First in theatres of December of 1946, It's a Wonderful Life finished in finished in 27th place on
1947's movie box-office list.
Although it was nominated for seven Academy Awards, it won none.
In a 1977 article he wrote remembering It's a Wonderful Life, James Stewart writes "from
the beginning we could tell it was not going to be the success we'd hoped for."
Stewart goes on to say that, "The critics had mixed reactions. Some liked it ("a humble drama of
essential truth"), others felt it "too sentimental...a figment of simple Pollyanna platitudes."
Today it's a holiday staple and one of the most beloved movies of all time.
People who loved it really loved it -- and they would tell others how much they loved it. It's a cycle that
continues to this day.
Stewart ends his article by saying:
"Today I've heard the filmed called "an American cultural phenomenon". Well, maybe so, but it
seems to me there is nothing phenomenal about the movie itself. It's simply about an ordinary man who discovers
that living each ordinary day honorably, with faith in God and selfless concern for others, can make
for a truly wonderful life."
It's a Wonderful Life is arguably the film that is most identified when James Maitland "Jimmy"
Which is really quite the accomplishment, because Stewart made some great films.... Harvey...Mr.
Smith Goes to Washington...Rear Window...The Philadelphia Story to name just a view.
Movies fans love Stewart because we related to him. His "aw shucks" often low-key demeanour
identified him as one of us. A sincere everyman trying to live his life the best he knows how.
The American Film Institute named his the third "greatest male star of all time" (behind Humphrey
Bogart and Cary Grant). He also had a noted World War II military career who rose to
the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve.