It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
This highly sentimental film about human and moral values could easily have been reduced to a cheap tear-jerker but for fine direction by Frank Capra. It is basically a simple story (with somewhat one-dimensional characters), but it is also a very earnest, heartfelt and charming one about timeless issues that concern (and always will concern) ordinary people. James Stewart has a few awkward moments early on (this was his first movie since serving in the war) but he soon rises to the occasion and has some magnificent scenes towards the end. The movie's real treat, of course, is when the famous fantasy-sequence kicks in. It is arguably one of the most effective of such in the history of film – so well executed, written and performed that when it is pay-off time, we don't mind a few easy tears. The film's fundamental goodness and overall positive tone will get to you. That was one of Frank Capra's undeniable talents.