Released on December 20, 1946, It’s A Wonderful Life is a Christmas classic produced and directed by Frank Capra. The film stars James Stewart as a man without hope, set on taking his own life on Christmas Eve, only to be convinced otherwise by those around him and his guardian angel. Although struggling at the box office, the film is regarded as one of the greatest holiday and overall films of all time. It was nominated for five Academy Award including Best Picture and is at the top of many best films list. Take a look behind the scenes of It’s A Wonderful Life and it’s struggles successes, and what established it as a timeless classic.
The Film Got Its Start Thanks To A Christmas Card
In 1943, Philip Van Doren Stern wrote the short story The Greatest Gift, with the hopes of getting it published. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, so Stern decided to print 200 copies of his 4,000-word story and send them in the form of a Christmas card to his friends, family, and Hollywood agent.
One of the cards ended up in the hands of David Hempstead, a producer at RKO pictures. He enjoyed the story so much, he then went on to purchase the rights to make it into a movie for $10,000.