“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a Christmas classic that has brought countless families together since the film’s release in 1946.
You see, Mr. Potter, the depraved banker who brings George Bailey close to bankruptcy and suicide “represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture.”
According to the FBI, it’s “a common trick used by communists.”
What the FBI apparently neglected to note was that George and Peter Bailey also are bankers.
“I think Mr. Capra’s picture, though it had a banker as villain, could not be properly called a Communist picture,” film critic John Charles Moffitt testified at the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. “It showed that the power of money can be used oppressively, and it can be used benevolently.”
It wasn’t uncommon in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s for the FBI to accused filmmakers of creating Communist propaganda.