'It's A Wonderful Life': How to Watch Tonight, What Time and Channel

Christmas wouldn't be as magical without It's a Wonderful Life. The classic Frank Capra film, which was released in 1947, follows George Bailey, whose life is riddled with problems. Due to his life's circumstances, he considers ending it all, especially as the Christmas blues looms. Just as he feels like can't get any worse and is set to jump from a bridge, he's visited by a guardian angel Clarence, who shows George what his town would have looked like if it hadn't been for all his good deeds over the years.

In November, NBC announced the timeless story will be shown twice in December, including tonight on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. ET on the network. The film was almost James Stewart's final movie. While speaking with the Chicago Tribune, author Robert Matzen — who wrote Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe — shared that Stewart became disenfranchised with the movie business and was ready to retire. 

"While he was making that film, he was questioning the superficiality of Hollywood and acting in general, and Lionel Barrymore (who plays Mr. Potter) said to him, 'So, are you saying it's more worthwhile to drop bombs on people than to entertain them?' And that really hit Stewart and was one of the things that turned him around and made him think, 'OK, I do have an important role and there are things to be done.'" 

It appears the movie revived his faith and love of the industry, adding more to the notion that Christmas brings out the magic of the world. Stewart also believed there were similarities between he and his character, with Matzen saying, "There's a scene in the movie where he questions his sanity and he's got this wild look about him. That's one scene that really struck me, watching it on the big screen."

Many have requested a sequel. Karolyn Grimes, one of the last surviving members of the cast, said she would be interested in seeing an update regarding the family in the film 75 years after the classic opened in theaters. "I think a sequel might be kind of fun," Grimes, 81, told the New York Daily News in November. She said a sequel would tell the "rest of the story" of George Bailey's family. "The kids would grow up and they'd have lives that are different. I think there's a story there," she explained. However, Grimes said she might be "a little long in the tooth" to participate in the film herself.

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It's a Wonderful Life is also available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD. There are several streaming options available for the film, including Amazon Prime Video.