What's the Difference between The Greatest Gift the Book and It's a Wonderful Life the Movie?


The Greatest Gift

Released: 1944
Author: Philip Van Doren Stern

It's a Wonderful Life

Released: 1946
Director: Frank Capra
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In the Book In the Movie
George Pratt
George Bailey
Portrayed by: James Stewart
The Stranger
Portrayed by: Henry Travers
Mary Thatcher
Mary Hatch
Portrayed by: Donna Reed
It's a Wonderful Life Book vs Movie
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This Spoils the Ending
In the Book In the Movie
   The book starts with George Pratt getting ready to jump into the icy river to kill himself. The film starts with an angel sent to Earth to save George Bailey. The film shows George's life from a young boy; friendship with Mary, saving his brother's life, getting married and foregoing his honeymoon to save the Building and Loan and his plea to Mr. Potter for help prior to running away to kill himself.
   George Pratt is considering jumping into the icy river to kill himself. The Stranger interrupts him and grants George's wish that he was never born. George Bailey runs away from his confrontation with Mr. Potter after losing $8000 of the Building and Loan's money. As his life insurance makes him worth more alive than dead, he considers jumping into the icy river. Clarence jumps in which prompts George to save him. Clarence grants George's wish that he was never born.
   After The Stranger grants George's wish to have never been born, he gives George a satchel with brushes to that he can pretend to be a salesman and not get doors slammed in his face. The Stranger disappears as soon as George turns his back. Clarence accompanies George back into town when they go to a bar. George sees that everyone has changed.
   George sees the old tree on Hank Biddle's property that he had damaged with his car a while back. It is no longer damaged. George does not see his old Model T car that he had crashed into the tree on his way to kill himself. A man passing by tells him the tree is the oldest one in Pottersvile (the town is no longer Bedford Falls).
   As George passes the bank, he notices that it is dark and for sale. A real estate agent tells George that the bank building is for sale as Marty Jenkins had stolen $50,000 from the bank causing it to fail and nearly ruin the town. Marty got the bank job that George had in the original timeline. George sees that the building and loan was closed years ago (when his dad died) and the town has become a cesspool of gambling and prostitution run by Mr. Potter.
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