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Get in the Holiday Spirit By Watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on NBC

Frank Capra's Christmas classic is required viewing for many families—here's how to get your annual dose of seasonal inspiration watching It's a Wonderful Life on NBC. 

By Elizabeth Logan & Jessica White

Dozens of holiday films make their way into rotation every year as we move ever deeper into November and December, but Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is a certified classic. 

The black and white movie, about a down-on-his-luck family man (James Stuart) who learns to love life again, has become one of the holiday's most famously beloved films for its heartwarming themes and compelling characters. For decades, families have gathered around the TV to watch the story of George Bailey's fateful Christmas Eve, garnering touching messages about gratitude and the magic of the season.

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Is it truly the holidays without an annual rewatch of It's A Wonderful Life? We certainly don't think so. Below, find out where to watch the cherished Christmas film so you can get your yearly dose of holiday inspiration. 

James Stewart and Donna Reed look out of the back window of vintage car

Where to watch It's A Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life airs on NBC on Saturday, December 24, from 8-11 p.m.

The history of It's A Wonderful Life

Most of us think of It's A Wonderful Life as a timeless classic, so some may be shocked to learn it was a box office disappointment that later became a hit.

When it opened in theaters in 1947, It's A Wonderful Life failed to recoup its budget and was dismissed by critics as sentimental fluff, according to The Independent. Though audiences started to come around in the decades that followed, it was in 1974 that the studio that owned the movie failed to renew the copyright in what would later be seen as a twist of fate.

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Television channels took the free content and ran with it, playing the movie repeatedly during the holiday season to fill airtime. Many generations who grew up on It's A Wonderful Life view the film not only as standout holiday fare, but as a cinematically-brilliant offering in and of itself. Much like the captivating George Bailey, the film itself got a new lease on life and has enjoyed many happy returns since. 

Is It's A Wonderful Life okay for kids?

The film deals with heavy subject matter surrounding suicidal ideation, but isn't graphic or violent, and ends on an inspiring note. Many children will probably be taken by the message of faith in humanity, and the magic of Christmas. But it is far from a snappy Grinch-like comedy. Kids probably won't be upset, but they might be distracted.

James Stewart as George Bailey, hugs actor Karolyn Grimes

Check out Peacock's holiday programming

After you've given It's a Wonderful Life its annual rewatch, there's so much holiday content available on NBC's streaming service, Peacock.

The Peacock Christmas Collection offers a rich library of holiday movies and classic TV episodes, including The Office's iconic "Christmas Party" episode and Hallmark holiday films, all perfect for snuggling up near the fireplace for some much-needed holiday cheer. 

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