BBC History Magazine

Undercover communists?

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The 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life was considered possibly subversive on first release. In the 1940s, FBI agents frequently watched movies looking for “communist propaganda”. The agent who viewed It’s a Wonderful Life worried that the Scrooge-like villain, Mr Potter, was “a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers”. This was, apparently, “a common trick used by communists”. In the end, no further action was taken against the film.

The FBI suspected It’s a Wonderful Life of containing hidden communist messages

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