I was 29 years old before I watched It's a Wonderful Life in it's entirety. Actually before I ever saw much more than the scene with the pool and that previously annoying little girl talking about bells ringing and angel's wings. I have no idea where I've been for all those years, I must have been under a rock, or maybe living in an Amish community (although I feel like if any Amish family saw this movie they might rethink the whole no TV thing).
My wife insisted that we watch it. I was certainly up for it, I like old movies, even if they are a little cheesy, and I really liked Jimmy Stewart in other movies that I had seen, AND after all, it's a timeless classic, right?
I can honestly say that this was one of the BEST movies I have ever seen. The story line is great. The acting was perfect. And the photography was incredible. To say that this movie is a "must see" would not only be an understatement, but would simply be stating something everyone else already knew. The roller-coaster ride of emotions is amazing as our hero goes from one disappointment in life to another, one more selfless, self-sacrificing choice to the next, only to realize what few of us ever really understand: Life is about more than money and sexy romances or even traveling the world over. Life is about relationships. Life is about doing what's right for people, even if it means you don't get to have all the fun adventures, because people are, well, people. And they're worth it. It reminds me of this thing a really smart guy once said, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." (But that's for a different blog)
In someways I am really glad that I hadn't watched It's a Wonderful Life until I was older. Although I feel like I missed out on a life time of family tradition watching it every year on Christmas, I'm happy that I got to watch it with my wife, with the perspective as a father, without the burdens of old memories affecting the way I think about it.
If you've never seen this movie, you are on a really short list (that's a little shorter now). If I had some kind of rating system, this would score a "go and buy this movie, you won't regret it, I promise."