Welcome to our ninth article in our Nerds Gets Cheery series! During the month of December, we are recommending some of our favorite holiday films to get you in the spirit of the season. Today, we travel to Bedford Falls and meet Mr. George Bailey, a man convinced he has nothing to offer to the world. But over the course of one magical night, he will discover that his life has meant more to many than he will ever know.
It’s A Wonderful Life is a classic movie, widely regarded as one of the best films of all time. Even though its setting in in the past, the story is timeless, and James Stewart as George Bailey is one my favorite performances of all time.
The film opens with Clarence, a guardian angel whose newest mission is to save George, who is contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve after a string of bad luck. He believes he is worth more to his family dead than alive, and in order to show Clarence how to save George, Clarence is shown flashbacks of George’s life. As we watch the positive effect George has had on his wife Mary, his children, and indeed his entire town, we see just how awful it would be to lose him. It is now up to Clarence to earn his wings and convince George that his life is worth living by showing him a world in which he never existed.
There are so many beautiful moments in It’s A Wonderful Life, from George’s dance with Mary that ends in the pool to George’s neighbors heartwarming efforts to help him, to the lovely final scene with George’s family and friends singing “Auld Lang Syne”.
My personal favorite scene comes when George is trying to impress Mary and they share a sweet moment:
George: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.Mary: I’ll take it. Then what?George: Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve, see … and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair … am I talking too much?
Man on Porch: Why don’t you kiss her instead of talking her to death?
George Bailey: You want me to kiss her, huh?
Man on Porch: Ah, youth is wasted on the wrong people.
But the reason this movie is one of my favorites is its message that every life is important, and that if you have faith you can never be truly lost. As Clarence says to George:
“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
So if you’re looking for an uplifting and heartwarming film this holiday season, look no further than It’s A Wonderful Life!