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Some might argue that It's A Wonderful Life is an overplayed and/or overrated Christmas movie, while others consider it a must-watch for the holiday season. I consider myself of the latter group, and I'll admit to often enthusiastically encouraging people to check it out, especially if they've only seen it in parts, which seems to be a frequent thing for this film. NBC aired the movie earlier this week and the viewership numbers are up a bit from last year.
NBC played It's A Wonderful Life this Christmas Eve, airing it at 8:00 p.m. on Monday night, which marks the network's 34th primetime run of the classic 1946 Frank Capra film. The network reports that the film ranked #1 for the night among ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox in adults 18-49, bringing in a 1.5/6 in 18-49 and 5.6 million viewers. The broadcast earned the biggest overall audience for the movie since Saturday, December 10, 2005. Last year's broadcast, which also aired on December 24, took in 4.8 million viewers.
Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, It's A Wonderful Life tells the story of a man who dreams of leaving his cozy small town and traveling around the world. Of course, life has other plans for him and his dreams are repeatedly put on hold. A big part of the appeal of the film comes from the lesson George Bailey eventually learns about the impact his life and his choices have made on his family, his town and on a grander scale, the world.
As mentioned, It's a Wonderful Life is a staple of the holidays for many an American. But I'd argue that it's barely a Christmas movie, falling more along the lines of Gremlins, Die Hard and other great movies with a Christmas setting that don't actually focus on the holidays all that much. Regardless, it's a really is a wonderful movie with an inspirational story and well worth checking out if you're among the many who've only seen bits and pieces of it.