Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Film, as a reflection of society, conveys the hopes and anxieties of the culture in which it is created. In American film, criminal characters—mob bosses, robbers, contract killers, gangsters—have become posterized icons. The crime movie includes such subgenres as gangster films, film noir, prison films, detective films, cop action films, and serial killer or horror films. Traditionally, crime movies have centered on White male cops or criminal enterprises, though the minority criminal/cop has gradually come to be more commonly represented in film. The crime genre is nearly as old as film itself. Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery , a silent short western, was released in 1903. D. W. Griffith introduced organized crime to film with The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912). But it was real-life gangster Al Capone and the organized crime of Prohibition era bootlegging that coincided with the rise of talkies (films with audible speaking) Little ...