Picture The Godfather series in your mind and chances are, you’ll think of it as a “gangster” film. But what is it about this series, and other films like it, that makes it a part of the gangster film genre? Are these movies simply crime and action films that feature organized crime, or do urban settings and immigrant struggles play a larger role?
In this month’s episode of The Oxford Comment, Anita Lam, Associate Professor at York University in Toronto and author of “Gansters and Genre” in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice, hosts a discussion with Dr. Karen Fang, Associate Professor of English at University of Housten, and Peter Stanfield, Professor of Film and Media at the University of Kent School of Arts. Together they discuss the characteristics of gangster films; the differences we see in these films internationally; the cultural metaphors the films present about race, gender, and class; as well as the role the genre plays into other mediums such as music and television.
Featured image credit: Lobby card for the 1932 film Scarface. Photo by Astor Pictures – 1946 re-release. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.