From the 1937 FBI memorandum on “Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry”:
“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 a ‘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.
The irony here is that a real Communist would never say that the problem is with the bad behavior of some bankers, as if the problem could be fixed with more regulation or better business ethics. To blame the individual bad actor is part of the capitalist ideology.
More: It’s a Wonderful Life, Comrade