It’s a time-honored tradition in many homes to watch It’s a Wonderful Life around the holidays. And even though many of us who love this film probably own it on DVD or Blu-ray, but there’s still something to be said for seeing the film when it airs on TV, which only happens twice during the holiday season, believe or not. NBC has the dates set up for the 2013 airings. This year, It’s A Wonderful Life will air Saturday, December 14 (8-11 p.m. ET) and Tuesday, December 24 (Christmas Eve - 8-11 p.m. ET).
UPDATE: Looks like NBC has bumped the first broadcast in order to air an encore of The Sound of Music Live:
For those of you who’ve never seen it (or have never sat down and watched it all the way through), Frank Capra’s 1946 classic stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, and tells the story of a selfless man who reaches the end of his rope. All George Bailey ever wanted to do was leave Bedford Falls to explore the world, but every chance he got to do it, something happened and he set the dream aside to be there for his friends, his family and his town when they needed him. When he finds himself in a financial crisis involving the Savings and Loan business he runs, he basically loses it, and all of the pent up disappointment and frustration leads him to consider suicide. It takes an angel-in-training named Clarence to save him and show him what all of the choices he made did for the people of Bedford Falls, by revealing what the town would’ve been like had he never been born. I won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t seen it, but it truly is an inspirational story about the impact one person’s choices can have on the people around them.
It took me until near adulthood to develop an appreciation for the movie. Growing up, I would’ve much rather watched one of the more colorful and cheery Christmas movies, rather than this black and white film that seemed to air in a constant loop during the holidays — though I did always love the scene where the gymnasium floor opens up while Mary and George are dancing…
When I actually sat down and watched It’s a Wonderful Life I fell in love with it, and it’s on the short list of movies I have to watch around the holidays. I wouldn’t mind a Christmas Eve marathon on cable somewhere, much in the way TBS does with A Christmas Story every year. Alas, NBC’s approach makes the two broadcasts all the more special, for people who like to watch it on TV.
If you’re looking to fill in your holiday TV schedule, find the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas schedule here.