A year ago he was a college student. Now Nolan Burns is a graduate who recently married. But his post on a classic holiday movie is worth sharing once again. Thanks, Nolan. And best wishes on your new life with Katie.


School: Simpson University

Favorite Book: The Catcher in the Rye

Favorite Food: Mexican

Favorite Musician: Bob Marley

Favorite Place: Anywhere in California

Fun Activity: Guitar

This review first ran on Sept. 27, 2010.

I love the epic saga of George Bailey in the film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” played to near perfection by the legendary actor James Stewart. I have found a deep appreciation for films such as this that celebrate the joy of life. This feel-good movie has all the classic storytelling aspects of a small town hero persevering through the American dream. George Bailey dreams of having a great career and traveling the world; in one scene he proclaims to his future wife, Mary, “I’m shaking the dust off this crummy town and I’m gonna see the world.” However, the trend of George’s life is that he is somehow always forced to stay in his hometown of Bedford Falls, thus never fulfilling the dreams that he hoped to achieve. He ends up working for his family’s building and loan association, and protecting his community from the greedy and selfish banker, Mr. Henry Potter.

We then watch as George’s successes meet with his own insecurities. He struggles with the lies that tell him that he is worthless and his efforts have amounted to nothing. The conflict that he battles with is a common problem many people deal with. We tend to think that the grass will always be greener on the other side, where this movie tries to teach us that we should not look at life that way. The film’s riveting climax where George is given the opportunity of seeing how his town would have been had he never been born is so powerful. We finally see at the end how wonderful of a life George has. Therefore, we come away with a lesson to count our own blessings.

Though a general box office disappointment in its initial release, the movie was later popularized by being rerun on cable television in the 1970’s and is now considered one of greatest films of all time. It ironically stands a true testament to the film’s underdog theme. “It’s A Wonderful Life” is a timeless classic that has a great message of hope. I can be honest in saying that it is the only movie I have ever known to make me cry every time I watch it.

Thanks, Nolan. “It’s a Wonderful Life” certainly includes a lot of hard times, heartache and villainy. What always sticks with me is how the despicable banker, Mr. Potter, stays true to form and remains an unrepentant villain. Near the end, when George is near delirious with joy and wishes Potter a “Merry Christmas,” the banker says in effect, “Bah, humbug.”

Here is a clip that shows a little of the battle between George and Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore).