‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a holiday classic. The FBI thought it was communist propaganda.
Every holiday season, millions of people cozy up near a warm fireplace or at least a warm television to watch a familiar black-and-white tale, the 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The film, which director Frank Capra considered his best, follows the down-on-his-luck George Bailey. He’s a businessman in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, who is about to lose his loan company to the rich, evil banker Mr. Potter. Bailey considers committing suicide on Christmas Eve, deciding his family and the townspeople would be better off without him. But a guardian angel appears. The angel presents Bailey an alternative timeline in which he doesn’t exist, showing the suicidal man how much he’s helped those around him.
With stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, the movie was a commercial and critical success, earning five Oscar nominations, including one for best picture. In 1990, the Library of Congress inducted the film into the National Film Registry. It’s the perfect flick for the holidays: a touching story of how our actions affect everyone around us, and how everyone is an integral part of a community’s fabric.
The FBI didn’t see it that way.