It's a wonderful classic

What do you mean, you don’t own a copy? On the other side of the Atlantic a Christmas viewing of Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life is pretty much compulsory.

Britons may be a little less susceptible to seasonal schmaltz, but even they find that the film, starring James Stewart as the fiscally incompetent but loveable George Bailey, is irresistible. It’s the perfect seasonal complement to Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

It’s A Wonderful Life has been voted the most inspirational American film of all time, and it has become a Christmas essential. Back in 1946, some critics deemed it too sentimental, but the passing of time has made Capra’s seasonal parable into a global favourite.

Its blend of misery, despair and heart-warming redemption are pretty much the perfect combination to put you in the right mood for polishing off that big box of liqueur chocolates.

The shamelessly tear-jerking story deals with guardian angels, a good man fallen on hard times, and the spirit of the season saving him from suicidal impulses. It’s also fairly topical, dealing as it does with the economic repercussions of failing building societies.

Don’t rely on the TV schedulers to provide your Wonderful Life fix. It just so happens that Universal have released a special edition DVD to coincide with the all-important 65th anniversary of the film’s original release.

The DVD, available at £11.99 from Amazon, offers a free poster and cards to sweeten the deal. Supply your own hanky. And however much you love the film, don’t ever name your daughter Zuzu.

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