My verdict: This film has great characters and a great message. I still get teary when George Bailey's friends show up to help him out. The casting was impeccable and the acting was down-to-earth and believable. I also appreciate that this film actually has Christmas carols in it. The snow looks more convincing than it usually does in films. Having the angels be pulsating nebulae in space was kind of a weird choice, though.
 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's a Wonderful Life#Background.
 Read my review here.
 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank Capra#Film career (1934–1941).
 Ironically the movie that won the 1947 Oscar for Best Picture, Miracle on 34th Street (also a Christmas movie), was ready for release in December 1946, but was pushed back to May 1947 (read more at my review here).
 Republic Pictures, the current owner of It's a Wonderful Life, was later able to reestablish their copyright claim.
 It placed number 11 in the 1998 version of their list "100 Years…100 Movies" (see here) and number 20 in the 2007 version (see here).
 If you get the "two-disc collector's set" don't watch the extra "A personal remembrance: A special tribute to Frank Capra narrated by his son, Frank Capra Jr." It's not pleasant to see how decayed Frank Capra Sr. (or James Stewart, for that matter) had become. And he's so crass and bitter that it's hard to believe that such a wonderful film was created by that man.
 An early draft of the script had George Bailey reciting the Lord's Prayer at the end, but this was eventually replaced with George's friends helping out because Capra felt this latter ending had more emotional impact than the religious ending did. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's a Wonderful Life#Filming.
 At this time it was common for studios to drop crushed corn flakes to simulate snow, but this created a problem. The actors would walk on the corn flakes, making a crunching noise that the microphones would pick up, which meant that the sound for the film had to be re-recorded and dubbed. For It's a Wonderful Life RKO pictures actually made "chemical snow". See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's a Wonderful Life#Filming.
Wall Street Bank Run is by the United States Federal Government, available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crowd outside nyse.jpg.