Yesterday, I just watched a movie titled “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I thought I was late late to watch the movie in this year since it’s released in 1946. Yes 46 years older than me! Hahaha..
It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra. Thus it makes me right to watch the movie near the christmas day. It’s based on the short story “The Greatest Gift”, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1945. Generally, the movie told about an angel that helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.
The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others and 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 how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.
The story begin with the prayer arose by many Bedford Falls people, including George Bailey’s family and friends. Prayers for his well-being from friends and family reach Heaven. Clarence Odbody, Angel 2nd Class, is assigned to visit Earth to save George, thereby earning his wings. Franklin and Joseph, the head angels, review George’s life with Clarence.
George Bailey is a compassionate person, very ambitious, and has a dream to travel to over the world. Clarence the 2nd class angels shown the life of George Bailey since he was 12-year-old boy in 1919. George saved the life of his younger brother Harry Bailey, who had fallen through the ice on a frozen pond, and because of his heroic action, George lost the hearing in his left ear. Later, while working in the local drugs store owned by Mr. Gower, George was helping the owner by noticing that the druggist, Mr. Gower, despondent over his son’s death from influenza, had mistakenly filled a child’s prescription with poison. George stopped Gower and saved him from killing the child and irrevocably ruining his own life.
Time gone by, and now George Bailey is grown up and dream of travelling the world. At this time, George faced with many big problems. He already waited for a long time for his brother graduation so he can be replaced of managing his father’s business and so he can travel to the world as he wanted. But, he faced by the fact that he should to stay in Bedford Falls since the business (Building and Loan Association) that built by his father is getting the trouble and threaten to be dissolved by a rapacious slumlord, Mr. Henry F. Potter.
When Harry graduates from college, he unexpectedly brings home a wife, whose father has offered Harry an excellent job. Although Harry vows to decline the offer out of respect for his brother, George cannot deny Harry such a fine opportunity and decides to keep running the Building and Loan, knowing that this will kill his dream to travel the world.
George calls on Mary, who has recently returned home from college. After several arguments, they reveal their love for each other, and marry soon after. As they depart for their honeymoon, they witness a run on the bank that leaves the Building and Loan in danger of collapse. The couple quell the panic by using the $2,000 set aside for their honeymoon to satisfy the depositors’ immediate needs. Mary enlists the help of George’s two best friends, Bert, a policeman, and Ernie, a cab driver, to create a faux tropical setting for a substitute honeymoon. The newlywed couple embrace while Bert and Ernie sing in the background.
George never manages to leave Bedford Falls, but does start Bailey Park, an affordable housing project. With his own interests compromised, Potter tries to hire him away, offering him a $20,000 salary, along with the promise of business trips to Europe, something that George always wanted to do. George, initially tempted, turns Potter down after realizing that Potter intends to close down the Building and Loan and take full control of Bedford Falls. Along with it, he and Mary then raise four children: Pete, Janie, Tommy and Zuzu.
When World War II erupts, George is unable to enlist, because of his bad ear. Harry becomes a Navy fighter pilot and shoots down 15 enemy planes, two of which were targeting a ship full of troops in the Pacific. For his bravery, Harry is awarded the Medal of Honour.
On Christmas Eve morning, as the town prepares a hero’s welcome for Harry, Uncle Billy is on his way to Potter’s bank to deposit $8,000 of the Building and Loan’s cash funds. He greets Potter (who has the newspaper reporting Harry’s heroics) and taunts him by reading the headlines aloud. Potter angrily snatches the paper, but Billy inattentively allows the money to be snatched with it. Potter opens the paper, notices the money and keeps it, knowing that misplacement of bank money would result in bankruptcy for the Building and Loan and criminal charges for George.
Uncle Billy can’t remember what happened to the money, and with a bank examiner present, he and George frantically search the town which turns up nothing. George is devastated that he is apparently destined to face scandal and jail and takes his anger and frustrations out on his family.
A desperate George appeals to Potter for a loan. Potter sarcastically turns George down, and then swears out a warrant for his arrest for bank fraud. George, now completely depressed, gets drunk at the bar owned by his friend, Giuseppe Martini, where he silently prays for help. After crashing his car into a tree, George staggers to a bridge, intending to commit suicide, feeling he is “worth more dead than alive” because of a life insurance policy. Before he can leap, Clarence jumps in first and pretends to be drowning. After George rescues him, Clarence reveals himself to be George’s guardian angel.
George does not believe him and bitterly wishes he had never been born. Inspired by this comment, Clarence shows George what the town would have been like without him. In this alternate scenario, Bedford Falls is instead named Pottersville, and is home to sleazy nightclubs, pawn shops, and immoral people. Bailey Park is never built, and is instead an old cemetery. George notices that he can now hear in his left ear, that his lip is not bleeding, and that he does not have Zuzu’s flower petals, as she never existed in the alternate reality.
Mr. Gower was sent to prison for poisoning the child and is despised and homeless. Martini does not own the bar, and is a recluse. George’s friend Violet Bick is a strip-dancer and gets arrested as a pickpocket. Ernie is helplessly poor, with his family having forsaken him. Uncle Billy has been in an insane asylum for many years since he lost his brother and the family business. Harry is dead as a result of George not being there to save him from drowning. George’s mother is a bitter widow, and Mary is a shy, single spinster librarian.
George runs back to the bridge and begs to be allowed to live again. His prayer is answered, and he runs home joyously, where the authorities are waiting to arrest him. Mary, Uncle Billy, and a flood of townspeople arrive with more than enough donations to save George and the Building and Loan. George’s friend Sam Wainwright sends him a $25,000 line of credit by telegram.
Harry also arrives to support his brother, and toasts George as “the richest man in town”. In the pile of donated funds, George finds a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (a novel that before brought by Clarence) inscribed,
“Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends”.
“P.S. Thanks for the wings! Love, Clarence”.
A bell on the Christmas tree rings, and his daughter, Zuzu, remembers aloud that it means an angel has just earned his wings. George realizes that he truly has a wonderful life!
That is the plot of the movie. And now, I consider this movie as one of my inspirational movies. I think there are many lessons that we can take from the story. In life, sometimes we feel down, nobody cares with us, no choices in life, and many others desperate things. We might feel like why we should be born in this condition, or why is God gives this problem to us, or anything else. But, we should reconsider how wonderful life is.! From the movie we can learn that life is like a cobweb. We don’t know that thing which happened to us, might be connected and give the influence to other’s life. We don’t know that the thing we do is might be a history. We don’t know how is precious our life for others, for our family, our friends, and for people around us. We can think that the thing is disaster, but we never knew how great that thing and what is God’s planned for us. From the movie we can see that George might feel very desperate and thought that better not to be born. But, God has his own plan! And no matter how hard the problem is, God can always helps his slaves. We should not be regretful to everything happened in our life. Even how hard our life is, we should consider that God is exist, and we have many friends that still willing to help us and give us their support. We are human being, we don’t know the future, we don’t know that every problems has its solution behind. That we need just belief that LIFE IS WONDERFUL!