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It's a Wonderful Life Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

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.

  • 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.

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The movie conveys an important message about the value of an individual life and how one person's actions affect all those around him. It's 1946, and George's younger brother chases their black maid, trying to grab her butt. While she is treated warmly by the family, it is clear she is a servant and a subordinate.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman, George Bailey, by showing what life would had been like if he never existed. It's a classic for good reason.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Gunshots. A short fist fight. For a brief moment, George knocks over the furniture and loses his temper. It's a tough scene when George is slapped by Mr. Bower.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A naked woman in a shrubbery. Nothing is seen and it's very funny.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue