The film is based on the short story "The Greatest Gift"by Philip Van Doren Stern written in 1939 and published in 1945. It was produced and edited by Frank Capra in 1946. It is a traditional Christmas movie in USA. It is very inspiring, and positive, it shows that everyone has his/her own calling, destiny and mission in life. The main character is George Bailey (by James Stewart), who decided to commit a suicide on Christmas Eve as he thought that his life is miserable. The film genre can be defined as fantasy comedy-drama. ‘It’s a wonderful life’ is considered one of the 100 best movies in America and would for sure have the first place in “the most inspirational films.”
The film begins with a conversation between “stars in the sky” - St. Joseph and angels who have heard prayers from people that love George. George Bailey is running father’s company, which is almost bankrupt, has beautiful wife and four great kids.
The angel's mission is to save George's life. The angel watches George's life story. He sees the situation which changed George's life. He was a little kid and they where sledding on the frozen lake. Suddenly his brother went under the ice into freezing water and George saved him. From that day he became deaf in one ear. The next period shown was when George worked. He saved his boss from being imprisoned for poisoning kids. George dreamed to to travel over the world and was going to leave his home town, go to collage and ecome an architect, build airports, houses and travel, travel, travel! But destiny had different plans. His father had an attack and died, local landlord wanted to take over their family business and George had to stay in Badford Falls with his mother. At the same time, his brother went to college and got married. George also got married with a great woman Mary who loved him very much and they had 4 amazing kids. The main hero works a lot but cannot afford much, he loves with his family, but understands that he would never achieve his goals and his dreams would never come true.
Angel and George helped each other. Angel dreamed to get wings and he helped George to understand that he is very important for other people. Actually, the film makes us think that even if it seems that our life is ordinary, we do not do anything special, it does not mean that you do not change people's lives for better. George was standing on the bridge ready to commit a suicide when he saw that a man jumped into water. It was his angel. Angel took George to alternative life, life without him. After a short trip, George understood that he literally saved lives, made people's lives better.
The end of the film is really inspiring! When George thought that there was no way to save his family company, a real Christmas wonder happened! All his friends came to his home and brought some money to save his business.
If to compare with the book, screenwriters added some details. It is not mentioned in the short story that exactly angel helped George to see the life if he was never born, in book it was just a stranger who did that. Some details if George's life, shown in first part of the film are taken from the book. Nevertheless, the name if the town was never mentioned in The Greatest Gift as well as many details that make film more interesting and alive, like dancing with Mary, the face-offs with landlord Potter and loans.
Both film and the short story deliver a message how important is individual's life and how it influences destinies of other people. Everyone has influence on society, history, life in general. At the end of the movie, George opens a book presented by Clarence, his angel, who wrote there "No man is a failure who has friends". I was really caught into this film, it is very inspiring, kind, positive and gives hope and strong fath that each person is very important and lives to carry some mission!