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SALT LAKE CITY — Picture this: The snow is coming down, blocks of homes are illuminated by strings of multicolored lights and carolers are singing joyous tunes outside your door. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
But what’s Christmastime without your favorite Christmas movie?
KSL.com asked for your help to find Utah’s favorite Christmas movie and, wow, did you all come through!
In our quest to determine the ultimate Christmas flick we started the field with 32 family-friendly films and asked you to help us narrow it down to the sweet 16. From there, you selected the elite eight and then the final four.
Well now, thanks to the Christmas-spirited determination and the civic duty of tens of thousands of you film lovers, we have a winner at last!
Utah’s favorite Christmas movie is: “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Here’s a breakdown of the final round votes by percentage:
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation —30.56%
- It’s a Wonderful Life — 32.79%
- A Christmas Story — 24.07%
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1967) — 12.58%
Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, “It’s a Wonderful Life” tells the story of George Bailey, a businessman who contemplates suicide after a series of misfortunes. But before Bailey can go through with his plan, his guardian angel Clarence intervenes and shows him what life would have been like for his family and friends if he had never lived.
While “It’s a Wonderful Life” is considered a classic now, it was a box office flop upon its release in 1946.
One group that didn’t like “It’s a Wonderful Life” as well: the FBI. The agency thought the film was communist propaganda, according to a memo written by an unnamed FBI agent.
A Washington Post report on Thursday said J. Edgar Hoover’s Communist-hunting agents thought the movie “was a Trojan horse sneaking anti-American propaganda to the masses.”
The agent wrote a report claiming “It’s a Wonderful Life” “represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers” and “deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters.”
So how did “It’s a Wonderful Life” become a classic? Due to a clerical error at the then National Telefilm Associates office in 1973, the film’s copyright was not renewed, meaning anyone could air the movie without paying royalty fees. Many stations began to air the film countless times during the holidays from 1974 until the late 1990s, helping the film gain popularity. Eventually, NTA’s successor, Republic Pictures Corp., regained control of the film’s rights and began charging royalties.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” now airs exclusively on NBC.
For many, watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a Christmastime tradition for the entire family. It’s no surprise Utahns decided it's their favorite Christmas movie!
This entire Christmas movie tournament was completely subjective and fun. We think all 32 movies that were a part of the tournament are great. We thank all of you who voted.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Editor's note: KSL.com can't verify the accuracy of the poll.