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It's a Wonderful Life Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'It's a Wonderful Life' is a 1946 classic Christmas film by director Frank Capra that examines how a man's life has benefited the people around him. This resource offers discussion questions about this movie.

It's a Wonderful Life

Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is a critically-acclaimed, timeless film starring James Stewart and Donna Reed about George Bailey, a businessman who has fallen on hard times and considers suicide until an angel, Clarence, reveals to George how much his family and community have benefited from his existence. The movie's universal themes of community, regret, and spirituality continue to resonate with audiences more than 70 years after the film's release. The following questions may be used with secondary classrooms watching this film.

George's Childhood

  • Describe young George's hopes and dreams for his future. What are your dreams for your future? How have they changed since you were a young child? Why did they change?
  • Describe George's hearing loss. How has it negatively impacted George's life? What would have happened if George had not been in the situation that resulted in his hearing loss? What regrets, if any, do you think George has about this incident? What are some mixed feelings you might experience if helping someone else resulted in a permanent impairment?
  • Why do you think the incident in Mr. Gower's drug store is significant? What does this scene reveal about George's character? Connect this to a time you were blamed for someone else's mistake. How did you react?
  • What adjectives would you use to characterize George's relationship with his father and his Uncle Billy? What are some challenges Pa Bailey and Uncle Billy face? If you were casting a remake of this film, who would play the role of Henry Potter? Why?

George's Adulthood

  • What are some specific events that interfere with George's plans? Who benefits from George's sacrifice? Would you make the same decisions? Explain your answer.
  • What were George and Mary's first impressions of each other? What are some commonalities that make them compatible? What does their honeymoon reveal about them and their relationship? What are the top three traits you are looking for in a long-term romantic interest? Why are these things important?
  • Compare George's heroism to Harry's. Why do you think one of them is more celebrated than the other? What is your definition of a hero? Who are your heroes?

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