Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Places George Wants to Go

George Bailey dreamed of travel. He spent his entire life trying to get somewhere...anywhere. And he had a whole list of places he wanted to go.

As Bert the Cop said during the rainy night outside of the honeymoon suite, "They want romantic places, beautiful places ... places George wants to go."

As George told Mary earlier in the film, "I'm shaking the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm going to see the world!"

Throughout the film, he mentions many locales he dreams of visiting. Below is a list of those places and an explanation of why he might have wanted to travel there.

National Geographic scene:


  • Of the many waterfalls in Tahiti, the most popular and accessible are the three waterfalls at Faarumai, know as the Cascades of Faarumai.
  • The historical capital of Papeete. It was established as the capital of dynasty in the 1820s by The last major queen of the Pomare dynasty, Pomare IV. She ruled until 1877.
  • Papaeari is the island’s oldest village, settled somewhere between 400 and 500 AD. It is also known for its association with Paul Gauguin, who lived in the area.
  • Built between 1844 and 1875, Cathedrale de L'Immaculee is a popular historical attraction and one of the oldest and largest churches in Papeete. It is located at Place Notre Dame.
Information taken from

Fiji Islands


USA Today published an article online about tourist attractions in Fiji:

"With more than 300 islands, the Republic of Fiji, or the 'Pearl of the Pacific,' earns its nickname with pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, dynamic underwater coral and acres of tropical jungle. Visitors can explore a number of attractions during their stay, and these showcase the area’s natural beauty, rich history and sense of adventure. Whether you are hoping to relax, learn or seek a thrill, you will find no shortage of things to do in Fiji."

The article (which can be read in full here) discusses several beautiful, historic sites, including the 
  • Sigatoka River, South Sea Islands
  • Kula Eco Park
  • Fiji Museum, and 
  • Bouma National Heritage Park

Coral Sea


The following has been copied from Wikipedia:

The Coral Sea is characterised by its warm and stable climate, with frequent rains and tropical cyclones. It contains numerous islands and reefs, as well as the world's largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981. All previous oil exploration projects were terminated at the GBR in 1975, and fishing is restricted in many areas. The reefs and islands of the Coral Sea are particularly rich in birds and aquatic life and are a popular tourist destination, both nationally and internationally.
Additional information about the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef can be found at:

Luggage scene:



Italy is full of historic cities and landmarks. Some of them include:
  • Pompeii - The city buried under volcanic ash of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79.
  • Canals of Venice - Perfect for romantic gondola rides past historic buildings, many of which have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
  • La Torre Pendete, or as we know it in English, the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Construction of the tower began in the 1100s. It had already begun to lean by the time the structure had reached the third level.
There are many more attractions in Italy, including some that will be explored below. You can find more tourist attractions listed and described by clicking here, which is where I found the above information.



Baghdad is a location of great history and amazing architecture, which would have particularly appealed to George Bailey. Some of the sights he could have explored in Baghdad include:

  • The cailiph's mosque, dating to 1289.
  • The 'Aquli Mosque, dating to 1328.
  • Many other locations dating to the late 13th and 14th centuries.

There also are a number of mosques, bazaars, and public baths survive from the Ottoman period.

I gathered this information from the Encyclopedia Britannica Web site.



This was the closest I could come to a travel brochure/poster for Samarkand. Both Baku and Samarkand are located in Uzbekistan.

According to the Visit Uzbekistan Travel Web site:

"Samarkand was a political, economic, and cultural center on the Silk Road trade route. Samarkand also served as the seat of the Timurid Empire, ruled at the peak of its power by Amir Timur (or Tamerlane, 1369 – 1405). Both Samarkand and Bukhara have strong Persian influences in language, culture, and ethnic makeup, a fact that is reflected in their Soviet and post-Soviet populations.The Islamic architecture in Samarkand, with its main square (Registan), the astronomer Ulug Bek’s observatory, and madrassahs on the Registan, became symbols of the Timurid Empire’s power and scientific achievements. Samarkand later served as an important comparison point for Soviet artists and building designers when creating ‘Soviet-Uzbek’ architecture."


George tells Joe Hepner at the luggage store that he is going to work his way across the ocean on a cattle boat. This is *may* have been what a cattle boat looked like.

Granville House rock scene:

Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum

Travel brochure for Greece, 1939

The Parthenon is located in Athens, Greece. The Parthenon is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Colosseum is located in Rome, Italy. is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. It is the largest amphitheatre in the world, and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering. (Source: Wikipedia).

The Colosseum can be seen on the travel brochure for Italy, which can be found above.
The Parthenon and the Colosseum are approximately 795 miles apart, which would take about 21 hours to travel by car in modern times using modern roads, according to Google Maps.

Train station scene:

Venezuela oil fields 


"Wanted, man with construction experience"

                                                              -George Bailey

The Venezuelan oil industry was born in 1908. By the end of the 1930s, Venezuela had become the third-leading oil producer in the world, behind the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as the leading exporter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Venezuela is also home to the real-life Paradise Falls, made famous by the Disney/Pixar film, Up.


"Wanted, man with engineering experience"
                                                   - George Bailey

The famous Klondike Gold Rush began after gold was discovered near Dawson City in 1896. As a result of the influx of people looking for gold, it was made a separate territory in 1898, split off from the Northwest Territories

The second major event in the Yukon's history is the construction of the Alaska Highway during the Second World War, for the transportation of war supplies. 

(Source: Wikipedia)

Here are the travel brochures that George holds at the train station and later discards
during Harry and Ruth's wedding celebration. The brochure on the right reads
"South America New York to Brazil-Uruguay-Argentina Schedule and Passenger Rates Munson
Steamship Lines New York City." The brochure on the left reads "Travel with the
Foremost Student Tours College Travel Club 1930s." 
Source for brochure wording: Willian, Michael. The Essential It’s a Wonderful Life Film Guidebook
Kerpluggo Books LLC, 2004.
Here is another picture of one of the brochures George carries at
the train station I found this photo in the book Zuzu's Wonderful Life in the Movies
by Christopher Brunell.

Honeymoon taxi scene

New York


Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the lights of Times Square, All of these and more can be found in New York City.

Outside of New York City, George and Mary can visit Niagra Falls, explore the location of the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls (which was also the inspiration for Bedford Falls).



Instead of me telling you what George and Mary may have done while in Bermuda, watch the video below about the Furness Lines and Bermuda.

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