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IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
UK: Park Circus
Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame, H B Warner, Frank Albertson, Todd Karns, Samuel S Hinds, Mary Treen, Virginia Patton
Director: Frank Capra
UK: 129 mins
UK Certificate: U contains mild violence
UK: Release Date: 14 December 2007 (Re-release)
In this timeless film, we encounter George Bailey (James Stewart), a man who has spent his entire life working tirelessly for the benefit of the people of Bedford Falls. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity for fear of letting evil local businessman Mr Henry F Potter (Lionel Barrymore) take over the entire town.
All that stands in Mr Potter's way is George's modest building and loan company, which was founded by his generous father. But on Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) loses the business's $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. Just when things couldn't get worse for George, Potter finds the misplaced money and hides it from his uncle.
The bank examiner discovers the shortage later that night, and George comes to the shocking realization that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company that his father lovingly built will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. George is at his lowest ebb, and in a desperate move he contemplates suicide. George can't face letting down his wife, their young children, and others he loves so decides they would be better off without him.
But just when George is on the brink, the prayers of his loved ones are answered and result in a guardian angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) coming to earth to help George in his hour of need. Clarence, to qualify as a full fledged angel, must help George to earn his wings and so the companions set upon a journey to show George just how much of a positive influence he has had on the loved ones in his life.
Clarence shows George what things would have been like if he had never been born. In a nightmarish vision in which the Potter-controlled town is sunk in sex and sin and those George loves are either dead, are in a state of ruin, or are desperately unhappy George begins to see the contribution he has made to the lives of others. He realizes that he has touched so many people in his hometown in such a positive way and that his life has truly been a wonderful one.