125 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of both worlds
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...
Published on 8 Dec 2009 by Alias_Vegas
136 of 168 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't go for this edition!
It's a Wonderful Life is considered to be one of the great American films of all time.
The quality of this DVD-edition, however, is appalling, and does no justice to this classic (or any film for that matter).
The video quality is simply bad; but what is worse, after the opening titles there is no sound whatsoever.
Better pay a few quid more for an edition...
Published on 12 Feb 2005 by steven134
Most Helpful First | Newest First
125 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of both worlds,
This review is from: It's a Wonderful Life [DVD]  (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.
236 of 250 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLU-RAY REVIEW,
This review is from: It's a Wonderful Life (Black & White and Colourised Versions) [Blu-ray]  (Blu-ray)
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. Some people may be a little dissapointed with this (others may not), but when I watched it I quickly forgot about it as I got wrapped up in the story!
Another thing is the lack of extras. Many consider this to be one of the greatest movies ever made so why do we have no worthwhile extras included. All that is included are the 2 versions of the film, an original trailer, trivia track and a picture comparison of the 2 versions. Even the documentary presented by Frank Capra Jr. that was on previous releases has been ommitted. There is of course the usual scene selections and animated menu as well as English subtitles. The case does have a cardboard sleeve if that is any help!
All in all a classic movie with 2 versions to satisfy different tastes. Definately worth a look!! Highly reccomended.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinematic utopia,
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. It effortless surpasses my previous favourites: Shawshank Redemption, Magnolia, Truman Show, Se7en and Memento. These films while excellent do not touch me personally in the same way as It's a Wonderful Life. They do not ignite that sense of joy and 'magic'. This is cinematic utopia, a film which breaks free from the boundaries of motion entertainment and into the realms of that little red beating muscle in your chest. And it feels nice.
Oh the DVD is nice nothing special, nice transfer, FUNNY Tom Bosley documentory and correct aspect ratio.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely brilliant and touching,
This review is from: It's A Wonderful Life [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The key to this wonderful film's greatness lies in the magnificent talents of Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart. A previous reviewer (the only negative one) referred to "saccharine bucketloads of schmaltz", and indeed, in the hands of a lesser pair the movie could have fallen into that hole. But Capra holds the movie together masterfully, eliciting emotion and playing with the heartstrings but never letting it slip into pure sentimentality. What's more, he weaves together the various sub-plots and characters with Dickensian skill, with the result a pleasure to behold, and often very funny (the bumbling duo of Bert and Ernie, anyone?)
Stewart's performance, though, is what makes the film, and must surely go down as one of the finest in cinematic history. It would have been so easy to play George Bailey as life's punchbag, a grinning sap who simply shrugged his shoulders and smiled when he was repeatedly slapped round the face. But Stewart brings a depth and complexity to his character rarely seen in film - particularly today - showing a genuine dark side of anger, frustration and helplessness at the ruining of his dreams. Yet despite this he always does the right thing, never more so than in the scene in Potter's office, where George's personal dream of a life of travel and adventure is dangled enticingly before him, but he rejects it, knowing that he could never assuage his guilty conscience at selling out his fellow townsfolk to such a monster. Such selflessness is truly heartwarming, particularly when seen winning out over great inner strife.
The scenes in Potterville are horrible, particularly when compared to what has come before them; a manifestation of the greedy, seedy worst of humanity, they are especially shocking by the standards of Capra and the time, and are a sadly prescient and damning indictment of much of what America has become in the half-century since they were filmed. But not all of it. And thanks to films like this, it never will. I've never cried during another movie since I was a kid, but I defy anyone to tell me that they weren't at least misty-eyed during the final, wonderful scene.
78 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Film,
Its hard to find anyone who hasnt seen this film, but yesterday my partner watched it for the first time and immediately fell in love with it. And that is 60 years on from when it was first released.
The film wasnt actually a big hit in 1947, it actually started to receive rave reviews much later in life when an administrative mistake meant that the copyright was lost and it was free to be aired on TV. The TV stations took in on board and it quickly grew to become a must see film every christmas.
There are many things that make this a fantastic film. The acting of James Stewart is brilliant, the casting of Donna Reed as Mary, and the supporting roles played by many of the other brilliant actors is spectaculor.
However its the story that 1 mans life and how it touches and changes other peoples lives that hold it in the nations hearts
74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical; changed my life,
This review is from: It's A Wonderful Life [DVD] (DVD)
Good films have the power to inspire, amaze and leave audiences captivated.
Legendary films have the power to change lives and the way we as humans look at the world forever.
This is an unforgettable film. All Christians (who are devout and religious) ought to watch this film.
I am not Christian, nontheless this film had not only left me crying by the end, completely moved, but ultimately like George (the lead character)it prompted and encourgaed me to understand that all our lives no matter who we are or what we do are truly worth living. Maybe like George (and I know I may be spoiling it here), we should ask ourselves how many peoples' lives have 'I 'changed or influenced for the better. Maybe like George, we would only truly begin to appreciate life and see it as a miracle after our 'guardian angels' have descended from heaven and showed us what the world would be like if we hadn't been born.
A fundamentally simple, yet phenomenal film. It's power and beauty lies in utterly convincing us that life is worth living no matter what; as well as the potential, innate kindness, compassion laying deep within all our hearts as humans, and I can think of no higher praise for any film.
I would give this film a million stars if I could; I would 'lasso the moon' and give it not just stars but the whole moon if I could. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The title really does say it all.,
By A Customer
Any one who loves Jimmy Stewart or Frank Capra really does have to see this film. It tells the story of George Bailey ( James Stewart) the local boy who wants nothing more to leave the small town of Bedford Falls but who finds himself running his father's buisness. This movie really does contain that certain something that makes it shine and give a ridiculasly warm glowing feeling after each and every watch. Perfect for all the family it is especially good when your feeling down or if it's around Christmas. The performances given by every single actor good and bad in character are out standing and they make the film what it is. A true classic of our time, don't miss it!
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best all-year-round any-age film,
It took me until I was 26 to realise just how wonderful this film, "It's A Wonderful Life", really is.
Set in the Boom and Depression years of the 20s and 30s in the US, the film centres on a character of genuine warmth and humility, the brother you always wish you had, the uncle you'd always enjoy seeing, or a friend who would be life-long, George Bailey. Although this film didn't really reach any great accolade until the 1970s, I think James Stewart deserved an Oscar for portraying the character is such a stunningly brilliant way.
The plot has twists and turns and you're left feeling a deep sympathy for George Bailey about how he never quite realises his dreams or achieve his ambitions in life. And when through a quirk of misfortune his business is about to go bankrupt and after trying to build it up over many generations, George decides the world would have been better off if he'd never lived.
The director, Frank Capra, took about five years to decide on the final script after the original, called something completely different, failed because nobody could make the script work. Well it certainly was worth waiting for as Capra not only delivers a stunning rendition of what is a simple storyline, his class in selecting characters perfect for their individual roll is so apparent from the outset. OK, the opening scene is simplistic with a couple of galaxies talking to each other, but it just about works and by the end you'll forgive the directors that.
I'll leave the rest for you to watch... suffice to say that the ending never fails to bring a tear to my eye, and I've watched it enough times to know the dialogue word for word. It's wonder is still living on in many households and (with a lot of persuasion) I managed to sit my littl'uns in front of it and tell them what a good film it is... I'm sure they'll tell me in a couple of years whether I'm a barking mad romantic or a optimistic dreamer or a down-to-earth realist that enjoys a good flick. Quite honestly, I think I may be all three.
Buy it, put it on the shelf, and stick it on when you have a quiet moment to yourself. It's simply breath-taking.
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect to watch while you wrap Christmas presents,
This review is from: It's A Wonderful Life [DVD] (DVD)
This film is an annual tradition for me - and one I really look forward to. Every year, once the tree is decorated, I watch this while I wrap presents and it always gets me in the perfect Christmas mood.
One of the best Christmas films ever! Just like seeing an old friend.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're ever in need...,
This is one of those films that everyone assumes everyone else has seen. There's no way for me to extol its virtues in a way that hasn't already been done by the other reviewers, but maybe this is a new slant: if you're ever feeling low or scared, suffering from a broken heart or insomnia, and have that only-person-on-earth feeling, this film will singularly get you through. It won't necessarily make you cry, but it will leave you feeling comforted and safe, and that feeling is priceless. Jimmy Stewart was magical, and this is him at his best.
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It's a Wonderful Life: 65th Anniversary Edition (includes free poster and artcards) [Blu-ray]  by Frank Capra (Blu-ray - 2013)