It's a Wonderful Life facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
It's a Wonderful Life
Its A Wonderful Life Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Frank Capra
Produced by Frank Capra
Screenplay by Frances Goodrich
Albert Hackett
Jo Swerling
Frank Capra
Starring James Stewart
Donna Reed
Lionel Barrymore
Henry Travers
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Cinematography Joseph Walker
Editing by William Hornbeck
Studio Liberty Films
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) December 20, 1946 (1946-12-20)
Running time 130 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3.18 million
Money made $3,300,000

It's a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy comedy-drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1945.

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers).

Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be like if he had never been born.

Despite initially performing poorly at the box office because of stiff competition at the time of its release, the film has become regarded as a classic and is a staple of Christmas television around the world. The film is considered one of the most loved films in American cinema and has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season.

Theatrically, the film's break-even point was $6.3 million, approximately twice the production cost, a figure it never came close to achieving in its initial release. An appraisal in 2006 reported: "Although it was not the complete box office failure that today everyone believes... it was initially a major disappointment and confirmed, at least to the studios, that Capra was no longer capable of turning out the populist features that made his films the must-see, money-making events they once were."

It's a Wonderful Life is considered one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made. It was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and has been recognized by the American Film Institute as one of the 100 best American films ever made, placing number 11 on its initial 1998 greatest movie list, number 20 on its revised 2007 greatest movie list and placing number one on its list of the most inspirational American films of all time. Capra revealed that this was his personal favorite among the films he directed and that he screened it for his family every Christmas season.

Main cast

  • James Stewart as George Bailey
  • Donna Reed as Bailey's wife
  • Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter, a banker

Three colorized versions have been produced. The first was released by Hal Roach Studios in 1986. The second was authorized and produced by the film's permanent owner, Republic Pictures, in 1989. Both Capra and Stewart took a critical stand on the colorized editions. The Hal Roach color version was re-released in 1989 to VHS through the cooperation of Video Treasures. A third colorized version was produced by Legend Films and released on DVD in 2007 with the approval of Capra's estate.

In a 1997 review, film historian James Berardinelli commented on the parallels between this film and the classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol. In both stories, a man revisits his life and potential death (or non-existence) with the help of supernatural agents, culminating in a joyous epiphany and a renewed view of his life.

Images for kids


It's a Wonderful Life Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.