+3 votes
in Movies by

In the Frank Capra's 1946 classic film, "It's A Wonderful Life", there are things about George Bailey that puzzle me.

In one scenario, Mr. Potter offers him a 3-year contract at $20,000/year (total of $60,000) and, at first, George considers taking it after wanting 24 hours to think it over.  But, after George shakes Potter's hand, he suddenly turns it down and blows his chance at making it big.

In another scenario, Clarence (George's guardian angel) repeatedly tells him why things are different after he makes a wish to never have been born.  But, George refuses to accept what Clarence tells him and thinks he's going crazy.  He can't understand why everything is different...Martini's bar is now Nick's bar and nobody knows who he is (including his own mother)...even though Clarence already told him, time and time again.

As I said before, what's up with him?  For those of you who have seen this movie, can you answer this question?  Thanks in advance.

3 Answers

+2 votes

1) Potter was offering to buy out the Bailey Savings & Loan, not just offering George a job.

He shook his hand to say thank you for the offer but no, wishing to retain the business that his father had left him.

2) If I told you, "You're not only dead but were never born to begin with", you wouldn't exactly believe me either. No matter how many things were different.

My take on this classic film? George should have locked Uncle Billy in a basement somewhere, because seemingly all of his problems stemmed from that stupid ******* leaving all the bank deposits in Potter's office.

I would also like to see an alternative take on the story where George is tickled to death over the new situation, got a job with Potter (eventually taking over his business), running off with the hottest chick in town and never having any kids. It's a Wonderful Life!


1) Potter mentioned that George hates the Bailey Building & Loan almost as much as he does himself.  Sure, he would give that up, but think how much money he could make.  He could travel the world, buy things for his wife and kids, and many other things he wanted to do...had he accepted Potter's offer.  As Potter himself said to George, "Do I paint a clear enough picture or do I exaggerate?"

2) How else could one explain why everything is different if you can't accept that your own guardian angel tells you you were never born?  If I made a wish to never be born and it was granted, the things that would change would be very drastic and I'd believe anything my guardian angel tells me.  While most people don't believe in angels (and I'm not saying you don't), everyone has their own guardian angel, though we almost never see them.  George not only had the chance to see his angel, but his granted his wish to never have been born.

Clarence: "You got your wish.  You've never been born."  His deaf ear now hears clearly.  His lip stops bleeding.  His car that he had crashed into the tree is gone.  Bedford Falls is now Pottersville.  And, everything else has changed so much.  Clarence: "You've been given a great gift, George.  The chance to see what the world would be like without you."  If all that happened to me, I'd believe it.  Why else would everything be different?  You get what I'm saying?


Sorry, I'd still call "bullshit".


@ David:

(1) Sure, George hates the work of running Bailey Building and Loan, and he is momentarily tempted by Potter's offer, but then refuses because he knows Potter would screw the people that have loans with Bailey.

(2) Um... if George had never been born, how is it possible that he is even talking to Clarence?  Or is George supposed to be a pre-existent spirit that never made it to Earth? But if he never made it to Earth, how could he have all his earthly memories?  Parallel universes perhaps, and a shift was made to one in which he was never born, but George still somehow remembers the other universe in which he WAS born? :ermm:

+3 votes

Like XIX said.  :)

+1 vote

Are you referring to the old classic movie with James Steward?

It is a Christmas story - a fantasy transposing the characters into an eventuality world, and the "if George Bailey did not exist" was described and shown like a movie by George's guardian angel (who had to earn his wings - so, George was not remembering his "non-existence" by himself; he was shown what could have happened if he hadn't existed).

Emphasis is put on helping other people (namely the weaker ones), on honesty, loyalty, giving and on love of the next.