It’s A Wonderful Life (1945)

Singin’ In The Rain is the best musical, Casablanca is the greatest love story, Vertigo is the best thriller, Bringing Up Baby is the best screwball comedy, Double Indemnity and Out of the Past are the tops in film noir, Chinatown is the best modern film noir, Tokyo Story is the finest non-English-language movie, Annie Hall is the best romantic comedy, and The Godfather trilogy is the best gangster story (and the best movie overall). But, shot for shot, It’s A Wonderful Life has all the elements of the best directed movie. (Its no fluke that Frank Capra won three consecutive Best Director Oscars in the 1930s.)

Most people think of it as a Christmas movie, but most of the action occurs before or after December. The Christmas sequences are among the most dramatic and memorable, but the rest of the movie is just as terrific.

It’s full of indelible moments like Donna Reed staring ruefully out the back window of a taxi during a rain storm and 1929 bank run, watching her new husband, Jimmy Stewart, run off to handle the financial crisis instead of catching their honeymoon train to New York City. Or Stewart’s look of conflicted feelings when he meets his younger brother at the train and gets the news that the newlywed brother won’t be managing the family business so that Stewart can finally go to college.

★★★★★

One Response to “It’s A Wonderful Life (1945)”

  1. […] focus on the classics–at least, the better. We’ve all seen It’s A Wonderful Life (1945). If you haven’t, you must. It’s not just a Christmas movie, but a great film any […]

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