Conventions of the Gangster Film Genre

Mervyn LeRoy's Little Caesar was released in 1930 and became an immensely popular film which had many imitators. Although, not the first film of the gangster genre, Little Caesar had the greatest impact of the early gangster films on the development of the genre, and thus served as a model for the films to come. This movie "is the first clear depiction of the elements which have been evident in the gangster film genre for more than 40 years. The genre elements (motifs, themes, and icons) in Little Caesar have developed gradually since 1930, but they still remain persistently recognizable today" (Kaminsky, p. 14).

In this installment, as promised, we are discussing the elements of the gangster film genre

is ‘Duniya’ Vijay’s latest and Kannada cinema’s most recent contribution to the gangster film genre. However, the film offers nothing new to the genre. In the most tedious manner, it tells you a story you have heard and seen many times before.


It details the conventions employed by the gangster film genre… The film itself is a deliberate of the gangster film genre it has become a classic of. Caine himself was determined to avert the feel good or comedy aspects of style gangster movie, in favour of a gritty realism, saying;

The gangster film genre was born

1971 British gangster film, starring as the title character, Jack Carter, a prominent who returns to his hometown of Newcastle, England to find out who killed his brother. The work has become a classic in the gangster film genre. It was remade in 1972 (as Hit Man, with Bernie Casey and ), and again in 2000 with as the title character and Caine in a minor role, but neither version was successful.

The gangster film genre was revived by

With Warner Bros’ release of Little Caesar (LeRoy, 1931), The Public Enemy (Wellman, 1931), and Scarface (Hawks, 1932) at the start of the 1930s, the genre’s blossoming reputation was solidified. Moreover, in each of these films, the lead’s charismatic personality enabled viewers to identity with the character, but through the character’s inevitable violent downfall, viewers were reminded of the consequences of crime, and an effective formula for the genre was established. Nevertheless, given that these films did glamorize crime and glorify the criminal, initial attempts to censor the gangster film genre were quite strong, and the Hays Production Code forced studios to make moral pronouncements and present criminals as psychopaths after 1934 (Dirks).Ultimately, by contesting stipulations placed on it, the gangster film genre persevered and has become one of the most notable genres in the history of cinema. Through the depiction of characters that operate outside the constraints of the law, the gangster film genre enables viewers to vicariously experience a morally loose lifestyle, condemned by society. However, more often than not, the gangster film genre simultaneously functions as a platform to voice concerns with skewed interpretations of the “American Dream,” as central characters in these films typically allow their excessive greed and consumerist tendencies to lead to their downfall. With that said, even in the midst of violence and illicit behavior, as viewers, we can still derive vital lessons and reflect on our personal nature when watching movies associated with the gangster film genre.