I watched it Christmas eve with my two sons, age 9 and 11 who had never seen it before. I myself have probably not watched it all the way through in several years.
I really enjoyed watching them see it for the first time, especially the 11yo.
My 11yo had many questions about the economics of the time, wondering what was a “Building and Loan” and a run on the bank, etc. Since we watched it on NBC we had the commercial time to explain that stuff, lol.
He kept wanting to know when it was going to be a “Christmas movie”. (I had forgotten the first 2 thirds of the movie doesn’t take place at Christmas time!)
He got that Potter was a bad guy pretty quickly but was shocked and furiously incensed when he realized that he was going to keep Uncle Billy’s money and not say anything about it. He was practically in tears about it!
The best part though was watching him go through the same transition that George Bailey did. He was more and more discouraged as he realized that George was never going to get out of Bedford Falls, and that he kept giving up his chances to do so for the sake of everyone else.
Then he kept asking why it was called “It’s a Wonderful Life” because he thought that George’s life was pretty awful, especially on that fateful Christmas Eve when the money gets lost.
But then, oh how fantastic to watch him see what would have happened if George Bailey had never been born, and how profoundly grateful and joy-filled George was when he got it all back, even the warrant for his arrest!
I was in tears myself when he gets home again, and all the friends and family George helped over his life came to him when he needed it, giving the lie to Potter who said they’d run him out of town on a rail.
Beautiful, beautiful movie! Wonderful Christmas eve for my family!