Gangster films as a genre
For this exercise, I have opted to take an in depth look at a particular genre, this genre being gangster films. In order to see how a film from this genre fits into the category of “gangster” I have also opted to study a film called “The Untouchables”. By doing this I will be able to look at characteristics that have put this film in the gangster genre and characteristics that do not belong so much to the said genre.
Firstly, when we think of gangster films we think of hard-hitting crime drama’s. This is most often true, but as with all genres, there are always anomalies. For example, the film “Bugsy Malone”, has all the stereotypical features of a gangster film but is in fact a comedic musical. The same goes for the film I have chosen to study. Although it is considered a gangster film it also falls under the sub-genre of Action.
We also tend to think of gangster films in a certain era, this usually being the 1920’s – 1950’s. This tends to be true, as this was the pinnacle of the gangster period and organised crime in general. There then seemed to be a hiatus in criminal activity between the 1950’s and late 1970’s, when a new wave of law-breaking began in the casino’s of Los Angeles and Miami, another stereotypical setting for the gangster movement. There has yet to be made, a gangster film that is set outside of the twentieth century.
There is also a trend that is vital to the setting of gangster films. Most, if not all gangster films happen in the hustle and bustle of the city or at least suburbia. There is a reason for this. Gangster films are extremely family orientated. The mob or mafia, is actually considered a family by the people who belong to it. The mafia, for example has a godfather that acts as the leader, who receives unconditional respect. Family is often pivotal to the gangster storyline. If a gangster wanted to wreak vindication (if that is possible) on a...