December 10, 2021
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is broadcasted every Christmas season in the same vein as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The movie encapsulates how important people are to their own communities and how a box office failure can amass a fanbase that calls this movie a classic for the holiday season.
The movie centers around the life of George Bailey and the town of Bedford, all leading up to the night of Christmas Eve of 1948 where he meets an angel that has not yet gotten his wings. While the movie centers on George, there’s a subplot with the fat cat Mr. Potter who does everything in his power to gain control of the Bedford Falls community. From George’s childhood to adulthood, the viewer gets a direct perspective of life in the 1920s to the late 40s, from the Spanish Flu to World War II. George Bailey is a man for the people of Bedford Falls, although, what would happen to Bedford Falls if George was out of the picture? As shown in the movie, this leads to Mr. Potter gaining control. Without George fighting for his community, the people have miserable lives.
Who would you be without those closest to you? Or another way to think about it: how would the lives of those around you be different without your influence? This recurring theme is brought up as the movie tries to answer those questions. This connects to everyday life: without the influence of the people around them, the viewer wouldn't be the person that they are today. The same can be said vice versa. No one can truly understand the impact they can have on another person’s life.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” Theatrical poster, depicting George Bailey picking up Mary Hatch.
Although, how can such a wonderful movie get obliterated in the box office, but then become so cult-like that it’s still traditionally broadcasted to this day? Well, that’s due in part to a loophole that allowed the film to get picked up by any American television studio between 1974 to 1993, explained in an article by the BBC, as American television studios “were always on the lookout for cheap content” (Pappas). While the practice of every channel broadcasting “It’s a Wonderful Life” has fallen out of style, it’s still a well-regarded film to this day.
On December 4th, I was able to sit down and catch the last 30 minutes of the NBC broadcast of the film. It was honestly the first time I’ve watched the movie, aside from hearing and knowing trivia about the film.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart as George Bailey, Donna Reed as Mary Hatch, Carol Coombs as Janie, Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu, Jimmy Hawkins as Tommy, and Larry Simms as Pete.
For this wonderful season of giving, I wanted to bring up a classic movie that most people would know of, though haven’t sat down to watch. The ideas and values shown in the movie directly connect to the current winter season, especially as winter is one of the most stressful seasons with the lack of sunlight and the rush of the holidays. We should take a step back and reflect on the people who’ve helped us become who we are, as well as remember how important we are to those around us. Let “It’s a Wonderful Life” be on your list of holiday movies to watch this season! It is a movie that no one can miss out on; it’s a movie anyone can resonate with because it continues to reflect our current world.