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It’s a Wonderful Life (Liberty Films, 1946)

This classic Christmas drama was produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on Philip Van Doren Stern’s 1939 short story “The Greatest Gift.”

George Bailey (James Stewart) has given up his dreams in order to be a help to others. Deciding on suicide on Christmas Eve, his guardian angel (Henry Travers) intervenes.

During its box office run, It’s a Wonderful Life was considered a failure. In the late 70s, It’s a Wonderful Life began airing around Christmastime which elevated its status to become a beloved holiday favorite. In a 1984 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Capra stated “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.”

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