Skip navigation

The Core Curriculum

It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra, 1946 CE.

It’s a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra, 1946.

A Depression-era bank run, as panicked customers withdraw money from a bank they fear is about to fail.  Only the donation of the newlywed Baileys’ cash keeps the Savings and Loan solvent. But is this scene a critique of capitalism or a defense of it? The contrast between Potter’s conniving and the Baileys’ selflessness suggests individual greed as the root of injustice, while George’s passionate defense of the cooperative principle behind the Savings and Loan seems to indict the profit-motive itself.