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""To my big brother George, the richest man in town!"" ― Harry Bailey about his older brother.

George Bailey (born sometime in 1907) is the main protagonist of the 1946 Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life. He's a building and loan banker who sacrifices his dreams in order to help his community of Bedford Falls to the point where he feels life has passed him by.

He was portrayed by Bobby Anderson as a child and James Stewart as an adult.

Why He Rocks

  1. Both James Stewart and Bobby Anderson do magnificent portrayals of the character. Though most of the credit goes to the former.
  2. Even though he's very considerate, selfless optimistic he's still smart enough to know the reality of various aspects. He's quick to adapt to any sudden inconvenience and come up with reasonable solutions for unforeseen problems.
  3. He's a excellent protagonist through all of his selfless acts during the film, hence why he has so many companions by his side.
    • As a 12-year old, he willingly jumped into a frozen lake to rescue his younger brother after he broke through the ice and fell into the lake. Sure, it caused him to go deaf in one of his ears, but still, that was pretty bold.
    • During World War II, he couldn't do military duty due to his bad ear, but still got to act as a whistle-blowing air raid warden, along with leading the paper and scrap-rubber drives.
    • During the third act George was annoyed by Clarence's lively attitude, but even then George stood up for him, when he nearly got punched and asked him if he had any money or a place to sleep that night.
  4. He isn't afraid to give up his hopes and dreams or something he truly loves if it means helping out someone else or various others.
    • As a adult, he was planning on going on his childhood world trip, but he bailed on the trip for several months to support the Building and Loan when his father suddenly passed away.
    • During a brief scene in the Building and Loan, Various people were storming in demanding their money, but there was none left to give back to the people, since the bank has just taken it all from the business. So how do George and Mary resolve the problem? By handing out their honeymoon money.
  5. He's also an excellent and caring father and husband. (well, most of the time. See Bad Qualities for more)
    • A textbook sign of this is when his daughter, Zuzu catches a cold from harsh weather, and some petals fell off of the flower she won as a prize at school. George took the flower and secretly pretends to attach the petals again while actually stuffing them in his pocket. Then later, flower is as good as new, and he hands it back to her in a sweet father-daughter moment.

Bad Qualities

  1. He can often be a bit too caring at times. In fact, it's one of the main reasons he gets into so many problems, on the other hand...
  2. George has still proven to have his fair shares of flaws.
    1. During his pre-teen years he called Mary "brainless", and gave her coconuts even though she stated she didn't like them.
    2. After falling in a pool at the school dance, Mary had to walk home in only a robe. George accidentally steps on it, causing it to come off. Rather than give it back right away, George decided to joke around first.
    3. Before he and Mary officially became an item, he had a weird attitude at Mary's house.
    4. There's a scene where Zuzu's teacher calls to check on her and see how she is doing, and George yelled at the teacher over the phone.
    5. Then there's when George got upset over losing the Bank and Loan and took his anger out his children.


  • George Bailey came in 9th place in the Heroes category on AFI's 100 Heroes and Villains countdown.
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