IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is, and always will be, one of the best holiday movies. The strong message of being thankful and living life to the fullest never ceases to inspire. You're always rooting for George Banks to see how precious his life really is.
As the film opens, you hear a voice in the stars (supposedly God) speaking to another star named Clarence. He tells Clarence that he must go down to Earth to save George, who is about to take God's most precious gift (life). We then see the events of George's life played out, up to the point where Clarence, his charming guardian angel, must show him how great his life really is. And the only way to do this...show him what life would be like if he never were born.
The overall theme of suicide is tense but not scary. There is no violence or language. Sex is very minor, with no sex, but when George and his soon-to-be wife are playing, she runs and her robe gets snagged in a bush. She then hides in the bush (we hear her voice) and is presumably nude (but we don't see anything at all).
It's a great movie. Watch it if you can.
We thought our 11-yr-old was ready for it, but he questioned the suicide theme, and the scene where George gets hit and his ear bleeds. He liked it in the end, but was disturbed several times at our choice! As adults, we tend to wrap it in the good feelings from the end of the movie, but a first-time young viewer may need reassurance.
While there is no objectionable content for kids, my husband and I feel you can't really appreciate this movie until you're a young adult - college age at least. We recently saw it in a vintage theater (fantastic venue for this) with a 9- and 15-year-old and they were both BORED! I would rather have my own kids see it for the first time when they can truly understand and value its message.
We absolutely love this movie in my house. Well, I do! My 9 year old watched it with me all the way through the other night...a little hard for her attention span, but she loved the ending. It has a great message to send to all ages!
This is my all-time favorite movie. There is nothing inappropriate for kids, but youngsters will probably be bored. My mom forced me to watch this when I was a kid, but I didn't really start to enjoy it until around 16. Only now that I'm married and have my own children do I fully appreciate this excellent film. And it's not just for Christmas, I can watch it year-round.
"It's a Wonderful Life" is a fresh breath of air that still inspires, and touches the hearts of everyone who watches it. This enduring classic was at first not a classic! But when televisions broadcasted the film annually (like "The Wizard of Oz", another classic), it was beloved by all, and was made to be always watched on Christmas in almost every household! Jimmy Stewart gives a marvelous performance as always, and if he hadn't we wouldn't have been as inspired by the film at the end. The dialog is so amazing and sophisticated, and even sometimes a bit corny, but it's the perfect type of corny. And who can forget the wonderful, heart-felt story, that contains some of the most magical scenes ever filmed. So either if you love Christmas or not, this family classic should definitely be seen.
This film oughta be shown in utero. I've been watching it every Christmas since at least kindergarten. Jimmy Stewart is unequivocally on point, Donna Reed is angelic, and the message is heartwarming and timeless.
The suicide theme is a bit tough for sensitive kids to gel with. Suicide is a prevalent problem among children now a days, especially those faced with problems, so I would be careful showing kids any movie now with a suicide theme. Other than that, this is a great classic for the whole family to share that has affirmation and value.
I have been watching this movie every year since forever. My Christmas favorite. There is nothing that is objectionable for kids in the movie, but obviously 5 year old is largely uninterested. She wanders around the living room when we watch it, pausing only if something very interesting to her is happening. Sadly my 12 year old little sister is also still uninterested, although I recall liking it at her age. So really it depends on the child.
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