A real “feel-good" movie. A holiday classic. But why?
There is a terrible side to this movie, a dark side that is still going on today.
Here is the plot, in case you have been living on a desert island for the last 50 years:
~~~~~~~George Bailey is a small-town man whose life has become so desperate he contemplates suicide. He, like his father before him, is a champion of the poor and downtrodden in his town. Extremely honest and hard working, he sacrificed his education for his brother's, kept the family-run savings and loan afloat while still allowing ordinary residents to take out reasonable home loans, protected the town from takeover by the greedy banker Mr. Potter, and happily married his high school sweetheart. However, a series of unfortunate events plus the constant onslaught from Mr. Potter to take over the savings and loan, George feels that it would have been better for everyone if he had never been born. His guardian angel Clarence arrives on a mission to earn his heavenly wings. As George prepares to jump from a bridge, Clarence shows him how miserable life would have become for the residents of Bedford Falls had he never lived.
The implications are pretty obvious, unless you want to cover your eyes with blinders.
The Bailey family and friends represent the 99%.
Mr. Potter represents the 1%.
Of course the Occupy Movement was not around back when this film was released. But the battle is nothing new. The masses continually battle against greed. The greedy few continually want more and more, at the masses' expense.
From the movie script of It’s a Wonderful Life:
MR. BAILEY (George's father)
I'm not crying, Mr. Potter.
Well, you're begging, and that's a whole lot worse.
All I'm asking is thirty days more . . .
Just a minute, son.
Just thirty short days. I'll dig up that five thousand somehow.
Have you put any real pressure on those people of yours to pay those mortgages?
Times are bad, Mr. Potter. A lot of these people are out of work.
I can't do that. These families have children.
They're not my children.
But they're somebody's children.
Are you running a business or a charity ward?
Well, all right . . .
Not with my money!
CLOSE SHOT –– Potter and Bailey.
Mr. Potter, what makes you such a hard-skulled character? You have no family –– no children. You can't begin to spend all the money you've got.
So I suppose I should give it to miserable failures like you and that idiot brother of yours to spend for me.
You people out there, the ones who love this film, don’t you SEE? Don’t you GET IT??? Why do you feel good about the end of this movie, if you really want Mr. Potter to win? How can you cheer for George in good conscience if, deep down inside, you believe Potter is right; George Bailey is a failure, an idiot, a buffoon?
[My father] did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what's wrong with that? Why... here, you're all businessmen here. Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers? You... you said... what'd you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken down that they... Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about... they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you'll ever be!
Please, friends, WAKE UP!!! Or if you are already awake, find a way to let your voice be heard! More and more homes are being foreclosed upon, people are unemployed, wages are being lowered, college tuition is going through the roof. The average person cannot afford their health care, even if they do have insurance. But Mr Potter has all he needs 10 times over, and doesn't care! After all, we aren't HIS children.
If we continue to pander to the Mr. Potters, soon this country will become POTTERSVILLE! It really won’t matter whether or not George Bailey was ever born.
…. And poor old Clarence will never earn his wings. :(