Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formattingExcerpt from Term Paper:
The 1990s also saw innovative interpretation of law enforcement's role in the perpetuation of organized crime. One of the most notable examples is L.A. Confidential (1997), in which corruption has reached so deep into the Los Angeles police department that two seemingly unrelated criminal investigations both lead to the police chief. The genre also proved its adaptability and continued appeal with Heat (1995) and Carlito's Way (1993); both films starred Al Pacino, and Heat brought Pacino together with De Niro in two of the most memorable scenes in the pair's careers.
Prior to 1999, however, the gangster genre had not successfully expanded to television. But in January of this year, HBO's the Sopranos debuted with considerable critical acclaim. Again, the emphasis of the Sopranos, directed by David Chase, was upon realism. One of the most powerful appeals of the series was the portrayal of the delicate balance the main protagonist, Tony Soprano, works to maintain between life at home, and his life as an organized crime member. Like the Godfather and Goodfellas, the Sopranos take the biographical approach to the gangster genre. By working this methodology into television, the Sopranos is often credited with initializing a trend of bringing significantly more artistry to television dramas; many of the HBO series that followed -- such as Oz, the Wire, and Deadwood -- continued this trend of complex plot lines combined with authenticity and violent realism.
Organized crime films, on the other hand, have seen something of a subsidence in recent years, but have continued to show their resilience, and reflect the seemingly limitless interest American audiences have in the criminal element. One of the most original contributions to the crime film was Sin City (2005), which was a comic book style adaptation of Frank Miller's urban gothic stories. Though crime films in general have not slowed down to any reasonable extent, it would seem that the influence of the Godfather, Goodfellas, and more recently, the Sopranos has made filmmakers wary of approaching the bio-epic approach to American gangster stories, for fear of falling short of the immense success of these pieces of work.
In many ways, these three gangster-based film/television adaptations are very similar. The most obvious similarity is their apparent concern for creating realistic characters and situations. All three attempt to accomplish this by firmly establishing the cultural setting in which Italian organized crime has survived for the better part of a century. This should not be altogether surprising since all three directors -- Scorsese, Coppola, and Chase -- are all of Italian descent and, in many ways, have been exposed to the underpinnings of organized crime through much of their lives. Accordingly, the audience is not presented with the mythic, bigger-than-life characters who dominated the gangster movies of the early portion of the twentieth century. Instead, the very human and relatable qualities of these characters are juxtaposed against their oftentimes violent and reprehensible actions as gangsters. The protagonists are neither clearly heroes nor clearly villains; this makes them, in many ways more compelling, and certainly more complex. This also reflects the increased level of sophistication among American movie goers and television viewers; they expect to be presented with characters and storylines that are believable because, after all, the existence of organized crime has remained a very real facet of American life for generations. So, of course, bringing an understandable element to this lifestyle aids viewers in comprehending how such violent individuals can actually exist.
The Godfather movies clearly represent a turning point in the method of the biographical approach to crime films. Prior to the Godfather, gangsters had rarely been treated with much empathy in the movies, and their characters had not been granted any significant levels of psychological depth or feeling. Coppola broke with this tradition, and attempted to represent the organized crime families of the United States as operating in a way similar to a feudal society. From this standpoint, the Corleone family was depicted as something of a royal family within the mafia underworld; in this way, the violent actions of the main characters and, particularly, the transformation of Michael Corleone from a "civilian" into the Godfather, were characterized as being at least partially results of matters of family honor and pride. With this interpretation of Italian-based organized crime, Coppola made his characters decidedly more relatable than past filmmakers had attempted.
Coppola was not the first choice as director of the Godfather. Although he won the 1971 Academy Award for his screenplay for Patton, he was a relative unknown as a director. Furthermore, he was apprehensive about taking-on the task of depicting the mafia in America (Hughes 126). However, he was given the right to work on the film adaptation of the book -- which was originally written by Mario Puzo -- along with the original author. Coppola's earlier works as a director had been Dementia 13 (1963), Finian's Rainbow (1963), and the Rain People (1969). Despite this rather inauspicious resume, and skepticism of the project, once assigned to the Godfather, Coppola immediately began to shape it from the vision Paramount executives had for the film, into the picture of the Italian mafia that he believed the film should be.
The fundamental theme of the Godfather is that there are essentially two sides to the Don. Publicly, he is the smiling friend to everyone and the gentle father. But this facade stands in stark contrast to the dark and secretive office in which all of the Don's shady schemes are hatched. This is a theme that we see reflected in the more modern the Sopranos. This stands as a necessary component of humanizing a character that might otherwise be difficult to comprehend; after all, he is a man who possesses deep loyalties to his family, but who also is unafraid to commit heinous acts of murder and violence. Coppola's interpretation of the mafia underscores the idea that this violence is truly a consequence of family loyalty, and that this is a carryover from long-established Italian social organizations.
However, Don Vido also functions as something similar to an unofficial member of royalty; he exists as a form of justice that, somehow, the ordinary functioning of United States society does not possess. Accordingly, the Don's position as an organized crime figure positions him such that matters of honor and injustice can be addressed in perhaps more violent or morally questionable ways than the American justice system will legally allow for. This theme is reflected in one of the first scenes of the film -- which happens to be the first scene of the novel -- in which Amerigo Bonasera asks the Don to take revenge upon two men who have beaten his daughter, and escaped the sort of justice that he believes they deserve. Bonasera defends his actions by saying, "I believe in America," (the Godfather 1972). However, it is clear that there is a point where the authority of the American government ends and the authority of the old Sicilian regime begins.
Of course, one of the major reasons Marlin Brando won an Oscar for his performance is that he plays the family side of the Don equally well as the side that coldly orders men's deaths. In a scene that is crucial to the development of the family side of the Don, he plays with his grandson in the garden before suffering a heart attack. This reveals that he is a man capable of tenderness, but primarily only to those who are members of his family, or to whom he owes a certain amount of respect. Otherwise, anyone is fair game in the aims of "business." Meanwhile, the family and extended family of the Corleones weaves a web of plot and subplot that reflects the dynastic culture that the Italian mafia is supposed to represent: "Aside from the male members of the family's numerous business meetings, the clan is depicted domestically as a normal family, almost of soap opera dimensions," (Hughes 131). Overall, although the common morals of American culture may not directly apply to these individuals, they are depicted as possessing an obligation to family first, and accordingly, they are justified in their own minds in being a portion of the criminal element in the United States.
It is this obligation to the family that initiates virtually the entire plot within the film. This is largely why it is essential for a character like Michael, played by Pacino, to exist within the Corleone family. By joining the armed services, Michael attempts to both distance himself from the criminal foundations of his family and identify with a different cause -- that of mainstream United States society. He is ridiculed by his brother for such a choice, and is, for a time, left out of the day-to-day workings of the family. Michael, after relating a violent story…[continue]
"Gangsters The Era Of The" (2007, July 18) Retrieved October 22, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/gangsters-the-era-of-73283
"Gangsters The Era Of The" 18 July 2007. Web.22 October. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/gangsters-the-era-of-73283>
"Gangsters The Era Of The", 18 July 2007, Accessed.22 October. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/gangsters-the-era-of-73283
In Iran, the American-backed Shah had become increasingly unpopular throughout the 1970s. The Shah fled Iran in 1979, finding temporary refuge in the United States. Religious extremist Ayatollah Khomeni easily filled Iran's political and social need for a backlash against American interventionism. Iran's 1979 Revolution had a major impact on its relationship with the United States and with the rest of the world. Whereas the Shah had guaranteed a steady
Roxie was always infatuated by fame, particularly the case of Velma Kelly, a woman on the same cellblock as herself, who is accused of double murder of her sister and lover (who were cheating on her). The musical suggests that sexual indiscretions are a part of life, not simply something produced by the sexual revolution of the 1970s. Sexual scheming is seen as human nature. It offers a very jaded
Both films irritated their relevant critical establishments, and in this way, De Palma's remade was truest to its source. Scarface 1983 savagery and energy united with its political portrait of the illicit drug trade form a memorable and powerful evocation of 1980s narco-corruption (Prince 231). One of the most striking disparities amid the 1932 Scarface and 1983 Scarface is between Tony Camonte, who makes a fortune through selling bear, but
Untouchables "People are going to drink!" Brian De Palma's 1987 film The Untouchables is a classic portrayal of one of America's most notorious gangsters and the elite team of law enforcement that was poised on taking him down. Set in the 1930s, the film is accurate in many of its depictions and thematic structures, yet is plagued with some historical inaccuracies that decrease the credibility of the plot. However, the basic
While he was a charitable and charming as well powerful and vicious individual, Al Capone became an iconic character of the successful American gangster (Rosenberg, par, 1). Generally, Al Capone's involvement in criminal activities was fueled by the fact that he took full advantage of the criminal opportunities that were available during the Prohibition era. The opportunities for committing criminal offenses during the Prohibition era demonstrate the application of Merton's
Ethnic Studies Pachucos are Mexican-American youth, who are generally ages of thirteen to twenty-two who belonged to juvenile gangs between 1930s to the 1950s.they, developed their own subculture during this period and were located in the southwestern United States. They were generally referred to as zoot- suites by mainstream media due to the distinctive clothes that they wore. It is speculated that the origin of Pachuquismo as it being connected to
Timeline and Narrative of Gang Activity: 1800 -- 2000 Throughout history, humans have banded together for mutual protection and to pursue their mutual interests in ways that would not be possible individually. The historical record has shown that humans that succeeded in achieving this level of mutual protection survived while their counterparts perished, and the same processes continue today. When these collaborative efforts are used for criminal enterprises, though, they become