Director: Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Ward Bond, Frank Faylen and Gloria Grahame
When you think of Christmas, what’s the first film that jumps into your head. For me, it’s always been one: It’s A Wonderful Life (closely followed by Die Hard, but let’s not open the can of worms which is the hole ‘is Die Hard a Christmas movie’ debate…).
I still remember the feeling of wonder when I first sat down to watch Frank Capra Christmas movie which my mum, my dad and my two brothers one Christmas when I was very young.
It was a cinematic experience unlike any other. It’s A Wonderful Life is a Christmas movie, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s a Christmas movie that talks about real-life issues, which isn’t always the case.
It takes place in 1945 in a snowy Bedford Falls in the United States of America and the movie tells the story of George Bailey (brilliantly played by James Stewart) who’s contemplating taking his own life (yeah, this is the story of the film) after his business goes under.
It’s almost Christmas time, time to watch It’s A Wonderful Life
He can’t bear the thought of telling his wife and children what’s happened, and so he gets drunk and then goes to a bridge and is about to jump, but Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers), Angel 2nd class jumps in before him and George opts to save Clarence rather than take his own life.
George then wishes he’d never been born and Clarence proceeds to show him what life would have been like had George had never been born.
Already, you can tell that there are some pretty heavy themes there from just that synopsis. There’s a lot more going on in It’s A Wonderful Life than in most Christmas movies.
The film is often described as being very depressing, but I’ve always thought of it as the opposite. Yes, it would be very depressing if you stop at the bridge scene in the movie, but if you sit down and watch the whole thing, then it quickly becomes clear that It’s A Wonderful Life is actually one of the most uplifting films ever made.
It’s like a rollercoaster. You need to go down the drops in order to be able to climb back up to the very top of the rollercoaster. The film is an emotional journey, and in the end, the film’s most important message is that friends and family will always be there for you, no matter what.
And no matter how bad things get, you can always rely on your guardian angel to show you what life would be like had you never been born.
What a wonderful time to watch It’s A Wonderful Life
OK, maybe that’s not a key message of the movie, but you get the gist of it. Life is worth living, and Christmas is a time to be spent with friends and family.
I honestly can’t think of any movie that gets that message across in a way that’s not terribly saccharin. It’s A Wonderful Life isn’t cheesy. The film is dark, depressing, but ultimately incredibly rewarding.
It’s made even more special thanks to this wonderful 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray™ copy of the film. It’s been perfectly and meticulously restored and even features a new Dolby Vision transfer with the original black-and-white version, which is how the film was intended to be viewed.
Now, the film does also include the colourised version on Blu-ray™ should you wish to watch it, but I strongly recommend you watch the film in the black-and-white version which has never looked as good as it does on this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray™.
Watching this wonderful Christmas movie with your nearest and dearest
Make sure you watch It’s A Wonderful Life in the best possible environment. In a dark room, watching it on the best possible television or the highest definition projector money can buy surrounded by your loved one.
If you want to give your friends and family a real Christmas treat this year, sit them all down and watch It’s A Wonderful Life together. I promise, it will be a memory you’ll cherish for the rest of your days.
What do you make of this review of It’s A Wonderful Life? Let us know in the comments below.
It’s a Wonderful Life arrived on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray™ for the first time on the 4th of November.
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