Perhaps it’s director Frank Capra’s knack for zeroing in on simple truths or James Stewart’s talent for expressing earnestness without self-righteousness. Whatever the reason, only the crankiest cynic can scoff at this enduring classic. The story of Bedford Falls’ George Bailey (Stewart) – a candidate for suicide until a guardian angel takes him on a tour of what the town would have been like without his lifetime of generosity – the movie is a charming dramatization of the Golden Rule. Is the movie corny? Often. Is it moving in the most basic, moral way? Every year we watch it.
So much for Jeremy Renner