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It's a Wonderful Life [1946] [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers
  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Frank Capra, Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, Jo Swerling, Michael Wilson
  • Producers: Frank Capra
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Nov 2007
  • Run Time: 168 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (596 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004R7AL
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,518 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Frank Capra directs this heartwarming Christmas fantasy. George Bailey (James Stewart) has spent his entire life in the small town of Bedford Falls. Despite his yearning to see the world, George has always sacrificed his personal ambitions for the sake of his family and the local community, settling down to marry his childhood sweetheart, Mary (Donna Reed), and raise a family. However, when a huge amount of money goes missing from the savings and loans company he panics and finds himself preparing to commit suicide. However, he is shown the error of this idea by Clarence (Henry Travers), an angel who has been sent to Earth in order to earn his wings. To this end, Clarence shows George just how badly Bedford Falls and its residents would have turned out had he never been born.

From Amazon.co.uk

Now perhaps the most beloved American film, It's a Wonderful Life was largely forgotten for years, due to a copyright quirk. Only in the late 1970s did it find its audience through repeated TV showings. Frank Capra's masterwork deserves its status as a feel-good communal event, but it is also one of the most fascinating films in the American cinema, a multilayered work of Dickensian density. George Bailey (played superbly by James Stewart) grows up in the small town of Bedford Falls, dreaming dreams of adventure and travel, but circumstances conspire to keep him enslaved to his home turf. Frustrated by his life, and haunted by an impending scandal, George prepares to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. A heavenly messenger (Henry Travers) arrives to show him a vision: what the world would have been like if George had never been born. The sequence is a vivid depiction of the American Dream gone bad, and probably the wildest thing Capra ever shot (the director's optimistic vision may have darkened during his experiences making military films in World War II). Capra's triumph is to acknowledge the difficulties and disappointments of life, while affirming--in the teary-eyed final reel--his cherished values of friendship and individual achievement. It's a Wonderful Life was not a big hit on its initial release, and it won no Oscars (Capra and Stewart were nominated); but it continues to weave a special magic. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

246 of 260 people found the following review helpful By AV1 on 2 Nov 2009
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This film is simply one of my favourite films of all time. The movie is timeless & inspirational. I cannot reccomend it highly enough.

Now for the blu-ray review. This release includes the original black & white release of the film and a recent colourised version.

BLACK AND WHITE VERSION: Taking into account that the film is over 60 years old there is little to no grain. The picture and (mono) sound is crystal clear. The restoration of the film is fantastic and it has never looked better.

COLOUR VERSION: I'm aware that a few people dislike the colourisation of classic b/w movies, certain films should never be colourised as they work better in b/w (e.g. psycho). However I've always felt that It's a wonderful life, being a festive film and everything, would benefit from a colour print (not that there was anything wrong in the original b/w version) as long as it was done properly and not have people with yellow skin, etc. This is by far the best example of colourisation I have ever seen. If you didn't know the film you would believe that it was shot in colour (and quite recently too).

Having both versions pleases both the nostalgics and new generations. Both versions are included on a single disc.

One thing worth noting is that the film is presented in it's original aspect ratio. Instead of black lines at the top and bottom of the screen we have black bars at the sides. Normally producers stretch the film out when releasing on dvd / blu-ray but have not done so here. I believe this was intended to make the picture clearer as stretching it out to fit modern widescreen TV's may have distorted the picture and it wouldn't have looked quite as sharp as it does.
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131 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Alias_Vegas on 8 Dec 2009
Format: DVD
This review is for all those looking to buy but who are concerned about the colourization of such a brilliant and classic film. Don't be. There is nothing on these pages other than one review (thank you Pring "x"), that makes it clear that this DVD has two discs - one with the colourized version and one containing the original. Sure, debate can be had about whether we should or should not be fussing with cinematic gold but here there is no need. You get both and you can choose. If you're a purist - brilliant. If you are someone that sneers at the idea of B&W and so have avoided watching this awesome movie - brilliant...you can now, and you'll be better for it.
Simply, this film is, without doubt, 5 stars. Full stop. In B&W it's tremendous and in colour it is tremendous. Buy this movie whether you are cool about black and white movies or whether you need a bit of colour. Its great either way and this DVD gives you both. Choose and enjoy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By tangfastico on 11 May 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is my favourite film of all time and I doubt that any other movie will ever de-throne it in my affections!

Last Christmas I must have watched it about half a dozen times and have watched it countless times over the years.

Not only is James Stewart magnificent as George Bailey, but every part is played to perfection - no matter how small. And Frank Capra's direction is brilliant.

The film was based on a very short story, but the result is a film which, although very suitable for all the family, has a very profound message. In fact it has a few messages. It is uplifting and thought provoking and life affirming.

No doubt there are those who will think of it as sentimental tosh. But sentimental, it ain't!

It will make you laugh and cry and laugh and cry again. And if the ending doesn't affect you (it reduces me to a blubbing wreck without fail - even now) then you're probably a member of the plant kingdom and need watering!

In my opinion this should be required viewing for children as part of their citizenship classes in school.

The best film ever for Christmas, but it is much more important than that. This film can be watched anytime and the message is still as powerful.

If you own no other DVD ... get It's a Wonderful Life. If I had paid £100 for mine - it would still have been cheap!

Everything about this film is sheer genius! It's in a class of its own! It's a timeless masterpiece!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By South West shooter on 24 Jan 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Before watching this I had the same mis-conceptions as everyone else about films from this golden age and especially this festive flick. The film fortunately put such doubts to rest. Many will argue it is too sentimental, while partly true, such scenes are handled with the utmost care and NEVER feel corny. Being from this current generation of cynical drones, this film to me, was a revelation. Capra fills each scene with such aplomb that one cannot help but feel slightly moved. The film has the perfect cast especially the immortal Jimmy Stewart and the ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS Donna Reed (underrated, underrated). While labelled as a feel good christmas movie, such a label is disrespectful. The film encompasses a variety of values and emotions, from family, faith, hope, love, aspirations, despair to many others. Although it is a universal film and there are some lighthearted scenes, there are also long periods of darkness and depression (exploiting the talent of Stewart perfectly). If this is a happy, festive film, then it is the most depressing one I have ever seen. Every scene is excellently realised by a director at the pinacle of his craft and furnished with layers of detail and feeling. The film is also complemented by the best cast ever assembled (yep beating all others I think in my opinion). Every performance is refreshing and unlike 99% of all other golden age films (where acting is wooden and dated), the acting and dialogue is wonderfully accomplished and refreshing and has not dated in the least. Many polls do not consider this to be the greatest film ever after all it has to be something 'cool' something for the 'twenty something generation', something like the Godfather or Pulp Fiction.Read more ›
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