'It's a Wonderful Life' once viewed by FBI as Communist propaganda

By Kyle Johnson,

The now-classic film played constantly during the holiday season, It's a Wonderful Life, was once seen as nothing more than Communist propaganda by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The film was listed in an old FBI report that for 10 years following the film's release, the FBI felt that the character of Mr. Potter, shown to be a miserly banker that nearly causes the film's main character to commit suicide, was simply "a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers ... so that he would be the most hated man in the picture," reports Quartz.

The FBI report notes that the film "deliberately maligned the upper class," and instead should have shown Mr. Potter as something other than a "scrooge-type." The report feels that he could have instead been shown to be looking carefully after the bank's money and is rather the one who is "adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money."

John Charles Moffitt, a film critic, in 1947 defended the film before the House Un-American Activities Committee, as he felt that A Wonderful Life couldn't seriously be considered Communist.

Plus, Quartz notes, director Frank Capra was known to be staunchly conservative.

image: NBC


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