‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ To Hit Theaters This Christmas Season To Mark Its 75th Anniversary

The movie "It's a Wonderful Life", produced and directed by Frank Capra. Seen here from left, Donna Reed as Mary Hatch Bailey, James Stewart as George Bailey and Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu. Premiered December 20, 1946; theatrical wide release January 7, 1947. Screen capture. Paramount Pictures.
Photo by CBS via Getty Images

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is returning to the big screen in December to mark the classic movie’s 75th anniversary.

In an announcement from Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies shared it will bring Frank Capra’s great Christmas movie back to theaters for two days, December 18 and again on December 21.

“Embraced as a cherished holiday tradition by families around the world, Frank Capra’s heart-warming masterpiece now celebrates 75 years with this big-screen event,” a description on the movie site read.

“George Bailey (James Stewart) sets aside his dreams of world travel to run his father’s small community bank, and protect the people of Bedford Falls from greedy businessman Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore),” it added. “When a costly mistake pushes George to the brink of despair, a visit from a kindly angel (Henry Travers) will show George how the life of one good man can change the world forever.”

The film originally opened in theaters in the United States on January 7, 1947, according to IMDb. Despite its popularity over the years, the movie was not a box office success when it came out. The themes of the film dealt with dark subjects like suicide and greed, but also love and faith. As one writer noted, the fact this movie has grown in success over the years says a lot about how our culture has changed.

Stewart, an Army Air Corps squadron commander who was grounded by PTSD after 20 combat missions over Europe in a B-24, had just returned from war and was Capra’s first pick to play Bailey. However, the actor initially wanted to nothing to do with the dark tones of the film, the Chicago Tribune noted. It was only as a last resort — and a lack of any other offers — that Stewart finally agreed to take on the role.

Author Robert Matzen writes about Stewart’s battle with the role in “Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe.”

“The war had changed Jim [Stewart] down to the molecular level,” Matzen wrote. “He could never begin to articulate what those four-and-a-half years, including fifteen months in combat, had done to him. One thing he could do was express a bit of it on-screen.”

In 2021, the film’s showing on NBC on Christmas Eve brought in more than three million viewers, proving the movie continues to entertain generation after generation, the Washington Examiner noted. For available showtimes in theaters near you, click here.

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