It’s A Wonderful Life: Still Important at 75 (and beyond!)

Lately, there is so much turmoil. You see the news and it’s easy to become depressed by recent events: pandemic, politics, sorrowful events. In the midst of all of the sadness and negativity, its easy to lose sight of culture that has sustained the American spirit. One that rises above the rest in terms of relevant films is Frank Capra’s 1946 masterpiece, It’s a Wonderful Life. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Thomas Mitchell, and Lionel Barrymore (just to name a few!), the movie was not a major hit when first released, but thanks to TV airings and a re-examination by both critics and the general public, the film has worked its way into the American culture as a Christmas staple.

This year in 2021, the film is celebrating its 75th anniversary and The Classic Movie Muse is hosting the 75th Birthday Blogathon! Be sure to check out the other entries here!

Now more than ever, I feel this film still matters to audiences. It contains timeless characters, universal life lessons, and a raw and real look at a society emerging from the shadows of a World War. All that being said, I present to you without further delay, 5 reasons why, It’s a Wonderful Life, still matters to audiences everywhere:

My Copy!

1- Reminds us to count your blessings! George Bailey is a man with many blessings: A beautiful wife, kids, a place to call home, friends, and a steady job. Even though he loses sight of what he has, he eventually comes around to realize: he has it all and then some. We all at one point or another forget that we are blessed, (myself included), but this film, (with a little help from Clarence!), has the power to make you stand back and be grateful about what you have in life. In particular, when watching this film just earlier this month, I realized I’m blessed with my family, my health, good friends, food on the table, and of course the films and music that enrich my life!

2- Real Life vs Reel Life: Every single character in It’s a Wonderful Life is probably similar to someone you know. We all know someone like George Bailey and unfortunately, we all know someone like Mr. Potter. With such distinction in each of the characters in his films, Mr. Frank Capra himself once stated they represent, “the freedom of each individual and the equal importance of each individual.

3- The Grass is Not Greener: With everything George set out to do, and then ended up not doing, it’s easy to see why he’s a tad jealous of his peer’s accomplishments. Brother Harry fought in WWII and classmate Sam Wainwright went to work in Europe, but George still had big accomplishments of his own: he saved the town during a bank run, set up Bailey Park, and kept the family business going. This film reminds us it’s incredibly easy to be jealous of others due to their flashy resumes, but everyday common actions are also something to be proud of. I certainly count running this little blog as one of my accomplishments!

4– Positive thoughts in negative times: 1946 was a new era for America and the world. The Second World War plays a part in the film’s narrative, and it was one of the first films to explore the emotions of PTSD, despite the main character not experiencing war, (on-screen, as remember Mr. Stewart DID go to war in real life). One of the main themes of the whole film is to never give up hope that things can and will one day be better, and no character embodies this trait more than Mary Bailey. Throughout everything, Mary is the anchor in George’s life and the reminder to the audience to always maintain a positive outlook on life (something we all should remember, especially in our world now!).

Recently got this fun magazine!

5- We all have a place: In the world, we all have a part to play. Even if we don’t recognize it, our life has impacted on others. We may not get the chance from Clarence to realize it like George does, but every now and again when someone says, “If it wasn’t for you”, or ,”Thanks to you”, it shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes the littlest gestures have the biggest impact!

Overall, I believe It’s a Wonderful Life will remain in the public conscious no matter what. It has out shined its haters, even though there will always be a certain faction who hate it, it always manages to come out on top. It’s been a Christmas constant for 75 years, and I am so excited to see what will happen in the next 75 years of its life! Three cheers and ring the bell, here’s to, It’s a Wonderful Life, the richest film in town! 

21 Reasons "It's A Wonderful Life" Is The Best Christmas Movie Of All Time  | Wonderful life movie, It's a wonderful life, Its a wonderful life

PS: I recently found that magazine at my local Wal-Mart! A fun anniversary magazine filled with great pictures, fun facts and great info all about our favorite Christmas film! Certainly a ,”collector’s item” for many years to come!

11 thoughts on “It’s A Wonderful Life: Still Important at 75 (and beyond!)

  1. Pingback: Welcome to It’s a Wonderful Life Blogathon: A 75th Anniversary Celebration!! – The Classic Movie Muse

  2. What a lovely post. And what you say is so true – during these troubled times classic films – especially this one – mean so much to us. No matter the chaos, we can always count on George Bailey and company to set things right.

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    1. Great post, Emily! This film is abounding with truth and no matter how many times you’ve seen it there is always something to consider within the many nuances that Capra presented.

      P.S. That magazine looks fab!

      Thank you so much for joining the celebration and for sharing these nuggets of wisdom with us!! 🙂 Merry Christmas!

      Like

  3. Walter

    Emily, what a wonderful write-up of my favorite movie of all-time. I first saw IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE(1946) on KAIT Channel 8 Jonesboro in 1971. I can’t believe it has been fifty years! This movie means a lot too me personally and I get choked up when attempting to write about it. I tried to write something over at Paddy Lee’s(Caftan Woman), but I got choked up and couldn’t go on. I’m getting that way here, now. One person can make a difference in so many lives and this really came home too me in 1995. The tears are coming.

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  4. Walter

    Emily, thank you for the head’s up on that really fun magazine THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE THE WORLD’S FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE(2021). I found it at Harp’s grocery store. Also, on the way out at the check-out I found IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: THE SEASON’S MOST BEAUTIFUL FILM(2021) a special issue put out by LIFE. Another wonderful find.

    I agree with Paddy Lee(Caftan Woman) in that you have every right to be proud of the accomplishment of your blog. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad you included that PS, because I was going to ask you, “WHERE did you get that cool magazine???” 😀

    I LOVE your point about not ignoring when someone says “If it wasn’t for you…” or “Thanks to you…” and using those times as reminders of the difference we make. ❤ I know when I say something like that to someone, I mean it – but if someone says the same to me, I sorta brush it off and don’t consider it a big deal. But you are SO right. Those moments are our little “Clarence clues” about a way we’ve made a difference in someone’s life – something that wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t around. Wow. ❤ I hope I remember to pay more attention. And I must say – if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have had that revelation! 🙂

    It’s interesting that you mentioned George dealing with PTSD. That’s something that I’d never considered either. Just because he didn’t go away to fight doesn’t mean George didn’t experience PTSD. He still lived through the trauma of war, or as the film says, “fought the battle of Bedford Falls”. It’s entirely possible that influenced his outlook later on, in that crucial point of the film.

    In my post, I cover James Stewart’s wartime service and how it influenced the filming of It’s a Wonderful Life (his first post-war picture) and the rest of his career. If you haven’t yet, I’d love for you to check it out! I think it might be the perfect compliment to your post. 🙂

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