5 Little-Known Facts About Iconic Christmas Film 'It's A Wonderful Life'


December 7, 2017 14:05 By Fabiosa

It's hard to imagine Winter holidays without Frank Carpa's iconic It's A Wonderful Life playing on TV. The 1946's dramatic story of a small-town American family became the favorite Christmas tale about love, kindness, and hope for a better future for many generations. But even more than 70 years later, there are still some facts not many people know about the legendary film. And today, we are going to tell you about 5 little-known but interesting facts about It's A Wonderful Life.


1. It wasn't meant to be a Christmas movie

Today, most people see It's A Wonderful Life as the perfect Christmas story filled with the holiday spirit and important lessons for the viewers of all generations. But when working on the film, Frank Capra was not thinking of it as just a holiday movie.

Back in 1984, the legendary director recalled his first impression about the plot in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

I didn't even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.


2. Little ZuZu did not watch the movie until she was 40

Charming little ZuZu was one of the best things about the film. People remember her for saying the final line of the movie:

Look Daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.

Yet it took Karolyn Grimes – the actress who played the youngest Bailey kid – more than three decades to finally watch it, reports Vanity Fair.

Grimes had a pretty hard life and remained unaware of her own fame for many years. Only when the film turned into a Christmas trademark on television and journalists appeared at her doors asking for interviews, the former child actress realized just how popular the old black and white movie was.

3. Seneca Falls, New York, may be the prototype of Bedford Falls

Since the mid-nineties, a small New York town Seneca Falls tries to prove its relation to Frank Capra's legendary work. It all began with a local reporter claiming they have found a connection between the two towns. Among the main evidence of the relation, there is a story told by a Seneca Falls barber claiming he cut the legendary director's hair back in 1945.

Today, the town is often called the Real Bedford Falls and has a festival and a museum dedicated to the black and white classics.

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4. They planted 20 full-grown oak trees on the set

While Seneca Falls, New York, claims to be the inspiration for the film's main location, the actual streets of Bedford Falls were built in Culver City, California. The set included a 300-yard-long main street of the town and approximately 75 buildings. To make the landscape look more realistic, the creators used animals – cats, dogs, and pigeons – and even planted 20 full-grown oak trees.

5. The initial idea was found on a Christmas card

The initial story, written by Philip Van Doren Stern back in 1939, was not released as a book because the writer could not find a publisher for it. Instead, he put the story on a greeting card and made 200 copies which he later sent to some of his friends.

Film producer, David Hempstead, received one of those cards and, in fact, was the first director to make a film based on the story. But his version of The Greatest Gift was not as successful as Capra's adaptation.


What else to watch during the Christmas holidays?

If watching the black and white classics about the Bailey family is not on your Christmas eve to-do list, we have a few other suggestions on the matter.

For a great night with kids and friends, you can pick the legendary Home Alone series.


Jingle All the Way will also help you feel that Christmas spirit.


And if you are a romantic soul, don't forget to add Richard Curtis' Love Actually to the list.


For having a good laugh with friends and family, you can also choose National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.


And for the fans of Stephen Spielberg's movies, the legendary Gremlins would be a perfect choice.


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