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It was named one of the greatest movies of all time by the American Film Institute, even though it's truly not a Christmas movie. "It's A Wonderful Life" is coming to Syracuse for the 2022 season.
Frank Capra’s 1946 classic will be shown at Syracuse’s Destiny USA and the Movie Tavern in Camillus. According to New York Upstate, the movie event is all in honor of the TCM Big Screen Classics event celebrating the film’s 75th anniversary. Technically it's the 76th anniversary, but whose counting anyways? The movie will be shown Sunday, December 18th at 3:30PM, and Wednesday, December 21st at 7PM.
The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, who contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve after his building and loan company loses $8,000, potentially allowing Mr. Potter to take over his beloved town of Bedford Falls when an angel named Clarence shows him what life would be like if he never existed.
Find out how to buy your tickets online here.
Before we dive in on what would be considered this authors opinion of the movie, let's make something very clear. This author is not arguing the fact that the movie is an all time classic, and truly is a great story. This author is simply arguing the fact whether or not this movie should be considered a "Christmas Classic" that's one of the best. If you also disagree with the opinions of this article, feel free to text us on our station app.
Many debate whether or not "Die Hard" should be considered a Christmas movie. This author highly disagrees calling it that, but this author would argue that "Die Hard" is more of a Christmas movie than "It's A Wonderful Life." At least the entire "Die Hard" movie takes place on Christmas Eve. There is no other date the movie travels to, the plot starts at a Christmas Eve party, has Christmas music throughout, has Christmas decorations and props, and ends on Christmas Eve night.
"It's A Wonderful Life" spends such a small amount of time on Christmas Eve, or setting the film up as a Christmas movie, that if you jumped in at any single point outside of the first several minutes, you wouldn't even realize it was a Christmas movie. Granted, "A Christmas Story" or "Christmas Vacation" don't take place entirely on Christmas, you are led to believe the pay off for the movie is on Christmas. The pay off here, you want to root for George to realize he's an amazing person.
As mentioned above, the movie takes place showing the character George's life. You see his many set backs, some happy moments, but you see a man who has gone through massive issues. You see an evil character or Mr. Potter steal money from George, which pretty much means George will end up going to jail. Forbes honestly mentions the use of Christmas in the movie best:
Christmas exists in the story as a setting for the framing device, starting with a brief four-minute opening credits and setup on Christmas Eve. After that, the story proceeds for an hour and twelve minutes without Christmas, as it shows the background of George's life and how his financial crisis eventually emerged. Then, the last 58 minutes are set on Christmas Eve but largely omit any significant Christmas imagery or storytelling, instead focusing on George glimpsing how a world without him is worse for those who knew him and loved him."
If you literally tune into the movie 6 minutes in, you'd have no concept whether or not it was dealing with the topic of Christmas.
The movie itself has a lot to offer and cover, including some deep themes: attempted suicide, financial fraud, inequality, a man refusing to give a woman her clothes back after she accidentally loses them in public, child death, an adult beating a child as his ear bleeds, war deaths, and the social divide between the poor, working class, and very rich. At one point does any of that feel like Frosty the Snowman or Santa Claus? Oh, that's right, it doesn't.
The good moments and happy times are consistently balanced against downturns and bad outcomes, and here's the thing to remember: most of the bad outcomes are avoidable, either because they are accidents or because they are explicitly intentionally created by unscrupulous people."
Yes, the ending takes place Christmas Eve Night, but the movie was never set up as a Christmas movie. The movie was set up as George Bailey learning what a wonderful life he has, despite the setbacks. For these reasons, "It's A Wonderful Life" is not considered a Christmas movie to this author.
Also, side note, Mr. Potter is one of the worst characters of all time with how evil he was.