It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is a fantasy directed by Frank Capra about a kindly bank executive, George Bailey (James Stewart), who has always tried to help others, even at the cost of his own dreams and ambitions, until a financial setback plummets him to despair when he realizes that he is worth more dead than alive, but a stranger, Clarence (Henry Travers), helps him see how valuable his life is by showing him what it would have been like had he never been born.
Be grateful for your life; it beats the alternative.
Clarence: “Strange isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. And when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he? […] Your brother Harry Bailey broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine.”
George: “That’s a lie! Harry Bailey went to war. He got the Congressional Medal of Honor. He saved the lives of every man on that transport.”
Clarence: “Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry. You see George, you really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?”
- The George Bailey Technique: Mentally Erase Your Blessings for Greater Joy and Optimism (artofmanliness.com)