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Where to watch It’s a Wonderful Life

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.” These immortal words were uttered in the timeless classic It’s a Wonderful Life, and they still echo in virtually every living room in America around Christmastime. There are Christmas classics, like A Christmas Story and A Charlie Brown Christmas, and then there’s It’s a Wonderful Life, which is in a league of its own.

The 1946 Frank Capra movie is about a down-on-his-luck (OK, suicidal) man who discovers the worth his life has for his family and his town through a magical intervention by Clarence, an angel. But you already know that. Nearly everyone has watched It’s a Wonderful Life, and most will watch it again. It’s that good — and that essential for celebrating Christmas. But where can one watch it?

Where can you watch It’s a Wonderful Life?

Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey holding his wife in one arm and his daughter in another.

If you want to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and see James Stewart discover the magic of Christmas, and the joy being alive, there are two main platforms where you can watch it for free with a subscription. Amazon Prime Video and Plex are the current streaming homes for It’s a Wonderful Life.

Prime Video has a considerable library of its own with originals like The Tomorrow War, The Peripheral, Fleabag, Jack Ryan, and the worldwide hit The Lord of thee Rings: The Rings of Power. Prime’s library also includes classic films like the James Bond movies and The 40-Year Old Virgin.

Stream It’s a Wonderful Life on Prime Video

Plex gives you one place to find and access all the media that matters to you. From personal media on your own server, to free and on-demand movies and hows or live TV, to streaming music, you can enjoy it all in one app, on any device.

Stream It’s a Wonderful Life on Plex

A man looks at a woman in It's a Wonderful Life.

When does it stream for subscribers?

It’s a Wonderful Life is currently streaming on both platforms. Note that Prime Video has both the original black-and-white version and a colorized version. We advise you stick with the original.

How much does it cost?

For Amazon Prime Video, it costs $9 a month just for the Prime Video service — it’s also free with a Prime membership. For Plex, a monthly subscription costs $5, an annual subscription costs $40, and a lifetime subscription costs $120. You can also check out these details on what each plan has to offer.

A man talks to a cop in It's a Wonderful LIfe.

Where can I watch it for free?

For now, Plex is offering It’s a Wonderful Life for free on its platform without the need for any subscription. The only catch is the film occasionally pauses for advertisements.

Wait, isn’t this on broadcast TV too?

Yes! NBC traditionally airs the movie on Christmas Eve. The exact time for this broadcast has yet to be revealed, but stay tuned for further updates as more information is revealed.

Is It’s a Wonderful Life worth it?

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE | Official Trailer | Paramount Movies

Does an angel have wings? Yes, it’s worth it! It’s a Wonderful Life is dated in the best possible way. They don’t make movies like this anymore, and that’s just one of the many reasons why people like it. Despite its reputation as a squeaky clean Christmas classic, the film is surprisingly dark and brutal. The movie deals with depression and, for much of its runtime, is unsentimental.

James Stewart gives one of his best performances ever as George Bailey, who gets his wish that he was never born and sees the dark results. The movie also stars Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Ward Bond, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, and a young Gloria Grahame as Violet. The movie was directed by Frank Capra and runs 130 minutes.

The movie has a Rotten Tomatoes critics score of 93% and an audience score of 95%.

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Jason Struss
Section Editor, Entertainment
Jason is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast whose love for cinema, television, and cheap comic books has led him to…
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