It's a Wonderful Life

Continuity mistake: When George is giving Violet the character reference and loaning her money, the pipe suddenly disappears from George's mouth. (01:21:50)

Spiritfire

Continuity mistake: In the confrontation scene between Peter Bailey and Old Man Potter, Peter moves from behind his desk about four feet away from Potter, to sitting on the edge of the desk about 18 inches away from Potter. Also the coat on the coat rack behind Potter changes from hanging from the collar loop to just the collar itself. (00:09:25)

Spiritfire
It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: In a scene near the end of the movie, George enters the Building and Loan with a Christmas wreath on his arm. On hearing that he has a phone call from his brother Harry, he tosses the wreath on a table and picks up the phone. In the next second, the wreath is back on his arm. (01:17:35)

Continuity mistake: When George Bailey crashes his car into the tree after leaving "Martini's Place", notice its position against the tree; an upward angle. In the ending scene when he's running home he cheers and taps the hood of the same car, now at a downward angle.

Continuity mistake: When George crashes his car into the tree, the front of the vehicle is against the tree, but the next shot of George exiting the car shows the vehicle off to the side of the tree.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: The bouncer in Nick's bar has his right hand grasping old man Gower's right shoulder, but the next shot when the bouncer throws Gower out of the bar, the bouncer's left hand is now holding Gower's right shoulder.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: In a scene early on in the film, where George Bailey (James Stewart), Bert (Ward Bond) and Ernie (Frank Faylen) chat in the street, they suddenly stop due to the appearance of Violet (Gloria Grahame) in her "this is what I wear when I don't care how I look" dress. The camera cuts back to them and we see a dark haired woman in a hat pass in front of Ernie's taxi. As Violet crosses the street and gets honked at, we see another shot of the boys staring after her - and the dark haired woman passes in front of the taxi again.

Continuity mistake: In the scene at the railway station where George and Uncle Billy are waiting for Harry, Billy reaches in the bag of peanuts and pulls one out. As the camera angle changes slightly, Billy's hand is suddenly back in the bag and pulls out another peanut. Also the man in the background wearing coveralls and a locomotive cap changes his position, and has lost the pamphlet he had just placed in his back pocket. (00:35:20)

Spiritfire
It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Visible crew/equipment: When Mary leans across the drugstore counter to whisper in George's bad ear, there is a small piece of tape on the edge of the counter right in front of her hand, presumably to show the actors where to position themselves for the shot (the tape isn't visible in the other shots showing that same section of the counter). (00:06:55)

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When George Bailey is going to jump off the bridge, watch the snow carefully. In one of the shots where Clarence is shouting in the water the snow all of a sudden quits, then it goes back to snowing when George jumps in.

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When George first finds his brother's grave the death date is visible, but after arguing with Clarence he has to wipe snow from the base of the stone to reveal the date. (01:58:35)

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Uncle Billy sees Potter in the bank, he walks to the teller window and there's no line, but a second later there's a line of a dozen or more people behind him.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Old Man Potter is offering George a job, nearly all of the items on Potter's desk - skull, lighter, eye glasses, small ink blotter and magnifying glass - change position as POV shots change from Potter to George. In some cases items disappear completely then reappear, ie. eyeglasses, ink pot and two pens, the liquor case and bells on the corner of the desk, and the pencils beside Potter go from none to one to two, and then none again. (01:07:30 - 01:12:40)

Spiritfire

Continuity mistake: When George is kicking stuff and knocking stuff over in his house (after yelling at his children), his hair is messed up. In the next shot, it's combed again.

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: During a confrontation between old man Potter and Peter Bailey at the Building and Loan, Potter's bodyguard stands behind the wheelchair on its left side. But in the close-up shot of Potter, the arms and hands of his bodyguard can be seen extending from the right side of the wheelchair. In the next full screen shot, the bodyguard is seen on the left side of the wheelchair once again.

Factual error: In the drugstore scene where Mary whispers in George's bad ear, there are several shots showing a Coca-Cola thermometer on the wall where George hangs his jacket. This particular scene was to have taken place in 1919, but this particular thermometer wasn't produced until 1939.

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Other mistake: In the scene on the bridge, before Clarence jumps, George's hands do not indent the 2-3" of snow on the rail. In a later shot, after George jumps, you see two snow-less spots on the railing.

Continuity mistake: When George is in the Bridge Tender's office, he says he wishes he had never been born while holding a coffee cup close to his mouth, but the next quick cut of him shows his arms in his lap with no coffee cup.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: Outside of Ma Bailey's Boarding House, Clarence is leaning on a mail box, holding his copy of Tom Sawyer. The position of the book changes in Clarence's hands as the shots quick cut from him to George Bailey and back.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: Potter's rent collector is showing Potter a map of the new houses George Bailey built, but a page is folded over on the desk, covering half of an ink pen set on the desk. When the rent collector prepares to leave, that page is now a few inches to the right of the ink pen set (viewer's perspective) and hanging off Potter's desk entirely.

Scott215
It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When the pharmacist hits young George, the amount of blood coming from George's ear changes back and forth between long shots and close ups.

pinkwafer

Factual error: Harry Bailey's tombstone has the dates of 1911 and 1919 making him at most 8 years old when he died, but the angel states that Harry died when he was 9.

terry s

Continuity mistake: When Bert the cop is struggling with Clarence and Clarence disappears, you can see Ernie's shadow which shows him pointing and gesturing with his hand before he actually does it. (01:56:20)

Revealing mistake: When George is on the bridge and says "I wanna live again", and Burt drives up, in the shot where George hugs Burt, then Burt pats him on the back, you can see Burt's handprint in the fake snow that was used (a mixture of foamite soap and water) on the back of George's coat. (02:02:35)

Continuity mistake: The pen in Potter's right hand is instantly placed on his desk as the scene cuts from him to George Bailey when Bailey is begging for Potter's help in replacing the missing $8,000.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: While George is in Potter's office begging for $8,000, the snow flakes hanging around on the shoulders of George's coat should have melted away immediately after he enters Potter's office.

Scott215
It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: The old man's cigar disappears when he sends young George to deliver a prescription.

Factual error: In the closing scene Ernie the cab driver is wearing a military shirt with an Air Force insignia on the sleeve, but we were told earlier that Ernie parachuted into France. His shirt should have had a different patch.

Other mistake: During Harry's party, when George is outside talking to his mother she encourages him to see Mary and George says "Point me in the right direction." He then exits right and immediately returns. As he passes by, there is a glitch in the film and for a brief moment everything speeds up. This is most evident if you watch the people dancing in the house because they appear as though they clicked into "fast-forward motion" briefly and then return to normal.

Character mistake: Harry Bailey's tombstone has the dates of 1911 and 1919 making him 7-8 years old when he died, but the angel states that Harry died when he was 9 years old. If he was born the latest at 31-12-11 and died 31-12-19 he would have been exactly 8 years. If he was born 1-1-11 and died 13-12-19 he would have been 8 years 364 days, one day short of 9. If he was born later than the day of the year he died he would have been 7+.

terry s
It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: In the scene after Bailey becomes nonexistent and they go to the bar, Clarence and Bailey are thrown out, but when they land they have switched positions. (01:50:20)

Revealing mistake: Near the beginning of the film, young George already has blood coming out of his ears prior to them being slapped by Mr. Gower.

manthabeat Premium member

Audio problem: When George is talking to Harry on the phone regarding being decorated with a medal of honor, he is at his office. The guy to the right of him starts to say "what is he saying?" but the audio cuts off just before he finishes "saying." The scene cuts to a closer shot of George talking, so why did the audio cut off?

Revealing mistake: When George comes home flustered, his kids are hanging on him. Right after Mary closes the door keeping the littlest boy out, she walks into the kitchen. Watch this scene carefully as the camera tracks backwards. A bad jump cut is obvious.

manthabeat Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Ernie is about to take George during his "never born" sequence, if you look at the building next to the taxi, there is the Indian Club. As Ernie is driving along around 20-30 seconds pass inside the cab. When we see outside the cab and Ernie signals to the policeman, you can see the cab has only traveled roughly 20 meters from the Indian Club.

Lummie Premium member

Factual error: When Clarence picks up his copy of "Tom Sawyer" to see if it is dry, the book is in perfect condition, despite their clothes being soaked. The pages of book that had been soaked in water would been swollen and wrinkled, and many pages would very likely have stuck together as the book dried.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where Violet and George talk about going up to Mount Bedford, they start their walk down the promenade, close to the intersection where Gowers Drugs and The Bijou theater are visible in the background, along with a tree with no visible branches and a Caucasian couple seated on a park bench facing screen right. At the cut to the closeup, they have moved about 50 to 75 feet further down the promenade, the drug store and theater are no longer visible, the tree behind them now has a branch, the couple is now African American and the park bench is facing screen left. (00:41:30)

Audio problem: When George and Mary are walking up to the dilapidated house (prior to throwing rocks at it), George is talking. At one point he is saying something and his lips aren't matching.

manthabeat Premium member

Continuity mistake: Just after George's brother comes home, George is walking across the street and a man is approaching him, but it's then a woman that passes him, not the man.

kh1616

Continuity mistake: At the beginning in the soda shop, the first little girl (Mary) is facing toward the camera, away from the other girl that comes in. When they start talking however in the next shot, both are facing outward.

manthabeat Premium member

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More for It's a Wonderful Life

Quotes

George Bailey: This is a very interesting situation!

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Trivia

The opening credits list a copyright date of 1947, but distributor RKO rushed IAWL into theaters December 20 1946, to replace 'Sinbad the Sailor' whose Technicolor prints were not ready. It went into general release January 1947. The rush probably cost Capra and his partners their indie studio Liberty Films, whose first production opened in a record blizzard back east and failed to make back its money; it also wound up losing out at the Oscars against a powerful postwar drama 'The Best Years of Our Lives' rather than facing a much weaker Oscar field in 1947. Then again, confusion over its copyright date seems to have allowed it to slip into public domain for about 20 years from 1973, leading to its constant (cost-free) play at Christmas time, cementing its reputation as America's favorite holiday movie.

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