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Gangster Films-Conventions of the Gangster

He is a criminal by choice, and again the fact that his brother is not and has come from the same background adds to this sense that there is something wrong in Tom from the beginning. He lives in a society that rewards his sort of behavior. It is true that his actions are illegal and that there are those who would stop him and arrest him if they could, but it is still true that he is rewarded for indulging himself in crime. He sees this as his way of achieving prominence, and he takes that route as the easiest way open to him. Tom begins by delivering beer and moves up to delivering all sorts of alcohol once it is illegal. The world in which he lives is one that has created an entire criminal class through the inept attempt at social control known as Prohibition. Much of the gang problem referred to as organized crime can be traced to Prohibition, as will be reflected in The Godfather as well. There were obviously gangs and criminals before that time, but they did not have the organization, the money, or the customer base that they had after Prohibition. The film does not make a lot out of this fact, but it is evident that Prohibition was an opportunity for criminality on a grander scale. The life of Tom Powers reflects this precisely.

The story of The Godfather derives from a novel by Mario Puzo, an Italian-American familiar with this milieu and with the experience of Italian immigrants and their descendants. Director Francis Ford Coppola is also an American of Italian descent and similarly understands the family and community structures of this population. Of course, the film was criticized because it told the story of a narrow fringe of the Italian community, the criminal fringe, so that many may have believed that the film was presenting this fringe group as the norm. The criminality of this family is not presented as the norm for Italian Americans at all but as the "business" in which this family operates. The fam...

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Gangster Films-Conventions of the Gangster. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:46, August 24, 2017, from
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