Monday, December 22, 2008

It's A Wonderful Life...The Ending

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the effect that It's A Wonderful Life has on yours truly; no matter how often I watch this movie (and to be honest, I lost track long ago), I still get a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye during the final moments. Today I present a clip of the final nine minutes of the film. I suppose you could skip ahead to the five minute mark, but it won't hurt to watch the whole thing - it might even do your soul some good.

In case you've been living in a cave and have never heard of the movie, I'll set it up for you. George Bailey, played by James Stewart, is a hard working family man who has sacrificed for others his whole life. On Christmas Eve he becomes despondent (I won't go into details but it involves the loss of $8000 through no fault of his own). He starts to think the world would be better off had he never been born. Enter the apprentice angel Clarence who shows George exactly what the world would be like had he never been in it (among the changes: his war hero brother Harry died as a child since big brother George wasn't around to save him from drowing; his four children were never born; his beloved town of Bedford Falls has become the sleezy, seedy town of Potterville). George begins to realize the effect he's had on the world around him. The clip starts at the scene where George realizes his wife Mary, played by Donna Reed, doesn't recognize him.

Yep, it happened again - I've got the sniffles and tears are rolling down my cheeks as I type this. Frank Capra really knew how to tug at the old heart strings, didn't he?

I'd just like to point out some of the many wonderful character actors in this film. That's the great Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter, the film's villain ("Happy New Year to you, in jail"). One of my favorites is Lillian Randolph who plays Annie ("I've been saving this money for a divorce if ever I get a hysband..."). Fans of Old Time Radio will recognize her as Birdie, the housekeeper on (my favorite OTR show) The Great Gildersleeve.

A few actors who are not in this scene are:

Henry Travers as Clarence the Angel

great Sheldon Leonard as Nick the bartender.

The ubiquitous Charles Lane (perennial grumpy old man of countless TV shows).


  1. see, now that's just plain cruel. I've got to watch this on Christmas Day with the missus. it's just WRONG to make me watch it now, again. I need to save AT LEAST a couple of tears for E.T, man. . .

  2. Sorry about that, Joe. But at least it's only once a year.