It's a Wonderful Life | Chicago Reader

It's a Wonderful Life

The film Frank Capra was born to make. This 1946 release marked his return to features after four years of turning out propaganda films for the government, and Capra poured his heart and soul into it. James Stewart stars as a small-town nobody, on the brink of suicide, who believes his life is worthless. Guardian angel Henry Travers shows him how wrong he is by letting Stewart see what would have happened had he never been born. Wonderfully drawn and acted by a superb cast (Donna Reed, Beulah Bondi, Thomas Mitchell, Lionel Barrymore, Gloria Grahame) and told with a sense of image and metaphor (the use of water is especially elegant) that appears in no other Capra film. The epiphany of movie sentiment and a transcendent experience.



  • Frank Capra


  • James Stewart
  • Donna Reed
  • Lionel Barrymore
  • Thomas Mitchell
  • Henry Travers
  • Beulah Bondi
  • Frank Faylen
  • Ward Bond
  • Gloria Grahame
  • H.B. Warner
  • Frank Albertson
  • Todd Karns
  • Samuel Hinds
  • Sheldon Leonard
  • Ellen Corby
  • Virginia Patton
  • Mary Treen
  • Charles Williams
  • Sarah Edwards
  • William Edmunds
  • Argentina Brunetti
  • Lillian Randolph
  • Bobby Anderson
  • Ronnie Ralph
  • Jean Gale
  • Jeanine Ann Roose
  • Frank Hagney
  • Carol Coomes
  • Karolyn Grimes
  • Larry Simms


  • Frances Goodrich
  • Albert Hackett
  • Frank Capra
  • Jo Swerling


  • Frank Capra

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