Monday, December 12, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life: Short Story to Film

It's a Wonderful Life, the beloved Christmas movie, is based on a short story by Philip Van Doren Stern called The Greatest Gift. Stern wrote the dream-inspired, 4,000-word short story in 1943, but he couldn't find a publisher. So, he had 200 copies printed and sent them out as Christmas cards that year.

One of these "Christmas cards" eventually ended up in the hands of Frank Capra who excitedly purchased movie rights for $10,000 in 1945. Capra adapted it into the film It's a Wonderful Life starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore which was released in 1946. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, but unfortunately, didn't take home an Oscar.

The story was first published as a book in 1944, with illustrations by Rafaello Busoni, and the story appeared in the January 1945 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine under the title The Man Who Was Never Born.


  1. Wow! I had no idea about the story behind this holiday favorite. What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to share it with family and friends over the holidays. :)


  2. Good to know about this ;) Thanks for the trivia! ^_^ Have a wonderful Christmas!


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