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Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life
Short plot summary

James Stewart plays George Bailey - possibly the last honest man left on the planet. Cranky bad guy Mr Potter (Lionel Barrymore) plays the Darth Vader equivalent, but this time in a wheelchair and bowler hat.

George is about to lose the family Savings and Loan after Uncle Billy mislays $8000, and the bank inspector calls on Christmas Eve...

George is desperate and goes to beg for money from grumpy Mr Potter, who scowls in his face. Depressed, George goes to a nearby bridge intending to commit suicide.

Please tell me the ending

George is about to throw himself off the bridge when someone else jumps in (an angel - second class - Clarence Oddbody (played by Henry Travers)). George jumps in to rescue him and, when they all dry off, is shown what the world would have been like had he not been in it.

This puts his seemingly uneventful, but friend filled, life into perspective.

When George gets home he finds his friends have had a collection which will easily cover his liabilities.... There's not a dry eye in the house when an old friend in Europe telegraphs a message to give him $20,000 if he needs it... boo hoo...

What our panel of critics thought

"Couldn't he have just put the $8000 on his credit card?"

"A nice, but stupid, guy who is feeling sorry for himself. I got half way and gave up."

"Damn hell fire. I bought the colorized version of this movie on VHS. In the dark scenes it goes back to black and white, I want my money back."

"A feel good movie which has been copied many times. It may even have been bettered for all I know. There is nothing better than that last ten minutes to give you hope for the human spirit."

Dr Bravisimo-Encore II Movie Review

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without this shiny bauble of a movie. It really does work wonders if you are feeling down.

Tis a nice movie, however a bit too over painful at times. In places it all seems a bit of an uphill struggle. There is no doubt it is worth the wait at the end, but many a time I have started watching this movie and wanted to throw myself off the chair, it is so hopelessly sad... Then I put the last fifteen minutes in a loop and all is well with the world until I eventually have to open my front door again...

Quotable quotes (real)

"I wish I'd never been born."


Other comments

The first two thirds are depressingly claustrophobic. However, the pay off at the end IS worth the wait. There are fewer sadder and yet more satisfying last fifteen minutes of a movie in Hollywood history.

Date of review

November 7 , 2002

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