The American Gangster Film
Gangster films had been present since the early 1900s. During the time of silent films, there had been gangster films which mostly present various types of aspects regarding the life of gangsters. From then on, many individuals had remained very interested in the life of gangsters in the United States. Moreover different people had placed interest in the life of gangsters. More than this, the gangster lifestyle had been particularly very glamorous in the perspective of Hollywood. Different movies had become an important entity in the culture of the United States.
In the course of time, different gangster films had been launched such that of Scarface. This movie had two versions since 1932 and 1983. Furthermore, Scarface is one of the most well known gangster movie. Thus, Scarface had become a classic for movie fanatics. In the movie Scarface different kinds of factors of a gangster movie is presented such as murders, drugs and women. Furthermore, the movie contains a protagonist and antagonists in order to add drama to movie. In the movie, the main character Tony was able to get what he wants in the way he could. Hence, Tony utilized murder and his fearlessness to derive to his riches until his death (Palma).
Moreover, Jack Shadoian had mentioned in his book that the concept of the gangster lifestyle is a fantasy for most people. He mentioned that the gangster life is not a reality for most people. Different individuals usually face a normal life filled with limitations and powerlessness that they could not do the immediate acts of killing.
In addition to this, people are filled with morals and values which had been established to them in the earlier parts of their lives. Furthermore, the author stated that the continuous rise of such type of films is due to the interest of most people to see the other side of what they could not experience (7).
On the other hand, the statement of Jim Smith also has his own view point regarding these types of films. The author mentioned that, gangsters are monstrous characters. The films help depict the development of the monstrous personalities which help them to cope with the violence surrounding them. On the other side of the characteristic of Tony, he presents that he is also a person with morality in front of his mother.
Tony tried to be a person in front of people that he loved however; deep down inside the coldness and monstrous capability is still present. The monstrous acts of gangsters are not present in their outer self it is within them and their values which had been honed by their experiences and desire for money, sex and drugs. Any hindrance or disobedience under the gangster’s life shall be eradicated immediately through torture and through death (45).
In conclusion, the live of a gangster is depicted through the movies in a very glamorous, sexy and lavish way. Therefore, most gangsters cover themselves with riches in order for them to somehow clean themselves. But then, the reality of being a gangster is within his morals and decisions. Thus, gangsters are interpreted as monsters and these monsters are huge parts of the American history. This reality became present during the time of Al Capone. Thus, the films were able to box such era to which every action of violence becomes a message of fear and entertainment to the current society.
Scarface. Dir. Brian De Palma. Perf. Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth, Mastrantonio. Universal Pictures, 1983.
Smith, Jim. “Gangster Films.” Michigan: Virgin Book, 2004.
Shadoian, Jack. “Dreams & Dead Ends: The American Gangster Film.” New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.