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I posted something the other day about how much I like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and over the past 18 months, I’ve posted several things about “Star Wars,” and last night I realized something:
“It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Star Wars” are basically the same movie:
It’s a Wonderful Life: George Bailey is a small-town boy who can’t wait to leave home and travel around the world.
Star Wars: Luke Skywalker is a small-town boy who can’t wait to leave home and travel throughout the galaxy.
It’s a Wonderful Life: George postpones college to help his father with the family’s building and loan.
Star Wars: Luke postpones going to the academy to help his uncle with the family farm.
It’s a Wonderful Life: When it’s time for George to finally leave, George’s father asks him to stay a while longer.
Star Wars: When it’s time for Luke to finally leave, Luke’s uncle asks him to stay a while longer.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Soon after talking with George about leaving home, George’s father dies of a heart attack.
Star Wars: Soon after talking with Luke about leaving home, Luke’s aunt and uncle are killed in a stormtrooper attack.
It’s a Wonderful Life: With his father gone, George has no choice but to run a building and loan, like his father.
Star Wars: With his aunt and uncle gone, Luke has no choice but to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi Knight, like his father.
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It’s a Wonderful Life: George’s family business is threatened Potter, whose haranguing helped drive George’s father to the grave.
Star Wars: Luke’s friends in the rebellion are threatened by Vader, who betrayed and murdered Luke’s father (kind of).
It’s a Wonderful Life: George is jealous of his friend, Sam Wainwright, who used to date George’s wife, Mary.
Star Wars: Luke his jealous of his friend, Han Solo, who’d like to, um, “date” Princess Leia.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Potter tries to destroy the Bailey Building and Loan Association by hiring George away.
Star Wars: Vader tries to destroy the Jedi Knights by turning Luke to the Dark Side of the Force.
It’s a Wonderful Life: Uncle Bill accidentally gives Potter $8,000 in cash. Potter hopes the mistake will finally crush the building and loan.
Star Wars: Vader tracks the Millennium Falcon to the Rebels’ secret base, where he hopes to finally crush the rebellion.
It’s a Wonderful Life: As the bank examiner and sheriff prepare to arrest George, George receives a telegram: “Mr. Gower cables you need cash. Stop. My office instructed to advance you up to $25,000. Stop. Hee-haw and merry Christmas, Sam Wainwright.”
Star Wars: “Yee-haw, now let’s blow this thing so we can go home!”
In the earlier post about “It’s a Wonderful Life,” I mentioned Roger Ebert’s review where he calls the movie “ageless,” and I think what makes it work as well now as it did when it was release 65 years ago is that George Bailey’s story is the essentially same as every hero’s story:
George Bailey might not save the galaxy, but he gives up a life of travel and adventure to raise a family and make his hometown a better place to live, and if that’s not heroic, I don’t know what is.