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FBI saw 'Wonderful Life' as Communist propoganda

These days "It's a Wonderful Life" is celebrated as a classic, life-affirming and uplifting Christmas film in which an angel saves Jimmy Stewart's character, George Bailey, from suicidal thoughts by showing him how terrible things would be without him.

But for years after it was released in 1946, the Frank Capra masterpiece was seen very differently by the FBI.

As related by Zachary Seward on Quartz, an FBI report unearthed by a Freedom of Information request quotes an unnamed "informant" as saying it was 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."

It was, said the "sources," a "common trick used by Communists."

As Seward points out, that analysis ignores the fact that Bailey is also a banker.

More recently, some bankers have complained about negative portrayals during the Great Recession, although "Communists" are not usually blamed.

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