It's a Wonderful Life

Other mistake: Clarence tells George that his brother died at the age of 9 because he wasn't there to save him from falling through the ice, but when you see the tomb stone, it shows Harry Bailey was born in 1911 and died in 1919. That would make Harry only 7 or 8 years old.

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: In a scene near the end of the movie, George enters the Building and Loan with a Christmas wreath on his arm. On hearing that he has a phone call from his brother Harry, he tosses the wreath on a table and picks up the phone. In the next second, the wreath is back on his arm. (01:17:35)

Continuity mistake: The bouncer in Nick's bar has his right hand grasping old man Gower's right shoulder, but the next shot when the bouncer throws Gower out of the bar, the bouncer's left hand is now holding Gower's right shoulder.

Scott215

Continuity mistake: In a scene early on in the film, where George Bailey (James Stewart), Bert (Ward Bond) and Ernie (Frank Faylen) chat in the street, they suddenly stop due to the appearance of Violet (Gloria Grahame) in her "this is what I wear when I don't care how I look" dress. The camera cuts back to them and we see a dark haired woman in a hat pass in front of Ernie's taxi. As Violet crosses the street and gets honked at, we see another shot of the boys staring after her - and the dark haired woman passes in front of the taxi again.

Continuity mistake: When George Bailey crashes his car into the tree after leaving "Martini's Place", notice its position against the tree; an upward angle. In the ending scene when he's running home he cheers and taps the hood of the same car, now at a downward angle.

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Visible crew/equipment: When Mary leans across the drugstore counter to whisper in George's bad ear, there is a small piece of tape on the edge of the counter right in front of her hand, presumably to show the actors where to position themselves for the shot (the tape isn't visible in the other shots showing that same section of the counter). (00:06:55)

Continuity mistake: When George is giving Violet the character reference and loaning her money, the pipe suddenly disappears from George's mouth. (01:21:50)

Spiritfire

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When George first finds his brother's grave the death date is visible, but after arguing with Clarence he has to wipe snow from the base of the stone to reveal the date. (01:58:35)

Continuity mistake: When George crashes his car into the tree, the front of the vehicle is against the tree, but the next shot of George exiting the car shows the vehicle off to the side of the tree.

Scott215

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When George Bailey is going to jump off the bridge, watch the snow carefully. In one of the shots where Clarence is shouting in the water the snow all of a sudden quits, then it goes back to snowing when George jumps in.

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: During a confrontation between old man Potter and Peter Bailey at the Building and Loan, Potter's bodyguard stands behind the wheelchair on its left side. But in the close-up shot of Potter, the arms and hands of his bodyguard can be seen extending from the right side of the wheelchair. In the next full screen shot, the bodyguard is seen on the left side of the wheelchair once again.

Continuity mistake: In the scene at the railway station where George and Uncle Billy are waiting for Harry, Billy reaches in the bag of peanuts and pulls one out. As the camera angle changes slightly, Billy's hand is suddenly back in the bag and pulls out another peanut. Also the man in the background wearing coveralls and a locomotive cap changes his position, and has lost the pamphlet he had just placed in his back pocket. (00:35:20)

Spiritfire

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Other mistake: In the scene on the bridge, before Clarence jumps, George's hands do not indent the 2-3" of snow on the rail. In a later shot, after George jumps, you see two snow-less spots on the railing.

Continuity mistake: In the confrontation scene between Peter Bailey and Old Man Potter, Peter moves from behind his desk about four feet away from Potter, to sitting on the edge of the desk about 18 inches away from Potter. Also the coat on the coat rack behind Potter changes from hanging from the collar loop to just the collar itself. (00:09:25)

Spiritfire

Continuity mistake: When George is kicking stuff and knocking stuff over in his house (after yelling at his children), his hair is messed up. In the next shot, it's combed again.

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When Uncle Billy sees Potter in the bank, he walks to the teller window and there's no line, but a second later there's a line of a dozen or more people behind him.

Factual error: In the drugstore scene where Mary whispers in George's bad ear, there are several shots showing a Coca-Cola thermometer on the wall where George hangs his jacket. This particular scene was to have taken place in 1919, but this particular thermometer wasn't produced until 1939.

Revealing mistake: Near the beginning of the film, young George already has blood coming out of his ears prior to them being slapped by Mr. Gower.

manthabeat Premium member

Continuity mistake: When Bert the cop is struggling with Clarence and Clarence disappears, you can see Ernie's shadow which shows him pointing and gesturing with his hand before he actually does it. (01:56:20)

It's a Wonderful Life mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When the pharmacist hits young George, the amount of blood coming from George's ear changes back and forth between long shots and close ups.

pinkwafer

Mary: Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

More quotes from It's a Wonderful Life

Trivia: The opening credits list a copyright date of 1947, but distributor RKO rushed IAWL into theaters December 20 1946, to replace 'Sinbad the Sailor' whose Technicolor prints were not ready. It went into general release January 1947. The rush probably cost Capra and his partners their indie studio Liberty Films, whose first production opened in a record blizzard back east and failed to make back its money; it also wound up losing out at the Oscars against a powerful postwar drama 'The Best Years of Our Lives' rather than facing a much weaker Oscar field in 1947. Then again, confusion over its copyright date seems to have allowed it to slip into public domain for about 20 years from 1973, leading to its constant (cost-free) play at Christmas time, cementing its reputation as America's favorite holiday movie.

DougM

More trivia for It's a Wonderful Life

Question: Towards the end when George is at the bridge looking to jump in to kill himself it's snowing. However, after Clarence shows him what the world would have been like without him, he runs back to the bridge and it is not snowing. George is then begging Clarence to let him live again, and just like that it starts snowing just as it was when George was looking to jump in and kill himself. What did George's life have to do with changing the weather?

DrLoomis1978

Answer: It's just a cinematography thing. It's snowing in the real world, the weather is clear in the alternate world. When the snow resumes, it shows us that he's returned to his real life.

Brian Katcher

Answer: Most likely it had nothing to do with it. This is probably a plot inconsistency.

raywest Premium member

More questions & answers from It's a Wonderful Life

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.