'It's a Wonderful Life': How to Watch, When and What Channels This Christmas

The annual screenings of It's A Wonderful Life on Friday, but even if you miss it, there are still plenty of opportunities to watch the Christmas classic this season. The first broadcast of the 1946 movie this season is on NBCUniversal's cable channel USA Network on Friday at 8 p.m. ET. Although NBCUniversal still has broadcasting rights to the film, you can also stream it on Amazon Prime with a subscription.

USA will also run It's A Wonderful Life on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. ET. NBC will air it on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET. E! Network, another NBCUniversal cable channel, will air an all-day marathon of the movie on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25, starting at 6 a.m. ET, notes TV Guide. In addition, the movie is available to stream with an Amazon Prime subscription. Be sure to watch it in its original black and white form, since Amazon also has the awful computer colorized version as well.

It's A Wonderful Life was directed by Frank Capra and was James Stewart's first film after he served in World War II. Stewart stars as George Bailey, a beloved man living in a small town whose life goes awry thanks to a careless mistake by his uncle. George considers taking his own life, but his angel visits to show him what Bedford Falls would look like without him, leading to him reconsidering the decision. The all-star cast is packed with some of the best in Hollywood at the time, including Donna Reed, Thomas Mitchell, Lionel Barrymore, Gloria Grahame, Henry Travers, Ward Bond, and Beulah Bondi.

When It's a Wonderful Life hit theaters, it was not meant with the classic status it now holds. Thanks to repeated airings on television, the movie has since become regarded as a classic. In 1990, it was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress and added to the National Film Registry. The movie was recently released on 4K UHD Blu-ray and is available to buy or rent on YouTube, iTunes, and Google Play.

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On Sunday, Pete Davidson, Maude Apatow, Bill Pullman, Richard Kind, B.D. Wong, Michael Shannon, Diedrich Bader, Carol Kane, Mia Farrow, and Ed Begley Jr. will all take part in a virtual table read of the It's A Wonderful Life script. Karolyn Grimes, the last surviving member of the film's cast, will also participate. The event will raise funds for The Ed Asner Family Center. Tickets are still available here.