Who’s The Real Hero of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life?’| National Catholic Register

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Clarence opens our eyes to the reality that our virtuous actions are not done in a vacuum; they help heal the world.

Even after repeated viewings, It’s A Wonderful Life refuses to grow stale in our hearts. The film is so rich that we can discover something in the tenth viewing we failed to notice in the ninth. Perhaps that is because — though each frame of the film remains identical — we have grown. Each viewing prompts new ideas and questions. Lately, I have begun to ponder the question: Who is the hero of the movie?

Over the years, I have pridefully identified with George Bailey. After all, we both have big families; we both worked in the financial services industry in tiny towns; we both served the little guy, rather than mega-millionaires and corporate titans. George is the hero, right?

Harry Bailey was a bona fide war hero, risking his life to save others. You can make a strong argument for Harry.

What about Mr. Peter Bailey? From his perspective, the movie begins in medias res, but Peter Bailey has stood up to Mr. Potter for many years before George ever came on the scene. Even after Peter Bailey passed away, George continued to look to him for guidance. What about Mrs. Bailey, who raised her sons to be heroes? She also urged George to call upon Mary Hatch one evening — an encounter that led to a marriage blessed with many children.

The argument has also been made that Mary is the hero. Again, there’s a strong case.

It is the rare human being who — with an emphatic smile — sacrifices her honeymoon money to appease an unruly crowd. In a world focused on money, Mary — a person of uncommon beauty and exceptional virtue — was never motivated by wealth. Whenever life handed Mary lemons, she turned around and cheerfully made lemonade by the gallon.

So there we go. For the question of best hero in the film, our multiple-choice test is ready, consisting of the possible answers provided above. It’s pretty simple.

Who’s The Real Hero of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life?’| National Catholic Register

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