A CLASSIC Christmas film that has been warming hearts for more than 70 years is returning to the big screen.

The Gala Theatre in Durham is staging special screenings of It’s a Wonderful Life on Thursday, 20 December, at 2pm and 7.30pm.

Produced and directed by Frank Capra, the 1946 film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who gave up his dreams to help others.

When a seemingly impossible situation comes to a head on Christmas Eve, a despairing George encounters his guardian angel, Clarence, who shows him how different life would be in his hometown of Bedford Falls if he had not been born.

It’s a Wonderful Life is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, with its message about appreciating the wonder all around us, and the importance of friends and family, especially apt at Christmas time.

Gala Theatre manager Robin Byers said: “Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without our annual screening of It’s a Wonderful Life.

“What better way to get into the festive spirit than to watch this magical film with a warming glass of mulled wine.”

Tickets for the screenings cost £10 or £14.50, including mulled wine and a mince pie. To book, call the box office on 03000-266-600 or visit galadurham.co.uk