When you talk about the “best” of anything, there are obviously going to be some differences of opinion. This is particularly true with movies, because film can have a profound emotional impact on certain individuals. Some movies remind people of a particular time in their lives, while other cinematic productions have a unique way of revealing a profound truth. Christmas movies are a mixed collection of fantasy, sentimental, silly and philosophical themes. For many, Christmas movies may serve as a way to reminisce, or revisit past feelings. While there will certainly be some strong viewpoints on the best Christmas movie of all time, for me that film is the 1946 film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Looking to the future
Truthfully, this movie is not purely a Christmas-themed movie. The climax of the film is around the Christmas season, which makes it feel like a seasonal film. The story is about George Bailey, a man who has many dreams about what he will accomplish in life. He is born and raised in a sleepy little town, but George imagines getting out and conquering the world. Despite his talent and ambition, a series of events keep him in his hometown, and he finds himself running his father’s struggling small business while also trying to manage a family and obligations in the community. In a moment of crisis later in the film, he is visited by an angel-in-training, and is given an opportunity to see what life would be like if he had not been born.
Comedy, drama, romance and tension
The movie has all the elements needed for a good story and an enjoyable cinematic experience. There are moments of laughter, drama, romance and conflict. For the modern movie watcher, it may be hard to get through a long black-and-white movie that is not filled with special effects. The pace is not always the quickest, and some of the scenes are admittedly mushy. However, this film is a classic, and it is certainly worth a couple of hours during the holiday season.
Good versus evil
In many stories, there is an element of good versus evil. This movie is no different, as the hero George Bailey must go up against the scheming Mr. Potter. For the average moviegoer, there is obviously an assumption that the good guy is going to win. Still, there are large enough challenges that you have to wonder at times if the little guy is going to be swallowed up by the greedy banker. No matter what era we are in, there always seems to be a battle between big business and the underdog entrepreneur.
The truth about life
For me, the real value of the film is the message. It is good to have goals in life, and people of ambition do not have to limit their aspirations just because there are obstacles to overcome. However, this film reminds us that sometimes the best things in life are right in front of us. Rather than always looking ahead, we should pause and look around in order to appreciate what we have at the moment. Obviously George Bailey has a lot of blessings that not everyone in life has to enjoy. Some individuals are lonely, and are not surrounded by a beautiful wife, children, and a daughter named Zuzu who doesn’t really know the words to “Auld Lang Syne” at the end of the film. This film is great because George Bailey ultimately realizes that life is not as bad as he imagined, and is in fact quite wonderful. We should all have such moments of epiphany as we sip Clarence’s “Flaming Rum Punch” during the holiday season.