American Film Institute 100 Film List -
It's a Wonderful Life

AFI Rank: #11
Year Released: 1946
Director: Frank Capra
Actors: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

This holiday classic is seen by millions of people each December, and for good reason. Its message, similar to A Christmas Carol, is that a good look at your past deeds will help to put your current world into context. In Scrooge's case, it was his bad past that helps him to create a better future. In this Capra tale, it is the realization that the main character has done a lot of good in the past - and that it really has made a big difference in peoples' lives.

Lisa Says:
I won't give away a lot of plot details here. If you're like most people, you've probably seen this several times over the years and appreciated the nuanced layers of meaning offered by the tale. If you haven't seen this yet, then most definitely rent or buy it for a viewing, without "knowing what's coming".

You can say the movie is a bit sappy - but there are times we can all appreciate a bit of sappiness in order to help a message "go down" more smoothly. We've all had times in our life that we feel frustrated, that maybe we aren't making a difference. This movie helps to show that the feelings are common ones - and that usually they are not warranted at all. The movie also helps to demonstrate that good deeds are always remembered, and that people really appreciate even the little ones.

A good movie for watching with family and talking about.

Male vs Female Actor
I believe the only strong female role in this was his wife - were there others?

Bechdel Test
I'll have to watch this again, but the only female I remember was the wife.

Buy It's a Wonderful Life from

AFI Top 100 Film Listing
Male vs Female Actors in the AFI Top 100
The Bechdel Test in the AFI Top 100