George Bailey

George Bailey

    It's A Wonderful Life
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… in Bedford Falls, New York. He’s never left. Why should he? You know, they charge for meals and rent in the city just the same as they do in Bedford Falls. Besides, he’s important to this town. People count on him. He started Bailey Park, an affordable housing project, when he could’ve taken more lucrative job opportunities. He could’ve been traveling in Europe, but his loyalties lay with Bedford Falls.

Profession… manager of the Building and Loan company. George gives loans to working people so they can buy their homes. It wasn't exactly the job he wanted, but he took it because it needed to be done. He wanted a job that would have let him travel ideally. But most of those jobs needed some sort of experience. All he’d experienced was Bedford Falls.

Interests… getting Mr. Potter to help him keep his housing developments stable. He can't kick the poor people of Bedford Falls out of their homes. Times are bad. A lot of these people are out of work. He can't foreclose on them. These families have children. Most of his free time goes to helping people who don't have it as well as he does.

Relationship Status… married. And it’s one of the few things that keeps George going. When he saw what the world would've been like without him, the only thing he wanted was to get back to his wife Mary and the kids. Mary has been disappointed with him lately. She says she's felt like a bootlegger's wife. All he wants is for her to be happy.

Challenge… finding some worth in his existence. What is he but a miserable little clerk crawling on his hands and knees begging for help? No securities, no stocks, no bonds – nothing but a miserable little five hundred dollar equity in a life insurance policy. All he’s ever done for these townspeople is sacrifice himself, but if he asked them for help at a time like this they would run him out of town.

Personality… generous, but extremely depressed. George doesn’t know what his life is worth when all he does is complicate the lives of those around him. He thinks if it hadn't been for him, everybody'd be a lot better off. No one ever gives thought to what he wants, or what his dreams and ambitions were before he had to settle down. He’s messed up one time too many.


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