What more can really be written about the Frank Capra/Jimmy
Stewart classic? The perennial favorite airs dozens of times each holiday
season, a Christmas staple in many family homes (certainly the case in mine
growing up). Riffing on the tried and true story line from Dickens’ Christmas Carol, Stewart’s George Bailey
is visited by Clarence the angel when his life falls apart. Clarence takes him
on a tour of an alternative timeline where he never existed: his brother
doesn’t know him; his friends don’t recognize him; and, perhaps worst of all,
his wife flees from him, screaming, when he approaches her.
George relents, begging that he be returned to his life, and the ending is a satisfyingly happy one. But the real inspiration that It’s a Wonderful Life imparts is that the impact of a single life on the world can be immense. It’s a dull, nasty place without George Bailey in it. And, whether we know it or not, our world would be just a little dimmer if we weren’t here to touch it.
~ Evan Derrick
1 - Chariots of Fire»