We are pleased to share the Smithsonian's History Film Forum panel, held by the National Museum of American History, on Frank Capra's beloved 1946 classic, "It's a Wonderful Life." The panelists are Dr. Jason A. Higgins, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities and Oral History at Virginia Tech; Leo Landis, State Curator, State Historical Society of Iowa; Ryan Lintelman, entertainment curator, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History; and Nell Minow, assistant editor and film critic at RogerEbert.com and author of books and articles about media and culture. Making a special appearance on the panel is Donna Reed’s daughter Mary Owen, interviewed by Lintelman.
Roger Ebert awarded the film four stars and inducted it into his Great Movies series in 1999, writing, "What is remarkable about 'It's a Wonderful Life' is how well it holds up over the years; it's one of those ageless movies, like 'Casablanca' or 'The Third Man,' that improves with age. Some movies, even good ones, should only be seen once. When we know how they turn out, they've surrendered their mystery and appeal. Other movies can be viewed an indefinite number of times. Like great music, they improve with familiarity. 'It's a Wonderful Life' falls in the second category."