The Greatest Gift is the uplifting story of George Pratt, a simple bank worker and family man, who finds himself one frosty Christmas Eve, standing on a bridge contemplating a plunge into the icy waters below. George feels his life is insignificant, and says so to a stranger who tries to talk him out of suicide. George insists that he wishes he’d never been born. The man, an angel in disguise, grants his wish and sends George back into town to see what his world would be like if he had never existed.
George is shocked to discover his absence has had many negative effects: the local bank has gone bust; his wife is unhappily married and his brother, whom George had saved from drowning, has died, leaving his parents childless. Frantic, George returns to the bridge to beg the stranger to return to him the world that he had so foolishly disparaged. The angel tells George that he had already the greatest gift of all: Life. George rushes back to his family, overjoyed to find them at home, alive and well.
This twentieth century parable and evergreen reminder of eternal human value formed the basis for Frank Capra’s classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life! A ‘universal story for all people in all times’, this seasonal classic is for adults and children alike of all religions and backgrounds.
The Greatest Gift has been recreated in its original size, with especially commissioned illustrations by Finlay Cowan, inspired by the original drawings for the 1944 edition.
The author’s daughter, Marguerite Stern Robinson, gives a personal account of the origins of the story, and its breakthrough, through the movie, into the public imagination