. Down on his luck and struggling, George Bailey was ready to end his life so his family can use his life insurance. Except, his guardian angel Clarence Odbody, played by Henry Travers, has other plans for George and shows him what life would be like had he never existed.
The emotional, heartwarming feeling this movie gives you is perfect in providing the holiday spirit. Jimmy Stewart’s aw-shucks persona makes him loveable and completely endearing. And it almost goes without saying, but Donna Reed is a timeless beauty and provides a charismatic and touching performance. Even though it’s a bit dated in much of the dialogue and some plot factors, this time honored flick is a must-see for the holidays and provides a good history lesson for many of us.
So sit down already, grab some hot chocolate, cozy up in a blanket and remind yourself that you have a wonderful life definitely worth living!
Kemp’s Grade: A+. Classic, a must have for anybody’s library
If you enjoyed this movie already and are looking for similar movies, here are some suggestions: The Family Man, Click and Death of a Salesman.
For every segment of Retro Classics, I’ll examine and suggest movies tailored to specific times of year. Be sure to check up every month for a new one!