It’s the week of Christmas, which means it’s a time for presents, love, friendship, and lots and lots of movies. And beyond the endless streaming originals and Hallmark films set during the holiday seasons are a few bonafide classics of the genre — chief among them “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the beloved 1946 Frank Capra picture and a perennial topper of any “Top Christmas Movie” list.
Online, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is free to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Plex. The movie can also be purchased via multiple VOD platforms, including Redbox, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, and Apple TV, with prices ranging from $1.99 to $3.99.
Linear TV will also be carrying multiple showings of the beloved film. On Christmas Eve, NBC will air the film in its entirety starting at 8 p.m. ET. E! will also air the film on loop on Christmas Day, starting at 6 a.m. ET for a total of seven showings. If you want to venture to theaters to see the movie on the big screen, NYC’s IFC Center screens the film December 25 at 10:40, 1:25, 4:10, 7, and 9:10 p.m daily. A 75th-anniversary edition of the film (the movie is technically 76 this year, but who’s counting) is also screening throughout Los Angeles, at the Regal LA Live, Universal Cinema AMC, AMC Century City 15, Cinemark 18, and other participating theaters.
Starring James Stewart in possibly his best-known role, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is based on the short story “The Greatest Gift” by Philip Van Doren Stern, and tells the story of George Bailey, a man who has spent his life working for the people of small-town Bedford Falls and contemplates suicide after getting into financial trouble. George is visited by his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers), who attempts to show him all the good he has done for his community.
Also starring Donna Reed, Thomas Mitchell, Beulah Bondi, Ward Bond, Frank Faylen, and Gloria Grahame, “It’s a Wonderful Life” received mixed reviews from critics and underperformed at the box office when it was initially released, although it did gain a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. The film gained more attention when it fell into the public domain and began receiving extensive TV broadcasts, and has since been reevaluated as a classic and one of the best Christmas films of all time.
IndieWire crowned “It’s a Wonderful Life” the top Christmas film of all time this year, writing, “For those with a heavy heart this time of year — or any for that matter — ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ offers a hopeful salve from an old world.”