I thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes from the movie. Clarence the angel sums up the movie's basic premise, demonstrated dramatically when George Bailey has a chance to see how the world would have been different--and far worse off--if he had never been born.
Clarence: Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?
Mary knew a long time before George that they were destined for each other.
Little Mary: Is this the ear you can't hear on? [whispering in his bad ear] Little Mary: George Bailey, I'll love you 'til the day I die.
The photo below shows them getting re-acquainted some ten years later.
This nostalgic view of Bedford Falls at Christmastime is forever etched in my mind. Could anything disturb the tranquility of the season?
George Bailey: Just a minute - just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You're right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I'll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was - why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn't that right, Uncle Billy? He didn't save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what's wrong with that? Why - here, you're all businessmen here. Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers? You - you said - what'd you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken down that they... Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about... they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you'll ever be.
Zuzu Bailey: Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings. George Bailey: That's right, that's right. George Bailey: Attaboy, Clarence.