Synopsis: we follow a young James Stewart, as George Bailey, living in a small American town. Desperate to kick the dust of his heels and make an impression on the world he can’t wait to grow up and leave home. Life though, never goes the way you want it to and instead of fulfilling his dreams of travel and big cities with bright lights he stays put and lives what he considers to be a mediocre life. In a particularly low moment he wishes he had never been born. And thus he finds himself in a version of his life where he was never born.
What can I say? I have to be honest up front and tell you… I bloody love this film. I find it almost impossible to think that when released, and in the years that followed, this was a flop. In box office terms it was an unmitigated disaster. And to add insult to injury the critics hated it too.
What the hell?! What a difference 50 years makes. By all accounts when the copyright ran out they started showing it on late night tv and people watched it. And they loved it. Obviously! I boldly state here and now that this is one of my favourite films of all time. It is a tad twee at times but it’s also very dark, deeply likeable, engaging and thought-provoking.
Final thoughts: this is an all time classic and everyone should see it. Watch the whole thing here
Score: an almost perfect 9.9/10
Running time: 2hrs 10 mins
Director: Frank Capra
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed