This holiday classic is a family favorite and excerpts of it are even shown on other modern shows today. It teaches us that every single person who exists has the opportunity to touch the life of another and change that life in ways you may not even be aware of.
It?s obvious that George Bailey is in trouble at the beginning of the movie. It opens on a snowy night in Bedford Falls with many prayers being said for him. George is a great guy who has impacted the lives of others – beginning with him saving his little brother when he was just a child. He later prevents the pharmacist he works for from giving the wrong medication to a child during a time of grief.
George is a quiet man who often puts others first and he works at a loan company. His dream is that once the brother he saved is finished with high school, he?ll fill George?s spot at the loan company and George will then get to travel like he wants to.
There is plenty of early upheaval in George’s life – first with the death of his father and then with Mr. Potter, the richest, meanest man in Bedford Falls who wants to cut off the poor from getting home loans.
George thwarts that plan, but is asked to head up the Building and Loan. To protect the poor, George agrees and then gifts Harry with his own money for college. The plan then becomes that once Harry finishes college, he?ll take George?s place.
Instead, the brother comes back home with a wife and a better job offer and George – being the kind man that he is – won?t let Harry turn it down. George marries Mary and they settle into life, having four children.
He comes up with housing for the poor called Bailey Park. Mr. Potter wants George to work for him for a large salary, but George refuses. George’s brother Harry becomes a fighter pilot in the war and saves some of his fellow soldiers.
When money that belongs to the Building and Loan goes missing, (having been mistakenly left at the bank owned by Mr. Potter), George is at his wits? end and plans to take his life instead of bring shame to his family.
It?s there on the frozen bridge when he?s about to jump into the river below that George discovers Clarence, not knowing that he’s really an angel. Clarence embarks on a plan to have George save his life and then tells George he?s an angel.
He lets George experience what life in Bedford Falls would be like without the existence of George and George?s despair changes to joy. The townspeople arrive en masse to help save George financially.