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It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is a classic Christmas film directed by Frank Capra. The film has become a tradition in the United States television market, being aired annually during the Christmas holiday season.
The film's plot follows the life story of main character George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) as he grows up, marries, has a family, and rises to a position of prominence in his hometown, Bedford Falls, becoming the manager of the local Building & Loan bank. When a large quantity of the bank's money is misplaced and it appears that George is about to lose everything, he laments that he wishes that he had never been born. George's guardian angel, called Clarence, shows George what things would have been like for the town and people of Bedford Falls if George had never existed. George begs to have his real life back, which Clarence grants, and all turns out OK as George's friends donate more than enough money to replace the bank's missing funds and George gains a new appreciation for his life.
It's a Wonderful Life has been referred to several times in The Simpsons: in television episodes, comic books, and video games.
|"Simpson and Delilah"
|The scene where Homer runs joyfully through the streets of Springfield after finding that Dimoxinil has restored his hair is a parody of the scene near the end of the film where George Bailey gets his real life back and runs through the streets of Bedford Falls, saying "Hello!" to everyone and everything he meets.
|"When Flanders Failed"
|The scene where everybody gathers around with the Flanders family is a parody of the final scenes of It's a Wonderful Life.
|"The Last Temptation of Homer"
|Homer is visited by an angel disguised as Isaac Newton to show Homer what his life would be like without Marge. In the film, James Stewart's character is visited by an angel to show him what things would have been like for his loved ones and his hometown if he had never existed. The angel in Wonderful Life, however, is Clarence, Angel Second Class, working to get his wings. Newton is not a factor.
|"The PTA Disbands"
|The First Bank of Springfield manager who attempts to stop a run on the First Bank of Springfield (caused by one of Bart's pranks) looks and sounds like Jimmy Stewart. His lines as he speaks to the Springfield townspeople are also very similar to George Bailey's as he talks to the Bedford Falls Building & Loan customers. However, where George succeeds in calming the customers and averting the bank run, the Springfieldians misunderstand the bank manager's words and start a riot.
|"Miracle on Evergreen Terrace"
|The scene where the people of Springfield gather at the Simpson home and donate thousands of dollars to replace the Simpsons' lost Christmas presents is a reference to the scene at the end of the film where the people of Bedford Falls gather at the Bailey home and make contributions to replace the money that was lost from George Bailey's bank.
|"Natural Born Kissers"
|Bart and Lisa go on a treasure hunt and dig up a reel of film with a previously unseen alternate happy ending for Casablanca. The Old Jewish man sees them with the film, says that his studio made it and pays them to re-bury it, along with a reel of film labeled "It's a Wonderful Life (Killing Spree Ending)".
|"Grift of the Magi"
|Moe Szyslak gives the Simpsons a plump Christmas goose after having a dream where he saw what the world would be like if he never existed.
|"Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind"
|Much of the plotline and imagery are strongly reminiscent of the movie, especially the scene where Homer is on the bridge.
|"Holidays of Future Passed"
|Homer wonders how his life would have turned out if he didn't see the movie.
|"White Christmas Blues"
|It's a Wonderful Knife is a parody of It's a Wonderful Life.
|"Orange Is the New Yellow"
|When Homer's friends and neighbors appear bearing assorted foodstuffs (after Marge is sent to prison), it is a callback to the movie's end scene where the Bedford Falls townspeople donate money to replace the bank's missing funds. Homer, waxing emotional, says he's the richest man in town (as Harry Bailey says regarding George); also, the Christmas carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" plays briefly in the background, as it does through the scene in the movie.
|Mr. Burns mentions the It's a Wonderful Life film, with Burns saying his favorite character is Mr. Potter, the banker who ruins Christmas Eve. He also presumes the film ends with James Stewart committing suicide.