It's a Wonderful Life

Chosen answer: We know that Tilly (Matilda) Bailey is not Uncle Billy's daughter, because when Billy "loses" the deposit money and rushes back to BBB&L, George tells him that Harry's on the telephone and we hear Tilly say, "Hurry up Uncle Billy, long distance from Washington," so presumably she's George's cousin and Uncle Billy's niece. (When there's the run on the bank we see her desk, and there are a few photographs of men, one of which may be her father).

Super Grover

Question: Why does George keep saying "Hot dog" after wishing for a million dollars and then using the lighter?

Answer: It was a common phrase at the time, like someone saying "oh boy!" or "hot damn."

Question: Does anyone know if the film has ever been released in colour and if it has was it ever as successful as the black and white version?

Answer: There is a DVD with colour and black and white.

Answer: There have been three colorized versions of the film. Determining whether the colorized version or the original black and white film is more successful is difficult. The original B&W film, released in theaters in 1946, flopped at the box office and the studio lost money. It was only after it started being shown on TV (in B&W) decades later that it became popular. The first colorized version came out in the early 1980s and was released on VHS. Most sales would have been the colorized version, so in that respect, it could be considered more successful. The B&W version is available on DVD.


Answer: There are two colourised versions. See for more information.


Question: Towards the end when George is at the bridge looking to jump in to kill himself it's snowing. However, after Clarence shows him what the world would have been like without him, he runs back to the bridge and it is not snowing. George is then begging Clarence to let him live again, and just like that it starts snowing just as it was when George was looking to jump in and kill himself. What did George's life have to do with changing the weather?


Answer: It's just a cinematography thing. It's snowing in the real world, the weather is clear in the alternate world. When the snow resumes, it shows us that he's returned to his real life.

Brian Katcher

Very good answer.


I agree, a good answer.


Answer: Most likely it had nothing to do with it. This is probably a plot inconsistency.


Question: I heard the reason this movie is so popular and gets shown on TV a lot is that due to a copyright error it is free for TV stations to show. Is this true?

Answer: Essentially, the answer is no. While there was indeed a clerical error in 1974 that caused a lapse in the copyright television stations were still required to pay royalties. While a box-office flop the film was lauded critically from the start and was nominated for multiple Academy and Golden Globe Awards. Its popularity grew over the years as the movie gained the status of a Classic Holiday Favorite and won the favor of new generations through annual airing of the movie and the success of DVD sales.


Question: Who are the people praying for?

Answer: At the start, we specifically hear Mr. Gower, Mr. Martini, George's mother Ma Bailey, Bert, Ernie, George's wife Mary and his children Janie and Zuzu, amidst other voices all praying for George's welfare. Although it's not until later in the movie that we are shown the moments in time all these prayers start taking place. After George berates Uncle Billy and then loses his temper at home, Mary calls Uncle Billy on the telephone and she tells her children to pray for their father, that's when all those prayers for George begin.

Super Grover

Answer: George Bailey. They could tell he was unusually upset about something, and were worried.

Brian Katcher

Question: Why is Harry Bailey wearing a uniform at the end of the movie?

Answer: He left in the middle of the banquet they were giving him for winning the Medal of Honor and immediately flew to Bedford Falls when he heard his brother was in trouble.

Brian Katcher

Answer: Agree with the other answer but would add that, from a moviemaking perspective, the film was released shortly after the end of WWII when American patriotism was extremely high. The filmmakers emphasized Harry's status as a military hero and George's role in having saved him when they were boys. It visually reminds the audience of who Harry is and what he did.


Question: After George convinces the board to keep the Bailey Building and Loan open, why did they decide they'll only leave it open if George runs it but will shut it down if he refuses? Why not just let Uncle Billy run it?

Answer: Because Uncle Billy is a known alcoholic who has shown on multiple occasions that he is incapable of running anything; the board, justifiably, has no confidence in him.

Question: Did Christmas Eve used to be a regular work day? The bank is open, the bank examiner is at the building and loan, and Zuzu had school.

Brian Katcher

Answer: Did they used to have school on Christmas Eve day?

Brian Katcher

Answer: Agree with the other answer, but would add that Christmas Eve was never a Federal holiday. It really depends on the individual company or organization on whether to give employees the day off. When I worked for the state, we used to get Christmas Eve off, but that was eliminated when MLK Day became a Federal holiday. Employees then had to use a vacation day if they wanted Christmas Eve off.


Answer: Yes, and it still is. The standard work day was 9:00 - 5:00, and Christmas Eve (not a "holiday") starts at 6:00 PM - after work. Christmas "breaks" may have been extended over the years, though.


Question: When George is in the alternate reality, what happened to Martini? Although an explanation is given for the other characters, there is no explanation for what became of him.

Answer: In a deleted or unfilmed scene, George finds the grave of Martini and his family who died in a house fire in their Potterville slum.

Brian Katcher

Answer: It's not mentioned in the film, but based on the storyline of the film, George most likely helped out Martini with money at some point to help him start a business (his bar). Without George being born (the alternate world), Martini most likely didn't have the funds now to start the business so Nick bought the bar instead and Martini either was unemployed or did something else with whatever money he had on his own.

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.


More mistakes in It's a Wonderful Life

Mary: Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

More quotes from It's a Wonderful Life

Trivia: When Mr. Gower berates a young George for not delivering the medicine, H.B. Warner was drunk and the slaps he gave to Robert Anderson were real. The slapping caused Robert's ear to actually bleed.

More trivia for It's a Wonderful Life

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