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GUY RAZ, HOST:

On this program, we've been asking filmmakers about the movies they never get tired of watching, the ones they could watch over and over again, including this one from one of the stars of the TV show "Deadwood."

JOHN HAWKES: Hi, my name is John Hawkes, and I am an actor. And the movie I've seen a million times is "It's a Wonderful Life," directed by Frank Capra and starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

H.B. WARNER: (as Mr. Gower) I owe everything to George Bailey. Help him, dear Father.

HAWKES: I saw "It's a Wonderful Life" the first time when I was on the road doing a play. It was a two-man show, and my cast mate kept saying: You've got to see "It's a Wonderful Life." It happened to come on television, and he called me. And I went to his hotel room, and we sat and watched it. And I was pretty blown away, and I introduced many people to it since.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

JAMES STEWART: (as George Bailey) Hello, Joseph. Trouble?

HAWKES: James Stewart is George Bailey, a guy who is down on his luck and has lost all the money that he has. And he's got a family to raise, and he's despondent, and he is suicidal.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

STEWART: (as George Bailey) Dear Father in Heaven, I'm not a praying man, but if you're up there and you can hear me, show me the way.

HAWKES: His guardian angel points out to how different life would be to those around him had he not been around, had he not been born and lived his life.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

HENRY TRAVERS: (as Clarence Odbody) Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of 9.

STEWART: (as George Bailey) That's a lie. Harry Bailey went to war. He got the Congressional Medal of Honor. He saved the lives of every man on that transport.

TRAVERS: Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn't there to save them because you weren't there to save Harry.

HAWKES: I was struck by the darkness of the film. I think the film is often viewed by those who haven't seen it or only seen it once as some sort of perfect little fairytale. But it is a dark piece.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

TRAVERS: (as Clarence Odbody) You see, George, you really had a wonderful life.

HAWKES: H.B. Warner plays a druggist named Mr. Gower.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

ROBERT ANDERSON: (as Young George) Mr. Gower...

HAWKES: Young George has gotten a prescription to go deliver, and he actually realizes on the way over that he's bringing something that would probably kill the person. George brings it back to him.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

WARNER: (as Mr. Gower) Didn't you hear what I said?

ANDERSON: (as Young George) Yes.

HAWKES: And Mr. Gower gets upset and hits him really hard on his ear, which George had injured when he was a kid. And you could see that it hurts young George a great deal. But when Mr. Gower realizes what - his mistake and that George has basically saved him from murdering someone, he makes right with George in a really tender way that 15, 20 minutes into the movie has me in tears.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

ANDERSON: (as Young George) Don't hurt sore ear again. Don't hurt my sore ear again.

WARNER: (as Mr. Gower) Oh, George, George.

HAWKES: You know, Jimmy Stewart's performance is so brave. He's got such a wide range in that film, and he's not afraid of the darkness. It reminded me early on, before I'd ever been in films, that if I ever had a chance to try to go as deep as I could as an actor into a role to try to disappear into it and to not be afraid of the results.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

KAROLYN GRIMES: (as Zuzu Bailey) Look, daddy. Teacher says every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.

STEWART: (as George Bailey) That's right.

RAZ: That's actor John Hawkes talking about the movie he could watch a million times, Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." Hawkes received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for his role in "The Sessions.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AULD LANG SYNE")

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Singing) We'll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.

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