It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life quotes

66 total quotes (ID: 298)

Clarence Oddbody
George Bailey
Mary Hatch
Multiple Characters


Clarence: Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine.
George: That's a lie! Harry Bailey went to war! He got the Congressional Medal of Honor! He saved the lives of every man on that transport.
Clarence: Every man on that transport died! Harry wasn't there to save them, because you weren't there to save Harry. You see, George, you really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?

Dr. Campbell: I'm sure the whole board wishes to express its deep sorrow at the passing of Peter Bailey.
George: Thank you very much.
Dr. Campbell: It was his faith and devotion that are responsible for this organization.
Potter: I'll go further than that. I'll say that to the public Peter Bailey was the Building and Loan.
Billy: Oh, that's fine, Potter, coming from you, considering that you probably drove him to his grave.
Potter: Peter Bailey was not a business man. That's what killed him. Oh, I don't mean any disrespect to him, God rest his soul. He was a man of high ideals, so called, but ideals without common sense can ruin this town. Now, you take this loan here to Ernie Bishop...You know, that fellow that sits around all day on his brains in his taxi. You know...I happen to know the bank turned down this loan, but he comes here and we're building him a house worth five thousand dollars. Why?
George: Well, I handled that, Mr. Potter. You have all the papers there. His salary, insurance. I can personally vouch for his character.
Potter: A friend of yours?
George: Yes, sir.
Potter: You see, if you shoot pool with some employee here, you can come and borrow money. What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty, working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas. Now, I say...
George: Just a minute — just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You're right when you say my father was no business man. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I'll never know. But neither you nor anybody else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was...Why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn't that right, Uncle Billy? He didn't save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter. And what's wrong with that? Why...Here, you're all businessmen here. Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers? You...you said...What'd you say just a minute ago?...They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken-down that they...Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about...they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you'll ever be!
Potter: I'm not interested in your book. I'm talking about the Building and Loan.
George: I know very well what you're talking about. You're talking about something you can't get your fingers on, and it's galling you. That's what you're talking about, I know...Well, I've said too much. I...You're the Board here. You do what you want with this thing. Just one more thing, though. This town needs this measly one-horse institution if only to have some place where people can come without crawling to Potter.

George: [gazing eyes with Mary] Well, well, well.
Freddie Othello: Now, to get back to my story, see?
[in a trance, Mary hands Othello her drink, and George and Mary start dancing]
Freddie Othello: Hey, this is MY dance!
George: Oh, why don't you stop annoying poeple.
Freddie Othello: Well, I'm sorry - Hey!

George: Gosh, it's this old house. I don't know why we don't all have pneumonia. This drafty old barn! Might as well be living in a refrigerator. Why did we have to live here in the first place and stay around this measly, crummy old town?
Mary: George, what's wrong?
George: Wrong? Everything's wrong! You call this a happy family? Why did we have to have all these kids?

George: Hello, Bedford Falls! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan! Hey! Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!
Potter: Happy New Year to you — in jail. Go on home — they're waiting for you!

George: I'm in trouble, Mr. Potter. I need help. Through some sort of an accident my company's short in their accounts. The bank examiner's up there today. I've got to raise eight thousand dollars immediately.
Potter: Oh, so that's what the reporters wanted to talk to you about?
George: The reporters?
Potter: Yes. They called me up from your Building and Loan. Oh, there's a man over there from the D.A.'s office, too. He's looking for you.
George: Please help me, Mr. Potter. Help me, won't you please? Can't you see what it means to my family? I'll pay you any sort of a bonus on the loan... any interest. If you still want the Building and Loan, why I...
Potter: George, could it possibly be there's a slight discrepancy in the books?
george: No, sir. There's nothing wrong with the books. I've just misplaced eight thousand dollars. I can't find it anywhere.
Potter: You misplaced eight thousand dollars?
George: Yes, sir.
Potter: Have you notified the police?
George: No, sir. I didn't want the publicity. Harry's homecoming tomorrow...
Potter: They're going to believe that one. What've you been doing, George? Playing the market with the company's money?
George: No, sir. No, sir. I haven't.
Potter: What is it –– a woman, then? You know, it's all over town that you've been giving money to Violet Bick.
George: What?
Potter: Not that it makes any difference to me, but why did you come to me? Why don't you go to Sam Wainwright and ask him for the money?
George: I can't get hold of him. He's in Europe.
Potter: Well, what about all your other friends?
George: They don't have that kind of money, Mr. Potter. You know that. You're the only one in town that can help me.
Potter: I see. I've suddenly become quite important. What kind of security would I have, George? Have you got any stocks?
George: No, sir.
Potter: Bonds? Real estate? Collateral of any kind?
George: I have some life insurance, a fifteen thousand dollar policy.
Potter: Yes... how much is your equity in it?
George: Five hundred dollars.
Potter: Look at you. You used to be so cocky! You were going to go out and conquer the world! You once called me a warped, frustrated old man. What are you but a warped, frustrated young man? A miserable little clerk crawling in here on your hands and knees and begging for help. No securities –– no stocks –– no bonds –– nothing but a miserable little five hundred dollar equity in a life insurance policy. [laughs] You're worth more dead than alive. Why don't you go to the riff-raff you love so much and ask them to let you have eight thousand dollars? You know why? Because they'd run you out of town on a rail...But I'll tell you what I'm going to do for you, George. Since the state examiner is still here, as a stockholder of the Building and Loan, I'm going to swear out a warrant for your arrest. Misappropriation of funds –– manipulation –– malfeasance... [George gets up to leave] All right, George, go ahead. You can't hide in a little town like this.

George: Look here, Ernie, straighten me out here. I've got some bad liquor or something. Listen to me now. Now, you are Ernie Bishop, and you live in Bailey Park with your wife and kid? That's right, isn't it?
Ernie: You seen my wife?
George: Seen your wife? I've been to your house a hundred times.
Ernie: Look, bud, what's the idea? I live in a shack in Potter's Field and my wife ran away three years ago and took the kid. And I ain't never seen you before in my life.

George: Look, who are you?
Clarence: I told you, George. I'm your guardian angel.
George: Yeah, yeah, I know. You told me that. What else are you? What...are you a hypnotist?
Clarence: No, of course not.
George: Well, then, why am I seeing all these strange things?
Clarence: Don't you understand, George? It's because you were not born.
George: Then if I wasn't born, who am I?
Clarence: You're nobody. You have no identity.
George: What do you mean, no identity? My name's George Bailey.
Clarence: There is no George Bailey. You have no papers, no cards, no driver's license, no 4-F card, no insurance policy...They're not there, either.
George: What?
Clarence: Zuzu's petals. You've been given a great gift, George. A chance to see what the world would be like without you.

George: Mary Hatch, why in the world did you ever marry a guy like me?
Mary: To keep from being an old maid.
George: You could have married Sam Wainwright or anybody else in town.
Mary: I didn't want to marry anybody else in town. I want my baby to look like you.
George: You didn't even have a honeymoon. I promised you...Your what?
Mary: My baby.
George: You mean...Mary, you on the nest?
Mary: George Bailey lassoes stork.
Geaorge: Lassoes the stork! You mean you...What is it, a boy or a girl?
Mary: [nodding] Uh-huh.

George: Mary! Well, hello, Mr. Bank Examiner!
Carter: Mr. Bailey, there's a deficit!
George: I know. Eight thousand dollars.
Sheriff: George, I've got a little paper here.
George: I'll bet it's a warrant for my arrest. Isn't it wonderful? I'm going to jail! Merry Christmas! Where's Mary? Mary! Oh, look at this wonderful old drafty house. Mary! Mary! Have you...have you seen my wife?
Kids: Merry Christmas, Daddy!
George: Kids! Pete, Janie, Tommy! Let me look at you. [hugging them] Oh, I could eat you up. Where is your mother?
Pete: She went looking for you with Uncle Billy.
Zuzu: Daddy!
George: Zuzu! Zuzu, my little gingersnap! How do you feel?
Zuzu: Fine!
Janie: And not a smitch of temperature.
George: Not a smitch of tempe...[begins laughing] Hallelujah!

George: Mary... [picks up Mary's robe, which is lying on the ground] Okay, I give up. Where are you?
Mary: Over here in the hydrangea bushes.
George: Here you are. Catch. [He is about to throw her the robe, but reconsiders] Wait a minute. What am I doing? This is a very interesting situation.
Mary: Please give me my robe.
George: Hmmm...A man doesn't get in a situation like this every day.
Mary: I'd like to have my robe.
George: Not in Bedford Falls, anyway.
Mary: [thrashing around in the bushes] Ouch!
George: Gesundheit. This requires a little thought here.
Mary: George Bailey! Give me my robe!
George: I've heard about things like this, but I've never...
Mary: Shame on you. I'm going to tell your mother on you.
George: Oh, my mother's way up the corner there.
Mary: I'll call the police!
George: They're way downtown. They'd be on my side, too.
Mary: Then I'm going to scream!
George: Maybe I could sell tickets. No, no... Let's see. No, the point is, in order to get this robe...I've got it! I'll make a deal with you, Mary.

George: Mother...
Ma Bailey: Mother? What do you want?
George: Mother, this is George. I thought sure you'd remember me.
Ma Bailey: George who? If you're looking for a room there's no vacancy.
George: Oh, Mother, Mother, please help me. Something terrible's happened to me. I don't know what it is. Something's happened to everybody. Please let me come in. Keep me here until I get over it.
Ma Bailey: Get over what? I don't take in strangers unless they're sent here by somebody I know.
George: Well, I know everybody you know. Your brother-in-law, Uncle Billy.
Ma Bailey: You know him?
George: Well, sure I do.
Ma Bailey: When'd you see him last?
George: Today, over at the house.
Ma Bailey: That's a lie. He's been in the insane asylum ever since he lost his business. And if you ask me, that's where you belong.

George: Oh, hello, Nick. Hey, where's Martini?
Nick: You want a martini?
George: No, no, Martini. Your boss. Where is he?
Nick: Look, I'm the boss. You want a drink or don't you?
George: Okay...all right. Double bourbon, quick, huh?
Nick: Okay. [to Clarence] What's yours?
Clarence: I was just thinking...It's been so long since I...
Nick: Look, mister, I'm standing here waiting for you to make up your mind.
Clarence: That's a good man. I was just thinking of a flaming rum punch. No, it's not cold enough for that. Not nearly cold enough...Wait a minute...wait a minute...Mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves. Off with you, me lad, and be lively!
Nick: Hey, look mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast. And we don't need any characters around to give the joint atmosphere. Is that clear? Or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?
Clarence: [to George] What's he talking about?
George: Nick –– Nick, just give him the same as mine. He's okay.
Nick: Okay.
George: What's the matter with him? I never saw Nick act like that before.
Clarence: You'll see a lot of strange things from now on.

George: Oh, say... Hey... where's my car?
Man: I beg your pardon?
George: My car, my car. I'm the fellow that owns the car that ran into your tree.
Man: What tree?
George: What do you mean, what tree? This tree. Here, I ran into it. Cut a big gash in the side of it here.
Man: [after examining the tree and finding no damage] You must mean two other trees. You had me worried. One of the oldest trees in Pottersville.
George: Pottersville? Why, you mean Bedford Falls.
Man: I mean Pottersville. Don't you think I know where I live? What's the matter with you?
[The man leaves]
George: Oh, I don't know. Either I'm off my nut, or he is... [to Clarence] or you are!
Clarence: [laughs] It isn't me!
George: Well, maybe I left the car up at Martini's. Well, come on, Gabriel.
Clarence: Clarence!

George: Thank you, sir. Quite a cigar, Mr. Potter.
Potter: You like it? I'll send you a box.
George: Well, I... I suppose I'll find out sooner or later, but just what exactly did you want to see me about?
Potter: [laughs] George, now that's just what I like so much about you. George, I'm an old man, and most people hate me. But I don't like them either, so that makes it all even. You know just as well as I do that I run practically everything in this town but the Bailey Building and Loan. You know, also, that for a number of years I've been trying to get control of it... or kill it. But I haven't been able to do it. You have been stopping me. In fact, you have beaten me, George, and as anyone in this county can tell you, that takes some doing. Take during the depression, for instance. You and I were the only ones that kept our heads. You saved the Building and Loan, and I saved all the rest.
George: Yes. Well, most people say you stole all the rest.
Potter: The envious ones say that, George, the suckers. Now, I have stated my side very frankly. Now, let's look at your side. Young man, twenty-seven,twenty-eight... married, making, say... forty a week.
George: Forty-five!
Potter: Forty-five. Forty-five. Out of which, after supporting your mother, and paying your bills, you're able to keep, say, ten, if you skimp. A child or two comes along, and you won't even be able to save the ten. Now, if this young man of twenty-eight was a common, ordinary yokel, I'd say he was doing fine. But George Bailey is not a common, ordinary yokel. He's an intelligent, smart, ambitious young man — who hates his job –– who hates the Building and Loan almost as much as I do. A young man who's been dying to get out on his own ever since he was born. A young man... the smartest one of the crowd, mind you, a young man who has to sit by and watch his friends go places, because he's trapped. Yes, sir, trapped into frittering his life away playing nursemaid to a lot of garlic-eaters. Do I paint a correct picture, or do I exaggerate?
George: Now what's your point, Mr. Potter?
Potter: My point? My point is, I want to hire you.
George: Hire me?
Potter: I want you to manage my affairs, run my properties. George, I'll start you out at twenty thousand dollars a year.
George: Twenty thou... twenty thousand dollars a year?
Potter: You wouldn't mind living in the nicest house in town, buying your wife a lot of fine clothes, a couple of business trips to New York a year, maybe once in a while Europe. You wouldn't mind that, would you, George?
George: Would I? You're not talking to somebody else around here, are you? You know, this is me, you remember me? George Bailey.
Potter: Oh, yes, George Bailey. Whose ship has just come in –– providing he has brains enough to climb aboard.
George: Well, what about the Building and Loan?
Potter: Oh, confound it, man, are you afraid of success? I'm offering you a three year contract at twenty thousand dollars a year, starting today. Is it a deal or isn't it?
George: Well, Mr. Potter, I... I... I know I ought to jump at the chance, but I... I just... I wonder if it would be possible for you to give me twenty-four hours to think it over?
Potter: Sure, sure, sure. You go on home and talk about it to your wife.
George: I'd like to do that.
Potter: In the meantime, I'll draw up the papers.
George: All right, sir.
Potter: Okay, George?
George: [shaking Potter's hand] Okay, Mr. Potter. [drops Potter's hand] No... no... no... no, now wait a minute, here! I don't have to talk to anybody! I know right now, and the answer is no!NO! Doggone it!You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well, it doesn't, Mr. Potter! In the... in thewhole vast configuration of things, I'd say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider. You... [to Potter's assistant] And that goes for you too! [to Potter's secretary] And it goes for you too!