10 Surprising Things You Never Knew About ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’


The holiday season is perfect for spending time with your family, and the best part is that each and every family has their own special way of celebrating.

Some look forward to picking out the Christmas tree together on a chilly day and arguing about which one is best while bundled up in hats, scarves, and fluffy mittens. Other families like to get all dressed up to see the town’s local holiday concert. Others still would rather stay in their pajamas and listen to their favorite songs while sipping hot cocoa.

No matter how you celebrate this time of year, one thing is for sure: holiday movies will be playing on the TV screen for the whole month. And what’s possibly the most iconic holiday film of all time?

That would be It’s a Wonderful Life, of course!

These 10 secrets about the movie will give you a glimpse into what really went on while it was in the making.

Did you know any of these things before? Did you watch this film each year when you were growing up? Please SHARE with your family and friends on Facebook just in time for the holiday-movie marathons!

1. Cary Grant Was Meant To Play George Bailey30

When the movie rights were originally purchased, Grant was the man in mind for the lead. However, as often happens, the script passed through many hands and switched ownership over time. RKO sold the rights to Frank Capra, who immediately knew he wanted Jimmy Stewart to George play Bailey.

2. Donna Reed Really Did Break That Window


Producers had hired a marksman to shoot out the window in the scene where Mary Hatch throws a rock through the window of the Granville house, but Reed played softball when she was younger and was able to hit the pane right in the bullseye on her own.

3. The Baby Photo Is The Real Deal


Jimmy Stewart’s parents donated a picture of their son at 6 months old to use as a prop on set.

4. It Was Filmed In A Heat Wave


While the film takes place during Christmastime, the cast and crew were all extremely hot for most of the shoot. You can see Jimmy Stewart visibly sweating in the bridge scene, and director Frank Capra had to give everyone a day off to get relief from the heat.

5. The Set For Bedford Falls Was Basically A Whole Town


The set for this movie was huge, filmed on the 89-acre RKO movie ranch. Main Street stretched for three whole city blocks, and there were 75 stores and buildings lining the entire thing. Capra even added 20 full-grown oak trees to the set. The alternate universe of this movie was so much more than a studio.

6. The Slap To Little George’s Face Was Real


Robert J. Anderson, who played little George, revealed that the slaps H.B. Warner (Mr. Grower) gave him were real — and the blow really did cause his ear to bleed. But after the scene was over, Warner rushed to comfort the boy.

7. The Film Got Famous Because Of A Clerical Error


The film was a box-office flop when it first came out. However, a clerical error at the copyright office of the rights holder made it so any station could air the film if it could get its hands on a copy. It was broadcast dozens of times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it’s since become a holiday treasure.

8. A Clumsy Stagehand Made His Way Into The Film


Well, not visually, but in the scene where Uncle Billy (played by Thomas Mitchell) leaves Bailey home alone, the stagehand dropped a tray of props on the ground, making the loud clatter that sounds as if Uncle Billy stumbled into trash cans. Mitchell shouted out “I’m all right! I’m OK!” after Stewart couldn’t hold in his laughter. Capra decided to keep the improvised moment in the final cut.

9. Forty-Two Angels Got Their Wings


That is, if Clarence was right about angels getting their wings when a bell rings. Throughout the film, exactly 42 bells are heard ringing.

10. Animals Ventured Throughout The Set


Cats, dogs, and pigeons were free to roam around the huge set, adding to the feeling that it really was an inhabited and homey town.

Did we miss any fun facts about this beloved movie? Let us know in the comments and please SHARE with family and friends!