Best Christmas Movies | Writers’ Room Podcast | Episode 336
In December’s Holiday Redux studio, the Writers’ Room gang is making a list, checking it more than twice, and now, sharing with you our picks for the best movies to watch this holiday season.
Click below to walk through a cinema winter wonderland with The Writers’ Room and their picks for Best Christmas Movies:
Annually, the Christmas/Holiday theme in film is characterized by stories that reflect the most important things in life (It’s a Wonderful Life, Christmas Carol) or bring people together in laughter (Elf), or feel good movies like Love, Actually and Home Alone. What are your favorites? Comment below if we don’t mention your most necessary holiday classic.
It’s a Wonderful Life Plot:
On Christmas Eve 1945, in Bedford Falls, New York, George Bailey is suicidal. Prayers for him reach Heaven, where Clarence Odbody, Angel 2nd Class, is assigned to save George in order to earn his angel wings. To prepare, Clarence is shown flashbacks of George’s life. The first is in 1919, when 12-year-old George saves his younger brother Harry, who falls through the ice on a frozen pond, from drowning; George loses his hearing in one ear as a result. While working after school at the local drug store, George sees that his employer, Mr. Gower, distraught over his son’s death from the flu, has accidentally added poison to a child’s prescription drug, and intervenes to stop it from causing harm.
On Harry’s graduation night in 1928, George talks to Mary Hatch, who has had a crush on him from an early age. They are interrupted by news of his father’s death. George postpones his travel plans in order to sort out the family business, Bailey Brothers’ Building and Loan, a longtime competitor to Henry F. Potter, the local banker and the richest man in town. Potter wishes to dissolve the Building and Loan to take over its business. George convinces the board of directors to vote against Potter. They agree, on condition that George runs the business, along with his absent-minded uncle Billy. George and Mary get married. On their way to their honeymoon, they witness a run on the bank and use their honeymoon savings to lend financial support at the Building and Loan until the bank reopens.
Over time George establishes Bailey Park, a housing development with small houses financed by loans from Bailey Building and Loan, which allows people to own their own homes rather than pay rent to live in Potter’s overpriced slums. Potter, frustrated at losing control of the housing market, attempts to lure George into becoming his assistant; George is momentarily tempted, but rejects the offer.
During World War II, George is ineligible for service because of his bad ear. Harry becomes a Navy pilot and shoots down a kamikaze plane that would have bombed an amphibious transport; he is awarded the Medal of Honor. On Christmas Eve morning 1945, the town prepares a hero’s welcome for Harry. Uncle Billy goes to Potter’s bank to deposit $8,000 for the Building and Loan. (The $8,000 was worth over $100,000 in 2017 dollars.) He teases Potter, taking his newspaper and bragging about Harry being on the front page; the banker angrily grabs the newspaper, inside of which Billy has unintentionally tucked the envelope containing the money. Upon seeing the money, Potter realizes the potential scandal could lead to the Building and Loan’s downfall. Potter hides the money, knowing its loss will cause severe financial problems for the Building and Loan. When Uncle Billy cannot find the money, he and George frantically search for it. When the bank examiner arrives to review their records, George berates his uncle for endangering the Building and Loan, goes home and takes out his frustration on his family. He apologizes to his wife and children, then leaves.
George desperately appeals to Potter for a loan. When George offers his life insurance policy as collateral, Potter says George is worth more dead than alive and phones the police to have him arrested. George gets drunk at a local bar and is involved in a fight before he leaves and goes to a nearby bridge, thinking of suicide. The film’s narrative catches up to the time of the opening scene. Before he can jump, Clarence dives into the river just before George does, causing George to rescue Clarence rather than killing himself. George does not believe Clarence’s subsequent claim to be his guardian angel.
When George says he wishes he had never been born, Clarence decides to grant his wish and show George an alternate timeline in which he never existed. Bedford Falls is named Pottersville and is a less congenial place. Mr. Gower has recently been released from prison for manslaughter, because George was not there to stop him from putting poison in the pills. The Building and Loan has closed down, as George never took over after Mr. Bailey’s passing.
George’s mother does not recognize him; she reveals that Uncle Billy was institutionalized after the collapse of the Building and Loan. In the cemetery where Bailey Park would have been, George discovers the grave of his brother. Clarence tells him all the soldiers on the transport died, as Harry was never there to save them, because George had never saved Harry from drowning. Mary never married; when George says he is her husband, she screams for the police, causing George to flee and the local policeman to give chase.
George, now convinced that Clarence is really his guardian angel, runs back to the bridge and begs for his life back; the alternate timeline changes back to the original reality. George runs home to await his arrest. Mary and Uncle Billy arrive, having rallied the townspeople, who donate more than enough to cover the missing $8,000 and for Potter’s warrant to be torn up. Harry arrives and toasts George. A bell on the Christmas tree rings, and his daughter recalls a story that says the sound means that an angel has just earned his wings, signifying Clarence’s promotion. – Wiki
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