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I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951)

 -  Drama | Film-Noir  -  5 May 1951 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 318 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 10 critic

In Pittsburgh, PA, an F.B.I. agent works to undermine the Communist party, but his brothers and his teenage boy thinks he's a real Red.



(screenplay), (article), 1 more credit »
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Title: I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


Complete credited cast:
Frank Lovejoy ...
Matt Cvetic
Eve Merrick
James Millican ...
Jim Blandon
Richard Webb ...
Ken Crowley
Konstantin Shayne ...
Gerhardt Eisler
Joe Cvetic
Edward Norris ...
Harmon (as Eddie Norris)
Ron Hagerthy ...
Dick Cvetic
Hugh Sanders ...
Clyde Garson
Hope Kramer ...
Ruth Cvetic
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Grace Lenard ...
Wife (scenes deleted)
George Magrill ...
(scenes deleted)
Charles Sherlock ...
(scenes deleted)


The FBI infiltrates one of their agents in the US Communist Party. This causes big problems in the normal life of the agent. Nobody knows that he is with the FBI, neither his family. Written by Luis Carvacho <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sensation-Upon-Sensation! The whole undercover operation of the most danger-laden assignment in the entire history of the F.B.I.! See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 May 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Was a Communist for the FBI  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Eve's blouse has a large bow tied at her neck with long ends hanging down her front. These long ends alternate between hanging outside her coat and being tucked inside her coat between shots during her scene in Cvetic's apartment. See more »


Featured in The Fifties (1997) See more »

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See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Exciting propaganda...
30 January 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

The word 'propaganda' has a bad connotation but it's not always a bad thing. It consists of messages that are intended to sway opinions using a variety of means towards a cause. Sometimes, but not always, lies or distortions are used to change opinions. During WWII, there were a bunch of films that helped sway opinions towards to the war effort--a noble cause. And, though they were far fewer, in the early 1950s, there were some films that were meant to sway opinions against Communism--which, in hindsight was odd, since during WWII the American film industry was actually encouraged to portray the Soviets positively (since they were, at that time, our allies).

This film was one of the better anti-Communist propaganda films of the era as it's highly entertaining. While its being considered a documentary by the Academy (since they nominated it for the Best Documentary category) is silly since so much of the story was fictionalized, the basic story idea was taken from a man who actually worked undercover with Communists who had infiltrated some labor unions. And, given its excellent acting, gritty script and nice direction, the overall package is great--like a film noir film in many ways.

One of my biggest reasons for liking this film is that a veteran character actor, Frank Lovejoy, was used in the lead--not a person who was typically a leading man. Lovejoy was a great actor plus he seemed much more realistic--like a real life character, not some pretty-boy actor. The rest of the cast were also very good.

The writing was very good and unflinching. I doubt if the Communists had infiltrated that much of the labor movement and the film seemed to imply it was widespread AND race riots were the fault of Communist agitators--not social conditions--a shortcoming of the film. But, I loved the way the leaders were shown so unsympathetically. While they claimed to love minorities in public, they had contempt for them and used them as pawns--as they did with everyone they came into contact with in their roles. Some will be offended by the film's use of racial epithets, but I think it added great shock value. Plus, the construction of the film was tight and exciting throughout--with lots of twists and edge of your seat thrills.

Overall, a very exciting film that's held up very well over the years--and an interesting curio from the era of the so-called "Red Scare".

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