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Если бы и в жизни было так.

Вот бы и в жизни было так.

Вот если бы и в жизни было так.

In conversation, I tend to use whichever comes to mind first, but I'm wondering how they are nuanced.

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Вот бы = хорошо бы (expressing a desire lazily, without much hope):

Вот бы сейчас пива холодного.

Если бы typically introduces an unreal condition (your example is an incomplete sentence):

Если бы и в жизни было так, все люди были бы счастливы.

Вот если бы: the вот element introduces an exceptional condition for something to be true (the whole expression demonstrates eagerness to agree with an opponent about an unlikely situation).

Вот если добавить в этот гамбургер черной икры, он станет вполне съедобным.

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  • his examples sound like reactions to some event or situation and as such are complete. Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 16:01
  • @БаянКупи-ка Ah, yes. We were talking about a TV drama series, then I said this. Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 16:40
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    "Вот бы" is a wishful expression that can also be about the past. "Вот бы нам тогда пива холодного!"
    – Alexander
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 18:36
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Если бы и в жизни было так. - expresses observation on a condtion which in real life is usually not true (e.g. something happens in a movie, you know it's not possible in real life, hence this comment - If only this could happen in real life, etc....) - sounds more like an observation or comment with doubt.

Вот бы и в жизни было так - expresses the DESIRE that this could happen in real life, but the implication is again that in fact it's not likely to happen, it's just your wish or dream.

Вот если бы и в жизни было так. - basically the same as No.1, but Вот adds more doubt, or makes it sligthly more emphatic.

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