It's a Wonderful Life
It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story "The Greatest Gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern.
The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and the contributions he has made to his community.
Despite initially being considered a box office flop due to high
production costs and stiff competition at the time of its release, the
film has come to be regarded as a classic and a staple of Christmas
television around the world. Theatrically, the film's break-even point
was actually $6.3 million, approximately twice the production cost, a
figure it never came close to achieving in its initial release. An
appraisal in 2006 reported: "Although it was not the complete box-office
failure that today everyone believes … it was initially a major
disappointment and confirmed, at least to the studios, that Capra was no
longer capable of turning out the populist features that made his films
the must-see, money-making events they once were."
It's a Wonderful Life was nominated for five Oscars without winning any, but the film has since been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, and placed number one on their list of the most inspirational American films of all time.
Christmas Eve finds George Bailey (James Stewart) deeply troubled,
and repeated prayers for his wellbeing from numerous friends and family
members reach Heaven. Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers),
Angel Second Class, is assigned to save him and earn his wings.
Franklin and Joseph, the head angels, review George's life with
Clarence. At the age of 12, George (Bobby Anderson)
saved the life of his younger brother Harry (George Nokes) who had
fallen through the ice on a pond, though George lost the hearing in one
ear. Later, as an errand boy in a pharmacy, George saved his grief-stricken boss, druggist Mr. Gower (H.B. Warner), from mistakenly filling a child's prescription with poison.
George's dream has been to see the world. Selfless to a fault, he
repeatedly sacrifices his dreams for the well-being of others until
Harry (now played by Todd Karns) graduates from high school and can replace him at the Bailey Building and Loan Association, vital to the people of Bedford Falls. On Harry's graduation night in 1928, George discusses his future with Mary Hatch (Donna Reed), who has had a crush on him since she was a little girl. Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) and Harry break the news to George his father has had a stroke, which proves fatal. Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), a heartless slumlord and majority shareholder in the Building and Loan, tries to persuade the board of directors
to stop providing home loans for the working poor. George persuades
them to reject Potter's proposal, but they agree only on the condition
that George himself run the Building and Loan. He gives his college
money to his brother with the understanding that when Harry returns he
will take over the Building and Loan.
When Harry graduates from college, he unexpectedly brings home a
wife, whose father has offered Harry an excellent job in his company.
While Harry is still aware of his prior commitment and is more than
willing to take over the Building and Loan, George cannot deny his
brother such a fine opportunity. Once more, George has to set aside his
After their wedding, as George and Mary leave town for their honeymoon, they witness a run on the bank
that leaves the Building and Loan in danger of collapse. Potter offers
George's clients "50 cents on the dollar," but George and Mary quell the
panic by using the $2,000 earmarked for their honeymoon to satisfy the
depositors' needs until confidence in the Building and Loan is restored.
Mary enlists the help of Bert the Policeman and Ernie the Cab Driver to
create a tropical honeymoon for George in Bedford Falls.
Years pass and George and Mary raise a growing family. George starts up Bailey Park, an affordable housing project. They and the other residents no longer have to pay Potter's high rents. When World War II erupts, George is unable to enlist, due to his bad ear. Harry becomes a fighter pilot and is awarded the Medal of Honor for shooting down 15 enemy aircraft, including one that would have slammed into a U.S. transport ship full of troops.
On Christmas Eve, 1946,
Uncle Billy is on his way to deposit $8,000 for the Building and Loan
when he runs into Mr. Potter. He proudly shows Potter the front-page
article about Harry receiving the Medal of Honor. Potter grabs the
newspaper angrily and later discovers the money inside; he keeps it.
When Uncle Billy goes to deposit the money, he finally realizes it is
missing. Frantic searching fails to turn it up. In desperation, George
appeals to Potter for a loan to save the company, but Potter turns him
down and swears out a warrant for his arrest for bank fraud.
Henry Travers as Clarence Odbody after "saving" George
George wanders home, stressed and broken down, and inadvertently
takes his frustrations out on his family; verbally abusing his wife and
children before storming off. George gets drunk to escape his woes.
Driving wildly in a snowstorm, he crashes his car into a tree near a
river. George staggers to a bridge that spans the river, intending to
commit suicide, and feeling he is "worth more dead than alive" because
of a $15,000 life insurance policy. Before George can leap in, however,
Clarence jumps in first and pretends to be drowning. After George
rescues him, he reveals himself to be George's guardian angel.
George responds skeptically to this revelation and bitterly wishes he
had never been born, so Clarence shows him what the town would have
been like if he had never existed. In this alternate reality, Bedford Falls is called Pottersville and is home to nightclubs and pawn shops; Bailey Park was never built; Mr. Gower was convicted of poisoning the child and spent many years in prison; Martini (William Edmunds) no longer owns the bar; Violet (Gloria Grahame)
is a dancer who gets arrested as a pickpocket; Uncle Billy has been in
an insane asylum for years; Harry is dead, since George was not around
to save him, and the soldiers Harry would have saved also died; Mrs.
Bailey is a hardened widow running a boarding house, and Mary is a spinster librarian.
George becomes upset and flees to the bridge and begs God to let him
live again. His prayer is answered. A flood of people arrive at the
Bailey home with money to save George and the Building and Loan.
George's friend Sam Wainwright sends him a line of credit for $25,000
The men who were going to arrest him tear up the warrant and throw that
into the basket as well. And then George's brother, Harry the war hero,
shows up and proposes a toast, "To my big brother George, the richest
man in town." George Bailey with his friends and family all remember
that it's a wonderful life. As the group sings "Auld Lang Syne", George finds a gift from Clarence in the basket, a heavenly edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
with an inscription from Clarence that reads, "Dear George, Remember no
man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings, Love,
Clarence." A bell on the tree rings and his daughter Zuzu remembers that
every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. George says "Atta
The contention that James Stewart is often referred to as Capra's
only choice to play George Bailey is disputed by film historian Stephen
Cox, who indicates that "Henry Fonda was in the running."
Although it was stated that Jean Arthur, Ann Dvorak and Ginger Rogers were all considered for the role of Mary before Donna Reed
won the part, this list is also disputed by Cox as he indicates that
Jean Arthur was first offered the part but had to turn it down for a
prior commitment on Broadway before Capra turned to Olivia de Havilland, Martha Scott
and Ann Dvorak. Ginger Rogers was offered the female lead, but turned
it down because she considered it "too bland". In Chapter 26 of her
autobiography Ginger: My Story, she questioned the decline of the role by asking her readers: "Foolish, you say?"
A long list of actors were considered for the role of Potter (originally named Herbert Potter): Edward Arnold, Charles Bickford, Edgar Buchanan, Louis Calhern, Victor Jory, Raymond Massey, Vincent Price and even Thomas Mitchell. However, Lionel Barrymore, who eventually won the role, was a famous Ebenezer Scrooge in radio dramatizations of A Christmas Carol at the time.
Jimmy the Raven (Uncle Billy's pet) appeared in You Can't Take it With You and each subsequent Capra film.
The original story "The Greatest Gift" was written by Philip Van Doren Stern
in November 1939. After being unsuccessful in getting the story
published, he decided to make it into a Christmas card, and mailed 200
copies to family and friends in December 1943.[N 2]The story came to the attention of RKO producer David Hempstead, who showed it to Cary Grant's Hollywood agent and, in April 1944, RKO Pictures bought the rights to the story for $10,000 hoping to turn the story into a vehicle for Grant.
RKO created three unsatisfactory scripts before shelving the planned
movie with Grant going on to make another Christmas picture, The Bishop's Wife.[N 3]
At the suggestion of RKO studio chief Charles Koerner, Frank Capra
read "The Greatest Gift" and immediately saw its potential. RKO, anxious
to unload the project, sold the rights in 1945 to Capra's production
company, Liberty Films, which had a nine-film distribution agreement with RKO, for $10,000, and threw in the three scripts for free. Capra, along with writers Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett with Jo Swerling, Michael Wilson, and Dorothy Parker brought in to "polish" the script—turned the story and what was worth using from the three scripts into a screenplay that Capra would rename It's a Wonderful Life. The script underwent many revisions throughout pre-production and during filming. Final screenplay credit went to Goodrich, Hackett and Capra, with "additional scenes" by Jo Swerling.
Seneca Falls, New York
claims that when Frank Capra visited their town in 1945, he was
inspired to model Bedford Falls after it. The town has an annual It's a Wonderful Life festival in December. In mid-2009, The Hotel Clarence opened in Seneca Falls, named for George Bailey's guardian angel.
It's a Wonderful Life was shot at the RKO studio in Culver City, California, and the RKO Ranch in Encino, where "Bedford Falls" was a set covering 4 acres (16,000 m2),
assembled from three separate parts with a main street stretching
300 yards (three city blocks), with 75 stores and buildings, a
tree-lined center parkway and 20 full grown oak trees. For months prior
to principal photography, the mammoth set was populated by pigeons, cats
and dogs in order to give the "town" a lived-in feel.
Due to the requirement to film in an "alternate universe" setting as
well as during different seasons, the set was extremely adaptable. RKO
created "chemical snow" for the film in order to avoid the need for
dubbed dialogue when actors walked across the earlier type of movie
snow, made up of crushed cornflakes.
Filming started on April 15, 1946 and ended on July 27, 1946, exactly
on deadline for the 90-day principal photography schedule.
The RKO ranch in Encino, the filming location of Bedford Falls, was
razed in the mid-1950s. There are only two surviving locations from the
film. The first is the swimming pool that was unveiled during the famous
dance scene where George courts Mary. It is located in the gymnasium at
Beverly Hills High School and is still in operation as of 2008. The second is the "Martini home", at 4587 Viro Road in La Cañada Flintridge, California.
During filming, in the scene where Uncle Billy gets drunk at Harry
and Ruth's welcome home/newlyweds' party, George points him in the right
direction home. As the camera focuses on George, smiling at his uncle
staggering away, a crash is heard in the distance and Uncle Billy yells,
"I'm all right! I'm all right!" Equipment on the set had actually been
accidentally knocked over — Capra left in Thomas Mitchell's impromptu ad lib.
Capra filmed an alternate ending that was subsequently cut wherein
Uncle Billy remembers misplacing the money in the newspaper when he
unties a string, and Potter receives a "comeuppance".
A number of alternative endings were considered with Capra's first script having Bailey falling to his knees reciting The Lord's Prayer
(the script also called for an opening scene with the townspeople in
prayer). Recognizing that an overly religious tone did not have the
emotional impact of the family and friends rushing to rescue George
Bailey, the closing scenes were rewritten.
It's a Wonderful Life premiered at the Globe Theatre in New York on December 20, 1946
to mixed reviews. While Capra considered the contemporary critical
reviews to be either universally negative or at best dismissive, Time magazine said, "It's a Wonderful Life is a pretty wonderful movie. It has only one formidable rival (Goldwyn's The Best Years of Our Lives)
as Hollywood's best picture of the year. Director Capra's
inventiveness, humor and affection for human beings keep it glowing with
life and excitement." Bosley Crowther, writing for The New York Times,
complimented some of the actors, including Stewart and Reed, but
concluded that "the weakness of this picture, from this reviewer's point
of view, is the sentimentality of it—its illusory concept of life. Mr.
Capra's nice people are charming, his small town is a quite beguiling
place and his pattern for solving problems is most optimistic and
facile. But somehow they all resemble theatrical attitudes rather than
The film, which went into general release on January 7, 1947, placed 26th in box office revenues for 1947 (out of more than 400 features released), one place ahead of another Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street.
In 1990, It's a Wonderful Life was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
In 2002, Britain's Channel 4 ranked It's a Wonderful Life
as the seventh greatest film ever made in its poll "The 100 Greatest
Films" and in 2006, the film reached #37 in the same channel's "100
Greatest Family Films". It currently ranks 29th on the IMDb's top 250.
In June 2008, AFI revealed its 10 Top 10, the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres, after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. It's a Wonderful Life was acknowledged as the third-best film in the fantasy genre.
Somewhat more iconoclastic views of the film are occasionally expressed. In 1947, film critic Manny Farber
wrote, "To make his points [Capra] always takes an easy, simple-minded
path that doesn't give much credit to the intelligence of the audience",
and adds that there are only a "few unsentimental moments here and
there."[N 4] Wendell Jamieson, in a 2008 New York Times
article which was otherwise positive in its analysis of the film,
posited that the film "is a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing
up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the
grave before his time, of living among bitter, small-minded people. It
is a story of being trapped, of compromising, of watching others move
ahead and away, of becoming so filled with rage that you verbally abuse
your children, their teacher and your oppressively perfect wife."
The film's elevation to the status of a much-beloved classic came
decades after its initial release, when it became a television staple in
the 1970s and 1980s Christmas seasons. This came as a welcome surprise
to Frank Capra and others involved with it. "It's the damnedest thing I've ever seen," Capra told the Wall Street Journal
in 1984. "The film has a life of its own now and I can look at it like I
had nothing to do with it. I'm like a parent whose kid grows up to be president.
I'm proud… but it's the kid who did the work. I didn't even think of it
as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the
In a 1946 interview, Capra described the film's theme as "the
individual's belief in himself," and that he made it to "combat a modern
trend toward atheism."
 Awards and honors
Prior to the Los Angeles release of It's a Wonderful Life, Liberty Films
mounted an extensive promotional campaign which included a daily
advertisement highlighting one of the film's players, along with
comments from reviewers. Jimmy Starr wrote, "If I were an Oscar, I'd elope with It's a Wonderful Life lock, stock and barrel on the night of the Academy Awards". The New York Daily Times
also wrote an editorial in which it declared the film and James
Stewart's performance, to be worthy of Academy Award consideration.
It's a Wonderful Life received five Academy Award nominations:
The Best Years of Our Lives, a gritty and topical drama about servicemen attempting to return to their pre-World War II lives, won most of the awards that year, including four of the five for which It's a Wonderful Life was nominated. (The award for "Best Sound Recording" was won by The Jolson Story.) The Best Years of Our Lives
was also an outstanding commercial success, ultimately becoming the
highest grossing film of the decade, in contrast to the more modest box
office returns of It's a Wonderful Life.
Capra won the "Best Motion Picture Director" award from the Golden Globes, and a "CEC Award" from the Cinema Writers Circle in Spain, for Mejor Película Extranjera (Best Foreign Film). Jimmy Hawkins won a "Former Child Star Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Young Artist Awards in 1994; the award recognized his role as Tommy Bailey as igniting his career which lasted until the mid-1960s.
American Film Institute recognition
 Ownership and copyright issues
 Ancillary rights
Liberty Films was purchased by Paramount Pictures,
and remained a subsidiary until 1951. In 1955, M. & A. Alexander
purchased the movie. This included key rights to the original television
syndication, the original nitrate film elements, the music score, and the film rights to the story on which the film is based, "The Greatest Gift".[N 5]National Telefilm Associates (NTA) took over the rights to the film soon thereafter.
However, a clerical error at NTA prevented the copyright from being renewed properly in 1974.
Despite the lapsed copyright, television stations that aired it still
were required to pay royalties. Although the film's images had entered
the public domain, the film's story was still protected by virtue of it
being a derivative work of the published story "The Greatest Gift", whose copyright was properly renewed by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1971.[N 6]
The film became a perennial holiday favorite in the 1980s, possibly due
to its repeated showings each holiday season on hundreds of local
television stations. It was mentioned during the deliberations on the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998.
In 1993, Republic Pictures, which was the successor to NTA, relied on the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Stewart v. Abend (which involved another Stewart film, Rear Window)
to enforce its claim to the copyright. While the film's copyright had
not been renewed, Republic still owned the original film elements, the
music score, and the film rights to "The Greatest Gift"; thus the
plaintiffs were able to argue its status as a derivative work of a work
still under copyright. It's a Wonderful Life is no longer shown as often on television as it was before enforcement of that derivative copyright. NBC
is currently licensed to show the film on U.S. network television, and
traditionally shows it twice during the holidays, with one showing on
Christmas Eve. Paramount (via parent company Viacom's 1998 acquisition of Republic's then-parent, Spelling Entertainment) once again has ancillary rights for the first time since 1955, while NBC's broadcast rights are licensed from Trifecta Entertainment & Media (which holds television distribution of the Republic/Paramount theatrical library, including the back catalog of DreamWorks, a studio which Paramount owned from 2006–2008).
Due to all the above actions, this is one of the few RKO films not controlled by Turner Entertainment/Warner Bros.
in the USA. It is also one of two Capra films which Paramount currently
owns despite not having originally released it - the other is Broadway Bill (originally from Columbia, remade by Paramount as Riding High in 1950).
Director Frank Capra met with Wilson Markle about having Colorization, Inc. colorize It's a Wonderful Life based on an enthusiastic response to the colorization of Topper from actor Cary Grant. The company's art director Brian Holmes prepared 10 minutes of colorized footage from It's a Wonderful Life
for Capra to view, which resulted in Capra signing a contract with
Colorization, Inc., and his "enthusiastic agree[ment] to pay half the
$260,000 cost of colorizing the movie and to share any profits" and
giving "preliminary approval to making similar color versions of two of
his other black and white films, Meet John Doe (1941) and Lady for a Day (1933)".
However, the film was believed to be in the public domain at the time,
and as a result Markle and Holmes responded by returning Capra's initial
investment, eliminating his financial participation, and refusing
outright to allow the director to exercise artistic control over the
colorization of his films, leading Capra to join in the campaign against
Three colorized versions have been produced. The first was released by Hal Roach Studios in 1986. The second was authorized and produced by the film's permanent owner, Republic Pictures, in 1989, with better results. Both Capra and Stewart took a critical stand on the colorized editions. A third colorized version was produced by Legend Films, and released on DVD in 2007, with the approval of Capra's estate.
 Home video market
 Technological first: CD-ROM version
In 1993, due in part to the confusion of the ownership and copyright issues, Kinesoft Development, with the support of Republic Pictures, released It's a Wonderful Life as the one of the first commercial feature-length films on CD-ROM for the Windows PC (Windows 3.1).
Predating commercial DVDs by several years, it included such features
as the ability to follow along with the complete shooting script as the
film was playing. [N 7]
Given the state of video playback on the PC at the time of its release, It's a Wonderful Life
for Windows represented another first, as the longest running video on a
computer. Prior to its release, Windows could only play back approx.
32,000 frames of video, or about 35 minutes at 15 frames per second.
Working with Microsoft, Kinesoft was able to enhance the video features
of Windows to allow for the complete playback of the entire film — all
of this on a PC with a 486SX processor and only 8 MB of RAM.
 VHS versions
Among the companies that released the film on home video before
Republic Pictures stepped in were Meda Video (which would later become Media Home Entertainment), Kartes Video Communications (under its Video Film Classics label), GoodTimes Home Video, and Video Treasures (now Anchor Bay Entertainment). After Republic, Artisan Entertainment (under license from Republic) took over home video rights in the mid-1990s. Artisan was later sold to Lions Gate Entertainment,
which continued to hold US home video rights until late 2005 when they
reverted to Paramount, who also owns video rights throughout Region 4
(Latin America and Australia), and in France. Video rights in the rest
of the world are held by different companies; for example, the UK rights are with Universal Studios.
 DVD / Blu-ray versions
The movie has seen multiple DVD releases since the availability of
the DVD format. In the fall of 2001, Republic issued the movie twice,
once in August, and again with different packaging in September of that
same year. On October 31, 2006, Paramount released a newly-restored
"60th Anniversary Edition". On November 13, 2007, Paramount released a
two-disc "special edition" DVD of the film that contained both the
original theatrical black-and-white version, and a new, third colorized
version, produced by Legend Films
using the latest colorization technology. On November 3, 2009,
Paramount released a DVD version with a "Collector's Edition Ornament",
and a Blu-ray edition.
 Adaptations in other media
The film was twice adapted for radio in 1947, first on Lux Radio Theater (March 10) and then on The Screen Guild Theater (December 29), then again on the Screen Guild Theater
broadcast of March 15, 1951. James Stewart and Donna Reed reprised
their roles for all three radio productions. Stewart also starred in the
May 8, 1949 radio adaptation presented on the Screen Director's Playhouse.
The film was remade as the 1977 television movie It Happened One Christmas starring Marlo Thomas and Wayne Rogers, with Thomas as the protagonist.
A musical stage adaptation of the film, titled A Wonderful Life, was written by Sheldon Harnick and Joe Raposo. This version was first performed at the University of Michigan
in 1986, but a planned professional production was stalled by legal
wrangling with the estate of Philip Van Doren Stern. It was eventually
performed in Washington, DC by Arena Stage
in 1991, and had revivals in the 21st century, including a staged
concert version in New York City in 2005 and several productions by
The film was also adapted into a play in two acts by James W.
Rodgers. It was first performed on December 15, 1993 at Paul Laurence
Dunbar High School. The play opens with George Bailey contemplating
suicide and then goes back through major moments in his life. Many of
the scenes from the movie are only alluded to or mentioned in the play
rather than actually dramatized. For example, in the opening scene
Clarence just mentions George having saved his brother Harry after the
latter had fallen through the ice.
It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, a stage adaptation
presented as a 1940s radio show, was adapted by Joe Landry and has been
produced around the United States since 1997. The script is published by
Philip Grecian's 2006 radio play based on the film It's a Wonderful Life is a faithful adaptation, now in its third incarnation, that has been performed numerous times by local theatres in Canada.
 Popular culture
It's a Wonderful Life has been popularized in modern cultural
references in many of the mainstream media. Due to the proliferation of
these references, only a few examples will suffice to illustrate the
- The Sesame Street Muppets characters Bert and Ernie share their names with the cop and the taxicab driver in the film. Longtime Muppets writer and puppeteer Jerry Juhl said he believed there was no connection and that this was a coincidence. The Capra-esque episode Elmo Saves Christmas
(1996), which featured a clip from the film, pokes fun at the
persistent reports of a connection, having them look at each other in
disbelief as George calls Bert and Ernie by name.
- In a direct reference to the film, The Simpsons episode The PTA Disbands places a caricature of James Stewart's character in a local bank, who paraphrases the infamous bank run scene, which promptly starts a brawl.
- In the BBC series "Red Dwarf", this is Dave Lister's #1 film. Also reflected in the spin-off books from the series
- In "a Bit of Fry and Laurie" there is a spoof sketch of the film, in
which a horrible "Rupert Murdochesque" character is shown how nice the
world would be if he'd never been born. He decides to stay in the
alternative world, so his guardian angel kills him.
- Stephen Jay Gould's book Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History
takes its main title from the film. The book proposes that the
evolution of life, rewound and replayed multiple times, would yield a
different world each time, just as life without George Bailey is
Pottersville, not Bedford Falls.
In 1990, a made-for-television movie called Clarence starred Robert Carradine in a new tale of the helpful angel.
Film historian and reviewer James Berardinelli elaborated on the parallels between this film and the classic Dickens tale A Christmas Carol.
In both stories, a man revisits his life and potential death (or
non-existence) with the help of supernatural agents, in the end
experiencing a joyous epiphany and a renewed view of his life.
 See also
- ^ The original budget had been set at $3 million.
- ^ It was not a true "Christmas card" but rather, a 24-page pamphlet.
- ^ The project went through many hands including Howard Hughes who reportedly was interested.
- ^ "Mugging Main Street" was reprinted in Farber on Film, Library of America, 2009, pp. 307–309.
Capra's re-editing of the original score by Dimitri Tiomkin was
restored to the Tiomkin version by Willard Carroll in the 1980s and
released on a CD in 1988. 
- ^ The United States copyright of "The Greatest Gift" will expire in 2038, 95 years after its publication.
- ^ Voyager Company's Hard Day's Night, released in May 1993, slightly predated the Kinesoft product. It was originally advertised as an Audio CD.
- ^ Cox 2003, p. 27.
- ^ Eliot 2006, p. 206.
- ^ Erickson, Hal. "Plot Synopsis." allmovie.com, 28 December 2009.
- ^ a b "Blockbuster MediaRoom: 'It's a Wonderful Life'." Blockbuster Inc. Retrieved: June 2, 2007.
- ^ a b c Cox 2003, p. 6.
- ^ a b Cox 2003, p. 24.
- ^ a b c Ervin, Kathleen A. Some Kind of Wonderful. Failure Magazine (n.d.). Retrieved: June 2, 2007.
- ^ Cox 2003, pp. 29–31.
- ^ "Tempest in Hollywood." New York Times April 23, 1944, p. X3.
- ^ a b c Weems, Eric. Frank Capra online. Retrieved: June 2, 2007.
- ^ Cox 2003, p. 26.
- ^ Capra 1971, p. 376. Note: Capra claims the script was purchased for $50,000.00.
- ^ Cox 2003, p. 23.
- ^ Goodrich et al. 1986, pp. 135, 200.
- ^ McDonald, Joan Barone. "Seneca Falls: It’s a ‘Wonderful’ town." The Buffalo News, November 16, 2008. Retrieved: December 29, 2008.
- ^ Cox 2003, pp. 23–24.
- ^ Wayne, Gary. "Hollywood on Location: the '40s." seeing-stars.com. Retrieved: August 25, 2009.
- ^ Cahill 2006, p. 105.
- ^ Dirks. Tim. "Review." filmsite.org. Retrieved: August 25, 2009.
- ^ Jones, Robert L. "Review." objectivistcenter.org. Retrieved: August 25, 2009.
- ^ Capra 1971, pp. 372–373.
- ^ Time, New Picture, December 23, 1946 Retrieved: June 8, 2007.
- ^ Crowther, Bosley. "'It's a Wonderful Life', Screen in Review." The New York Times, December 23, 1946. Retrieved: June 8, 2007.
- ^ Willian 2006, p. 4.
- ^ American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures (online database).
- ^ "AFI Crowns Top 10 Films in 10 Classic Genres." American Film Institute via ComingSoon.net, June 17, 2008. Retrieved: June 18, 2008.
- ^ "Top 10 Fantasy." American Film Institute. Retrieved: June 18, 2008.
- ^ Manny Farber. "Mugging Main Street". The New Republic, January 6, 1947.
- ^ Jamieson, Wendell. "Wonderful? Sorry, George, It's a Pitiful, Dreadful Life." The New York Times, December 18, 2008. Retrieved: December 20, 2008.
- ^ a b Cox 2003, p. 11.
- ^ Wiley and Bona 1987, p. 163.
- ^ Finler 1988, p. 177.
- ^ Cox 2003, pp. 12–14.
- ^ U.S. Copyright Office, Catalog of Copyright Entries, New Series, Renewals sections in the 1973–1974 volumes.
- ^ "Renewal Registrations, p. 1614." Catalog of Copyright Entries, January–June 1971, U.S. Copyright Office. Retrieved: November 8, 2010.
- ^ The
Copyright Term Extension Act of 1995: Hearing Before the Committee on
the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first
session, on S. 483 ... September 20, 1995. By United States.
Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary, United States. Published
by U.S. G.P.O., 1997, pp. 16, 73, 126. ISBN 978-0160543517.
- ^ "Notes for 'It's a Wonderful Life'." TCM Movie Database, 2010. Retrieved: November 8, 2010.
- ^ Alsdorf, Matt. Slate.com: "Why Wonderful Life Comes but Once a Year." slate.com, December 21, 1999. Retrieved: September 10, 2009.
- ^ a b c Edgerton, Gary R. "The Germans Wore Gray, You Wore Blue." Journal of Popular Film and Television, Winter 2000. Retrieved: October 5, 2007.
- ^ "It's a Wonderful Life" Chicago Sun-Times, January 1, 1999. Retrieved: February 24, 2008.
- ^ Burr, Ty. "ABC'S OF CD: Delivering the Future." ew.com, Entertainment Weekly, 2009. Retrieved: May 29, 2009.
- ^ "Peter Sills: Developer BIO." mobygames.com, 2009. Retrieved: May 29, 2009.
- ^ Rodgers 1994, p. i.
- ^ Jang, Howard. "Introducing... 'It's a Wonderful Life'." artsclub.com, October 23, 2009. Retrieved: December 20, 2009.
- ^ a b Carroll, Jon. "A Few Tiny Errors." The San Francisco Chronicle January 3, 2000.
- ^ "Clarence." IMDB. Retrieved: December 22, 2009.
- ^ Berardinelli, James. "Review." reelviews.net. Retrieved: November 8, 2010.
- Barker, Martin and Thomas Austin. "Films, Audiences and Analyses". From Antz To Titanic: Reinventing Film Analysis. London: Pluto Press, 2000, pp. 15–29. ISBN 0-74531-584-4.
- Cahill, Marie. It's a Wonderful Life. East Bridgewater, Massachusetts: World Publications Group, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57215-459-9.
- Capra, Frank. Frank Capra, The Name Above the Title: An Autobiography. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1971. ISBN 0-30680-771-8.
- Cox, Stephen. It's a Wonderful Life: A Memory Book. Nashville, Tennessee: Cumberland House, 2003. ISBN 1-58182-337-1.
- Eliot, Mark. Jimmy Stewart: A Biography. New York: Random House, 2006. ISBN 1-4000-5221-1.
- Finler, Joel W. The Hollywood Story: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the American Movie Business But Didn't Know Where to Look. London: Pyramid Books, 1988. ISBN 1-855-10009-6.
- Goodrich, Francis, Albert Hackett and Frank Capra. It's a Wonderful Life: The Complete Script in its Original Form. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986. ISBN 0-312-43911-3.
- Jones, Ken D., Arthur F. McClure and Alfred E. Twomey. The Films of James Stewart. New York: Castle Books, 1970.
- McBride, Joseph. Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success. New York: Touchstone Books, 1992. ISBN 0-671-79788-3.
- Michael, Paul, ed. The Great Movie Book: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference Guide to the Best-loved Films of the Sound Era. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1980. ISBN 0-13-363663-1.
- Rodgers, James W. It's A Wonderful Life: A Play in Two Acts. Woodstock, Illinois: Dramatic Publishing, 1994. ISBN 0-87129-432-X.
- Walters, James. "Reclaiming the Real: It's a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)". Alternative Worlds in Hollywood Cinema. Bristol UK: Intellect Ltd, 2008. pp. 115–134. ISBN 978-1841502021.
- Wiley, Mason and Damien Bona. Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards. New York: Ballantine Books, 1987. ISBN 0-345-34453-7.
- Willian, Michael. The Essential It's a Wonderful Life: A Scene-by-Scene Guide to the Classic Film, 2nd ed. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2006. ISBN 978-1556526367.
 External links
- It's a Wonderful Life at the Internet Movie Database
- It's a Wonderful Life at Allmovie
- It's a Wonderful Life on Lux Radio Theater (Audio link)
- Stewart, Jimmy. "Jimmy Stewart Remembers 'It's a Wonderful Life' (1977), MyMerryChristmas.com
- Zuzu.net (Official site of Zuzu actress Karolyn Grimes)
- The Making of "It's A Wonderful Life" Frank Capra Online
- Dimitri Tiomkin and It's A Wonderful Life
- Cox, Stephen. "On a Wing and a Prayer", Los Angeles Times, December 23, 2006, p. E-1.
- "Sentimental Hogwash?: On Capra's It's a Wonderful Life", Humanitas, Vol. XVIII, No.s 1&2, 2005