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Forum - The FBI considered "It's A Wonderful Life" to be Communist Propaganda.

An incredible -but true- story

Tags: Movies. FBI, It's a Wonderful Life, Merry Christmas, cold war, some things never change, Movies, FBI [ Add Tags ]

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ClockPosted: Dec 22, 2013 - 20:07


Level: 5
The FBI wrote up a file, coded as no. 100-HQ-138754. It is entitled "Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry" (COMPIC). This document was a 15 part report, showing the FBI was not taking this issue likely. The entire document is not available online, however some excerpts are available. The reason why we are talking about It's A Wonderful life, is, well, it's the right time of the year.

The report deals, as the title clearly states, that FBI was thinking that many American movies were in fact Communist Propoganda in order for the Soviets to get a leap ahead in the Cold War.

In Part 7 of 15, Serial 251×1, PDF 7B, the FBI discusses the classic movie:


(Transcipt is here:
With regard to the picture "It's A Wonderful Life", [REDACTED] stated in substance that the film represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as "scrooge-type" so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.

In addition, [REDACTED] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. [REDACTED] related that if he had made this picture portraying the banker, he wold have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiners in connection with making loans. Further, [REDACTED] stated that the scene woundn't have "suffered at all" in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown. In summary, [REDACTED] stated that it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and "I would never have done it that way".

[REDACTED] recalled that approximately 15 years ago, the picture entitled "The Letter" was made in Russia and was later shown in this country. He recalled that in this Russian picture, an individual who had lost his self-respect as well as that of his friends and neighbors because of drunkeness, was given one last chance to redeem himself by going to the bank to get some money to pay off a debt. The old man was sympathetic character and was so pleased at this opportunity that he was extremely, inferring he might lose the letter of credit or the money itself. In summary, the old man made the journey of several days duration to the bank and back with no mishap until he fell asleep on the homeward journey because of his determination to succeed. On this occasion the package of money dropped out of his pocket. Upon arriving home, the old man was so chagrined he hung himself. The next day someone returned the package of money to his wife saying it had been found. [REDACTED] draws a parallel of this scene and that of the picture previously discussed, showing that Thomas Mitchell who played the part of the man losing the money in the Capra picture suffered the same consequences as the man in the Russian picture in that Mitchell was too old a man to go out and make money to pay off his debt to the banker.)

The FBI even made a list of the so-called "communist influence" movies:

They kept this list updated until December 1955.

In a much later edition of the COMPIC project, "It's A Wonderful Life" also gets mentioned, but does not have a big role. This is from document 10 of 15.

On continued research of the film the FBI called the movie a "Subversive Film".


Now of course, the FBI gave up on the whole COMPIC project a long time ago. As I mentioned before, they gave up on the entire study in December of 1955, but it remains as an interesting piece of history, that really reminds us of what things were like in the heat of the Cold War.

Afterword (what did this have to do with anything?)
I think this is a great example of how certain conspiracy theories haven't really changed. While these days it seems that the Illuminati are up to something devious and horrible, back in 1947 it seemed that Communists were going to invade America. As some always say: "Some things never change."

1:'s a Wonderful Life' alleged Communist propaganda: the FBI files and HUAC hearings"
By Philippe Theophanidis on December 21, 2013

2: COMPIC, document 7 of 15 (definitely a cool link, worth a read)

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