The FBI once considered “It’s a Wonderful Life” as “communist propaganda”


Those of you who aren’t old enough to remember the paranoid conspiratorialism that gripped the FBI under Director J. Edgar Hoover probably will be amazed at  THIS:

Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” (RKO, 1946) pivots on the clash of values between the populism of George Bailey, played of course by James Stewart, and the bottom-line ethics of Henry Potter, played so memorably by Lionel Barrymore. The film is now a perennial holiday classic, and has earned distinction with its inclusion, in 1998, on the American Film Institute’s list of the top one hundred American film (ranking number eleven). But modern-day viewers might be surprised to learn that at the time of its release, “It’s a Wonderful Life” appeared on another, secret, list of films maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Such distinction was earned not because of popularity or artistic merit, but rather because of the bureau’s suspicion that Capra’s movie contained Communist propaganda.”


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