Classic Gangster Movies



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Though the gangster film goes back to the early days of the silent era, it wasn’t until the advent of sound that the genre soared in popularity, when real-life gangsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano were at the height of their own notoriety. For better or ill, the public thirsted for seeing charismatic criminals on screen. Hollywood was more than happy to oblige and in the early 1930s churned out several classics like ‘Little Caesar’ and ‘Scarface’ that served as the template for all other gangster films to follow – typically a poor immigrant who finds the American Dream in the dark underbelly of capitalism and has a quick rise to the top, only to fall prey to an even faster fall that ended in a violent death. Because of the unrelenting violence and amorality of the central characters, the gangster film contributed to Hollywood’s Production Code, which in part deemed that no criminal deeds go unpunished, no matter how untrue that was in the real world. Over the decades, as the Code was eroded by grittier and more realistic films, the gangster movie was an always popular genre that gave rise to some of cinema’s greatest stars and directors.

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Classic Gangster Movies

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