Box art for It's A Wonderful Life

It's A Wonderful Life

comedy, drama

George Bailey has so many problems he is thinking about ending it all and it's Christmas! As the angels discuss George, we see his life in flashback.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 9
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
0 out of 5
3 out of 5

This classic delivers warmth all year long.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this classic is both sweet and knowing. Teens will love it as an engaging story that takes on the human condition in all its complexity. It features a witty screenplay and a grand old score. See it in its original, glorious black and white. Younger kids may be drawn in by George as a youth.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the film's more disturbing aspects. For instance, George contemplates suicide because he thinks he failed in his life.
  • Families may want to talk about how each family member enhances each person's life and discuss how to show that every day.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: The April-air wholesomeness and humanism of this natural bring back vividly the reminder that, essentially, the screen best offers unselfconscious, forthright entertainment.

- Bert Briller, Variety, Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fresh: As the hero, Mr. Stewart does a warmly appealing job, indicating that he has grown in spiritual stature as well as in talent during the years he was in the war. And Donna Reed is remarkably poised and gracious as his adoring sweet-heart and wife.

- Bosley Crowther, New York Times, Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Fresh: The epiphany of movie sentiment and a transcendent experience.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Maybe considered a timeless classic, however I wish time had moved a little faster during the movie. For me a forgettable movie that drags in places. Huge fan of Stewart, not a huge fan of this movie!

- FiLmCrAzY, Saturday, December 7, 2013

5 stars

Probably the most fully realized vision of what all Capra's films have running through them. This film will fill anybody with holiday spirit.

- fb1664868775, Sunday, November 13, 2011

4 stars

One of the greatest holiday films ever made.

- shawnewing92, Thursday, December 8, 2011