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Classic Crime, Gangster & Prison Films on DVD
What characteristics define the Crime, Gangster, or Prison movie? Visit the “Film Genres” page on the American Movie Classics (AMC) web site to find out!
Bonnie & Clyde by
Call Number: HV 6245 .B66 1997
Publication Date: Produced 1967; DVD released 1997
Based on the real-life exploits of Depression-era bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, this film shocked audiences with its gory depiction of gun violence and murder.
Cool Hand Luke by
Call Number: PS 3566 .E18 C66 2008
Publication Date: Produced 1967; DVD released 2008
When petty criminal Luke Jackson is sentenced to two years at a Florida prison farm, he doesn't play by the rules of either the sadistic warden or the yard's resident heavy, Dragline, who ends up admiring the new guy's unbreakable will. Luke's bravado, even in the face of repeated stints in the prison's dreaded solitary confinement cell, "the box," make him a rebel hero to his fellow convicts.
Call Number: PN 1997 .S3836 2000
Publication Date: Produced 1971; DVD released 2000
In this classic of the Blaxploitation genre, John Shaft is a cool private eye working the mean streets of Harlem in the early 1970s. In an effort to rescue a kidnapped girl, he runs into trouble with both the Black crime syndicate and the Mafia. Isaac Hayes performs the instantly recognizable theme song.
The Godfather Trilogy by
Call Number: PN 1997 .G644 2001
Publication Date: Produced 1972-1990; DVD released 2001
Based on the novel by Mario Puzo, the original "Godfather" is the quintessential Mafia film. The entire trilogy is the intergenerational epic tragedy of an Italian immigrant family enmeshed in the web of organized crime, in which revenge and murder (even of a family member) are just part of doing business.
The Untouchables by
Call Number: HV 6795 .C4 U586 2000
Publication Date: Produced 1987; DVD released 2000
After building an empire on bootleg alcohol, legendary mob boss Al Capone rules Chicago with an iron fist. Though Prohibition agent Eliot Ness attempts to take Capone down, even his best efforts fail due to widespread corruption within the Chicago police force. Recruiting an elite group of lawmen who won't be swayed by bribes or fear, including Irish-American cop Jimmy Malone, Ness renews his determination to bring Capone to justice. Loosely based on the true story of a master criminal punished, not for the many murders committed, but for tax evasion.
Call Number: HV 6248 .H453 G66 2007
Publication Date: Produced 1990; DVD released 2007
Gangsters never refer to themselves as gangsters. They are "made men," wiseguys or goodfellas. Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese exposes the mysterious and violent underworld of New York's Mafia families through the life of insider Henry Hill, as he rises from small-time thug to mobster in this searing crime drama based on the chilling true-life story "Wiseguy," by Nicholas Pileggi.
Silence of the Lambs by
Call Number: PS 3558 .A6558 S54 2006
Publication Date: Produced 1991; DVD released 2006
When FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned a case involving a monstrous serial killer, she seeks counsel from a psychiatrist who has been imprisoned for murder and cannibalism, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. His fascination with her is as great as his hunger for human flesh. As their uncomfortable relationship develops, Starling must confront an evil so powerful that she may not have the courage or strength to stop it.
Pulp Fiction by
Call Number: PN 1995.9 .F54 P853 1998
Publication Date: Produced 1994; DVD released 1998
The story of the intertwined antics of a random collection of quirky, trigger-happy criminals. Prizefighter Butch Coolidge has decided to stop payment on a deal he's made with the devil. Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are a couple of young lovers and small-time thieves who decide they need a change of venue. Meanwhile, two career thugs, Vincent Vega and Jules, go about their daily business of shooting up other crooks who are late on payments to their boss. When one is asked to "babysit" their boss' dangerously pretty young wife, the other suddenly realizes he must give up his life of crime.
The Shawshank Redemption by
Call Number: PS 3561 .I483 S523 2007
Publication Date: Produced 1994; DVD released 2007
Andy Dufresne, a mild-mannered New England banker, is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Despised at first by the other inmates because of his introverted nature, Andy slowly forges an unlikely friendship with Red, a seasoned lifer, and his gang. The warden takes advantage of Andy's banking expertise by exchanging privileges for creative bookkeeping. Over a 20-year period, Andy is able to maintain his sanity and dignity in prison, not by physical force, but by finding a means to a better life on the outside -- one way or the other.
Dead Man Walking by
Call Number: HV 8699 .U5 P743 1995
Publication Date: Produced 1995; DVD released 1999
Inspired by a true story, this film offers a provocative examination of crime, punishment and redemption. Sister Helen Prejean, a compassionate New Orleans nun, is the spiritual advisor to Matthew Poncelet, a vicious, angry, convicted murderer serving time on death row. Her mission is to help others find salvation, but as she attempts to navigate Matthew’s dark soul, she encounters a depth of evil that makes her question how far redemption can really go. Can she stave off the fateful day of execution long enough to save Matthew, or will she discover a truth that will rock the very foundation by which she lives her life?
Now Streaming: Films on Demand
Film noir is a sub-genre of the crime film category that first became popular in the 1930s, featuring cynical and pessimistic themes that touched a nerve in Americans. Historians link the genre's overriding paranoia to Cold War-related angst over the nuclear threat and the anti-Communist blacklist, as well as the anxiety of returning World War II veterans making the difficult transition back to civilian life. In this program, a cinematographer demonstrates the creation of noir lighting, which gives these films their distinctive, moody look, and emphasized undercurrents of corruption and urban decay.
Call Number: PN 1998.3 .C67 P48 2004
Publication Date: 2004
This book blends biography, studio history, and film criticism to create a profile of the force behind such popular and critically acclaimed films as Apocalypse Now and the Godfather trilogy. Francis Ford Coppola has imprinted his distinct style on each of his movies and on the landscape of American popular culture. This book argues that Coppola has repeatedly bucked the Hollywood "factory system" in an attempt to create distinct films that reflect his own artistic vision, often to the detriment of his career and finances. Author Gene Phillips conducted interviews with the director and his colleagues, and examined Coppola's production journals and screenplays, to arrive at this definitive assessment of one of Hollywood's most enduring and misunderstood mavericks.
Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino's Masterpiece by
Call Number: PN 1995.9 .F54 P8533 2013
Publication Date: 2013
This comprehensive exploration of Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" is illustrated throughout with original art inspired by the film, and includes sidebars and special features on everything from casting close calls to deleted scenes. Author Jason Bailey discusses how the film was revolutionary, examines its director's influences, illuminates its pop culture references, and describes its phenomenal legacy.
Scorsese by Ebert by
Call Number: PN 1998.3 .S39 E33 2008
Publication Date: 2008
Film critic Roger Ebert wrote the first review that director Martin Scorsese ever received, creating a lasting bond that made him one of Scorsese's most appreciative and perceptive commentators. This book offers the first record of Ebert's engagement with the works of America's greatest living director, chronicling every single feature film in Scorsese's considerable oeuvre. In the course of 11 interviews done over 40 years, the book also includes Scorsese's own insights on both his accomplishments and disappointments. Ebert has also written six new reconsiderations of the director's less commented-upon films, as well as a substantial introduction that provides a framework for understanding both Scorsese and his profound impact on American cinema.