It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) — PICK

The Wizard of Oz (1939) — PICK


Two classic Vatican film-list honorees from Paramount — both universal pop-culture touchstones and straight-up masterpieces — have pristine new 4K Ultra-HD + Blu-ray + Digital releases.

Both Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart picked It’s a Wonderful Life as their favorite of all their films. Variously celebrated or castigated both for its sentimentality and for its darkness, it’s a wiser film than many fans and detractors allow.

It’s a celebration of a heroic life that is far from typical, the absence of which leaves a hole more awful than most of us would leave. Yet George’s life isn’t simply useful to others; it is also rich and full.

The Wizard of Oz ranks among our earliest and most defining experiences of wonder and of fear, of fairy-tale joys and terrors, of the lure of the exotic and the comfort of home.

Like all fairy tales, this one has suffered countless attempts to interpret it, from every conceivable angle. Yet L. Frank Baum, in his introduction to the book, said it “was written solely to pleasure children of today.” Read more about both at


Caveat Spectator: It’s a Wonderful Life: Some tense family scenes; contemplation of suicide; brief inebriation. The Wizard of Oz: Some scary and menacing scenes. Both fine family viewing.