I must say I’m partial to the black and white version, seems more authentic.
Why is this such a Christmas classic? In some ways because of its similarities to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Whether it’s a rich man who has lost the joy of Christmas or an everyday working person who just feels like the world would be better off without him, we love, love, love stories of redemption. We love to believe that no matter how far gone you are, there’s always hope, always a way back. Christmas is a time of hope, a time when people want to believe that all things can be put right again. And I love anything James Stewart was in.
It’s not a complicated story, in fact, its utter simplicity makes it appealing.
The policeman is named Bert and his friend the cab driver is Ernie (as in Bert and Ernie, Sesame Street)
Who says product placement is getting worse? The products and advertisements featured in Mr. Gower’s drugstore include: Coca-Cola, Bayer Aspirin, Pepto-Bismol, The Saturday Evening Post, Camel cigarettes, Lucky Strike cigarettes, La Unica cigars, Chesterfield cigarettes, Vaseline hair tonic, Penetro cough syrup, and Paterson tobacco pipes. Apparently the people of Bedford Falls were heavy smokers.
In Gremlins, Billy’s hometown is Kingston Falls, laid out to look like Bedord Falls and also has clips from It’s A Wonderful Life.
Cheers, Saturday Night Live, Veggietales, The Simpsons, Mork & Mindy, Family Guy, Raising Hope, Red Dwarf, ZuZu’s Petals, The Killers, and more have imitated or referenced this film, it’s a pop culture staple.