Gangster

A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang. Some gangs are considered to be part of organized crime. Gangsters are also called mobsters, a term derived from mob and the suffix -ster.[1] Gangs provide a level of organization and resources that support much larger and more complex criminal transactions than an individual criminal could achieve. Gangsters have been active for many years in countries around the world.

Some gangsters, such as Al Capone have become infamous. Gangsters are the subject of many novels and films, particularly from the period between 1920 and 1990.

Etymology

Some contemporary criminals refer to themselves as "gangsta" in reference to non-rhotic black American pronunciation.

Gangs

Japan-Yakuza-Sanja Matsuri-01
Yakuza, or Japanese mafia are not allowed to show their tattoos in public except during the Sanja Matsuri festival.

In today's usage, the term "gang" is generally used for a criminal organization, and the term "gangster" invariably describes a criminal.[2] Much has been written on the subject of gangs, although there is no clear consensus about what constitutes a gang or what situations lead to gang formation and evolution. There is agreement that the members of a gang have a sense of common identity and belonging, and this is typically reinforced through shared activities and through visual identifications such as special clothing, tattoos or rings.[3] Some preconceptions may be false. For example, the common view that illegal drug distribution in the United States is largely controlled by gangs has been questioned.[4]

A gang may be a relatively small group of people who cooperate in criminal acts, as with the Jesse James gang, which ended with the leader's death in 1882. But a gang may be a larger group with a formal organization that survives the death of its leader. The Chicago Outfit created by Al Capone outlasted its founder's imprisonment and death, and survived into the 21st century. Large and well structured gangs such as the Mafia, drug cartels, Triads or even outlaw motorcycle gangs can undertake complex transactions that would be far beyond the capability of one individual, and can provide services such as dispute arbitration and contract enforcement that parallel those of a legitimate government.[5]

The term "organized crime" is associated with gangs and gangsters, but is not synonymous. A small street gang that engages in sporadic low-level crime would not be seen as "organized". An organization that coordinates gangs in different countries involved in the international trade in drugs or prostitutes may not be considered a "gang".[6]

Although gangs and gangsters have existed in many countries and at many times in the past, they have played more prominent roles during times of weakened social order or when governments have attempted to suppress access to goods or services for which there is a high demand.

Regional variants

Europe

Sicilian mafia 1901 maxi trial
Sketch of the 1901 maxi trial of suspected mafiosi in Palermo. From the newspaper L'Ora, May 1901

The Sicilian Mafia, or Cosa Nostra is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share common organizational structure and code of conduct. The origins lie in the upheaval of Sicily's transition out of feudalism in 1812 and its later annexation by mainland Italy in 1860. Under feudalism, the nobility owned most of the land and enforced law and order through their private armies. After 1812, the feudal barons steadily sold off or rented their lands to private citizens. Primogeniture was abolished, land could no longer be seized to settle debts, and one fifth of the land was to become private property of the peasants.[7]

Organized crime has existed in Russia since the days of Imperial Russia in the form of banditry and thievery. In the Soviet period Vory v Zakone emerged, a class of criminals that had to abide by certain rules in the prison system. One such rule was that cooperation with the authorities of any kind was forbidden. During World War II some prisoners made a deal with the government to join the armed forces in return for a reduced sentence, but upon their return to prison they were attacked and killed by inmates who remained loyal to the rules of the thieves.[8] In 1988 the Soviet Union legalized private enterprise but did not provide regulations to ensure the security of market economy. Crude markets emerged, the most notorious being the Rizhsky market where prostitution rings were run next to the Rizhsky Railway Station in Moscow.[9]

As the Soviet Union headed for collapse many former government workers turned to crime, while others moved overseas. Former KGB agents and veterans of the Afghan and First and Second Chechen Wars, now unemployed but with experience that could prove useful in crime, joined the increasing crime wave.[9] At first, the Vory v Zakone played a key role in arbitrating the gang wars that erupted in the 1990s.[10] By the mid-1990s it was believed that "Don" Semion Mogilevich had become the "boss of all bosses" of most Russian Mafia syndicates in the world, described by the British government as "one of the most dangerous men in the world".[11] More recently, criminals with stronger ties to big business and the government have displaced the Vory from some of their traditional niches, although the Vory are still strong in gambling and the retail trade.[10]

The Albanian Mafia is active in Albania, the United States, and the European Union (EU) countries, participating in a diverse range of criminal enterprises including drug and arms trafficking.[12][13] The people of the mountainous country of Albania have always had strong traditions of family and clan loyalty, in some ways similar to that of southern Italy. Ethnic Albanian gangs have grown rapidly since 1992 during the prolonged period of instability in the Balkans after the collapse of Yugoslavia. This coincided with large scale migration throughout Europe and to the United States and Canada. Although based in Albania, the gangs often handle international transactions such as trafficking in economic migrants, drugs and other contraband, and weapons.[14] Other criminal organizations that emerged in the Balkans around this time are popularly called the Serbian Mafia, Bosnian Mafia, Bulgarian Mafia and so on.

Asia

Du Yuesheng2
Du Yuesheng (1888–1951), a Chinese gangster and important Kuomintang supporter who spent much of his life in Shanghai

In China, Triads trace their roots to resistance or rebel groups opposed to Manchu rule during the Qing dynasty, which were given the triangle as their emblem.[15] The first record of a triad society, Heaven and Earth Gathering, dates to the Lin Shuangwen uprising on Taiwan from 1786 to 1787.[16] The triads evolved into criminal societies. When the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949 in mainland China, law enforcement became stricter and tough governmental crackdown on criminal organizations forced the triads to migrate to Hong Kong, then a British colony, and other cities around the world. Triads today are highly organized, with departments responsible for functions such as accounting, recruiting, communications, training and welfare in addition to the operational arms. They engage in a variety of crimes including extortion, money laundering, smuggling, trafficking and prostitution.[17]

Yakuza are members of traditional organized crime syndicates in Japan. They are notorious for their strict codes of conduct and very organized nature. As of 2009 they had an estimated 80,900 members.[18] Most modern yakuza derive from two classifications which emerged in the mid-Edo period: tekiya, those who primarily peddled illicit, stolen or shoddy goods; and bakuto, those who were involved in or participated in gambling.[19]

United States and Canada

As American society and culture developed, new immigrants were relocating to the United States. The first major gangs in 19th century New York City were the Irish gangs such as the Whyos and the Dead Rabbits.[20] These were followed by the Italian Five Points Gang and later a Jewish gang known as the Eastman Gang.[21][22] There were also "Nativist" anti-immigration gangs such as the Bowery Boys. The American Mafia arose from offshoots of the Mafia that emerged in the United States during the late nineteenth century, following waves of emigration from Sicily. There were similar offshoots in Canada among Italian Canadians.

In the later 1860s many Chinese emigrated to the United States, escaping from insecurity and economic hardship at home, at first working on the west coast and later moving east. The new immigrants formed Chinese Benevolent Associations. In some cases these evolved into Tongs, or criminal organizations primarily involved in gambling. Members of Triads who migrated to the United States often joined these tongs. With a new wave of migration in the 1960s, street gangs began to flourish in major cities. The tongs recruited these gangs to protect their extortion, gambling and narcotics operations.[23]

The terms "gangster" and "mobster" are mostly used in the United States to refer to members of criminal organizations associated with Prohibition or with an American offshoot of the Italian Mafia (such as the Chicago Outfit, the Philadelphia Mafia, or the Five Families). In 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution banned the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption. Many gangs sold alcohol illegally for tremendous profit, and used acute violence to stake turf and protect their interest. Often, police officers and politicians were paid off or extorted to ensure continued operation.[24]

Latin America

Death of Pablo Escobar
Members of Colonel Martinez's Search Bloc celebrate over Pablo Escobar's body on December 2, 1993

Most cocaine is grown and processed in South America, particularly in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and smuggled into the United States and Europe, the United States being the world's largest consumer of cocaine.[25] Colombia is the world's leading producer of cocaine, and also produces heroin that is mostly destined for the US market.[26] The Medellín Cartel was an organized network of drug suppliers and smugglers originating in the city of Medellín, Colombia. The gang operated in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Central America, the United States, as well as Canada and Europe throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It was founded and run by Ochoa Vázquez brothers with Pablo Escobar. By 1993, the Colombian government, helped by the US, had successfully dismantled the cartel by imprisoning or hunting and gunning down its members.[27]

Although Mexican drug cartels, or drug trafficking organizations, have existed for several decades, they have become more powerful since the demise of Colombia's Cali and Medellín cartels in the 1990s. Mexican drug cartels now dominate the wholesale illicit drug market in the United States.[28] Sixty five percent of cocaine enters the United States through Mexico, and the vast majority of the rest enters through Florida. Cocaine shipments from South America transported through Mexico or Central America are generally moved over land or by air to staging sites in northern Mexico. The cocaine is then broken down into smaller loads for smuggling across the U.S.–Mexico border.[29] Arrests of key gang leaders, particularly in the Tijuana and Gulf cartels, have led to increasing drug violence as gangs fight for control of the trafficking routes into the United States.[30]

Cocaine traffickers from Colombia, and recently Mexico, have also established a labyrinth of smuggling routes throughout the Caribbean, the Bahama Island chain, and South Florida. They often hire traffickers from Mexico or the Dominican Republic to transport the drug. The traffickers use a variety of smuggling techniques to transfer their drug to U.S. markets. These include airdrops of 500–700 kg in the Bahama Islands or off the coast of Puerto Rico, mid-ocean boat-to-boat transfers of 500–2,000 kg, and the commercial shipment of tonnes of cocaine through the port of Miami. Another route of cocaine traffic goes through Chile, this route is primarily used for cocaine produced in Bolivia since the nearest seaports lie in northern Chile. The arid Bolivia-Chile border is easily crossed by 4x4 vehicles that then head to the seaports of Iquique and Antofagasta.

Notorious individuals

Al Capone

AlCaponemugshotCPD
Mug shot of Al Capone. Although never convicted of racketeering, Capone was convicted of income tax evasion by the federal government.

Al Capone was one of the most influential gangsters during the period. Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1899 to immigrant parents, Capone was recruited by members of the Five Points Gang in the early 1920s. Capone’s childhood friend, Lucky Luciano, was also originally a member of the Five Points Gang. Capone would rise to control a major portion of illicit activity such as gambling, prostitution, and bootlegging in Chicago during the early twentieth century.[31]

Frank Costello

Frank Costello - Kefauver Committee
American gangster Frank Costello, testifying before the Kefauver Committee, during an investigation of organized crime.

Frank Costello was another influential gangster. He was born in southern Italy but moved to America when he was four years old. He later changed his name from Francesco Castiglia to Frank Costello when he joined a gang at age 13. His name change led some people to mistakenly believe he was Irish. He worked with Charlie Luciano in bootlegging and gambling. He also had a lot of political power which enabled him to continue his business. He took charge when Luciano was arrested and expanded the gang's operations. He decided to step away from the gangster life and died peacefully in 1973.

Carlo Gambino

Carlo Gambino was an influential gangster in America. From 1961 until he died in 1976, he was chairman of the Italian-American Mafia. Gambino was born in Palermo, Sicily, but moved to the United States at the age of 21. Through his Castellano relatives, he joined the Masseria Family. While Lucky Luciano was the underboss in the Masseria Family, Gambino worked for him. After Luciano had Masseria killed, Luciano became the boss, and Gambino was sent to the Scalise Family. Later Scalise was stripped of his rank, and Vincenzo Mangano became boss until 1951, when Mangano disappeared. His body was never found.[32]

The Kray twins

The Kray twins, Reginald and Ronald Kray, were leading criminals in London, England in the 1950s and 1960s. They were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including torture and the murders of Jack "The Hat" McVitie and George Cornell. As West End nightclub owners, they mixed with prominent entertainers including Diana Dors, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and politicians. The Krays were highly feared within their social environment. In the 1960s they became celebrities in their own right, being photographed by David Bailey and interviewed on television. They were arrested in 1968 and both sentenced to life imprisonment.[33]

Charles Luciano
Mugshot of Charles Luciano, Italian-American mobster, in 1936

Lucky Luciano

Lucky Luciano (born Salvatore Lucania), a Sicilian gangster, is considered to be the father of modern organized crime and the mastermind of the massive postwar expansion of the international heroin trade. He was the first official boss of the modern Genovese crime family and is credited with organizing the American Mafia's ruling body.[34]

Johnny Torrio

Johnny Torrio (mugshot, 1936)
Mugshot of Johnny Torrio in 1936

Born in southern Italy in 1882, Torrio immigrated to the United States with his mother after his father's death, which happened when he was three years old. Known as "The Fox" for his cunning, he helped the formation of the Chicago Outfit and he is credited for inspiring the birth of the National Crime Syndicate.[35] He was a big influence on Al Capone, who regarded him as a mentor.[36] After the assassination of Big Jim Colosimo, Torrio took his place in the Chicago Outfit. He was severely wounded by members of the North Side Gang while returning from a shopping trip, forcing him, along with other problems, to quit the criminal activity. He died in 1957 and the media learned about his death three weeks after his burial.[37] Elmer Irey, official of the United States Treasury Department, defined Torrio "the biggest gangster in America", "the smartest and the best of all the hoodlums"[38] while Virgil W. Peterson of the Chicago Crime Commission considered him "an organizational genius".[39]

In popular culture

Gangs have long been the subject of movies. In fact, the first feature-length movie ever produced was The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), an Australian production that traced the life of the outlaw Ned Kelly (1855–1880).[40] The United States has profoundly influenced the genre, but other cultures have contributed distinctive and often excellent gangster movies.

United States

The classic gangster movie ranks with the Western as one of the most successful creations of the American movie industry. The "classic" form of gangster movie, rarely produced in recent years, tells of a gangster working his way up through his enterprise and daring, until his organization collapses while he is at the peak of his powers. Although the ending is presented as a moral outcome, it is usually seen as no more than an accidental failure. The gangster is typically articulate, although at times lonely and depressed, and his worldly wisdom and defiance of social norms has a strong appeal, particularly to adolescents.[41]

Edward g robinson
Publicity still of Romanian-born Edward G. Robinson, who starred in several American gangster movies

The stereotypical image and myth of the American gangster is closely associated with organized crime during the Prohibition era of the 1920s and 1930s.[42]

The years 1931 and 1932 saw the genre produce three classics: Warner Bros.' Little Caesar and The Public Enemy, which made screen icons out of Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney, and Howard Hughs' Scarface starring Paul Muni, which offered a dark psychological analysis of a fictionalized Al Capone.[43] These films chronicle the quick rise, and equally quick downfall, of three young, violent criminals, and represent the genre in its purest form before moral pressure would force it to change and evolve. Though the gangster in each film would face a violent downfall which was designed to remind the viewers of the consequences of crime, audiences were often able to identify with the charismatic anti-hero. Those suffering from the Depression were able to relate to the gangster character who worked hard to earn his place and success in the world, only to have it all taken away from him.[44]

Latin America

Latin American gangster movies are known for their gritty realism. Soy un delincuente (English: I Am a Criminal) is a 1976 Venezuelan film by director Clemente de la Cerda. The film tells the story of Ramón Antonio Brizuela, a real-life individual, who since childhood has to deal with rampant violence and the drugs, sex and petty thievery of a Caracas slum. Starting with delinquency, Ramón moves on to serious gang activity and robberies. He grows into a tough, self-confident young man who is hardened to violence. His views change when his fiancée's brother is killed in a robbery. The film was a blockbuster hit in Venezuela.[45]

City of God (Portuguese: Cidade de Deus) is a 2002 Brazilian crime drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles and co-directed by Kátia Lund, released in its home country in 2002 and worldwide in 2003. All the characters existed in reality, and the story is based on real events. It depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro, between the end of the '60s and the beginning of the '80s, with the closure of the film depicting the war between the drug dealer Li'l Zé and criminal Knockout Ned.[46] The film received four Academy Award nominations in 2004.[47]

East Asia

The first yakuza (gangster) film made in Japan was Bakuto (Gambler, 1964). The genre soon became popular, and by the 1970s the Japanese film industry was turning out a hundred mostly low-budget yakuza films each year. The films are descendants of the samurai epics, and are closer to Westerns than to Hollywood gangster movies. The hero is typically torn between compassion for the oppressed and his sense of duty to the gang. The plots are generally highly stylized, starting with the protagonist being released from prison and ending in a gory sword fight in which he dies an honorable death.[48]

Although some Hong Kong gangster movies are simply vehicles for violent action, the mainstream movies in the genre deal with Triad societies portrayed as quasi-benign organizations.[49] The movie gangster applies the Taoist principles of balance and honor to his conduct. The plots are often similar to those of Hollywood gangster movies, often ending with the fall of the subject of the movie at the hands of another gangster, but such a fall is far less important than a fall from honor.[49] The first movie made by the acclaimed director Wong Kar-wai was a gangster movie, As Tears Go By. In it the protagonist finds himself torn between his desire for a woman and his loyalty to a fellow gangster.[50] Infernal Affairs (2002) is a thriller about a police officer who infiltrates a triad and a triad member who infiltrates the police department. The film was remade by Martin Scorsese as The Departed.[51]

Gangster films make up one of the most profitable segments of the South Korean film industry. Films made in the 1960s were often influenced by Japanese yakuza films, dealing with internal conflict between members of a gang or external conflict with other gangs. The gangsters' code of conduct and loyalty are important elements. Starting in the 1970s, strict censorship caused decline in the number and quality of gangster movies, and none were made in the 1980s.[52] In the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a surge of imports of action movies from Hong Kong. The first of the new wave of important home grown gangster movies was Im Kwon-taek's General's Son (1990). Although this movie followed the earlier tradition, it was followed by a series of sophisticated gangster noirs set in contemporary urban locations, such as A Bittersweet Life (2005).[53]

See also

Citations

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary (online edition)
  2. ^ Taylor 2009.
  3. ^ Kontos, Brotherton & Barrios 2003, pp. xiff.
  4. ^ Kontos, Brotherton & Barrios 2003, pp. 42.
  5. ^ Abadinsky 2009, p. 1.
  6. ^ Lyman & Potter 2010, pp. 213ff.
  7. ^ Sardell 2009.
  8. ^ Shalamov 1998.
  9. ^ a b The Rise and rise...
  10. ^ a b Schwirtz 2008.
  11. ^ Glenny 2008, p. 75.
  12. ^ Stojarová 2007.
  13. ^ UltraGangsteret Shqiptar.
  14. ^ Abadinsky 2009, pp. 154–155.
  15. ^ Ter Haar 2000, pp. 18.
  16. ^ Ter Haar 2000, pp. 19.
  17. ^ Mallory 2007, p. 136ff.
  18. ^ Corkill 2011.
  19. ^ Kaplan & Dubro 2003, pp. 18-21.
  20. ^ English 2006, p. 13.
  21. ^ Iorizzo 2003, p. 14.
  22. ^ Fried 1980, p. 27.
  23. ^ Tongs and Street Gangs.
  24. ^ Iorizzo 2003, pp. 15ff.
  25. ^ Field Listing...
  26. ^ Colombia - Transnational...
  27. ^ Gugliotta & Leen 2011, p. 1ff.
  28. ^ Cook 2007, p. 7.
  29. ^ Jacobson 2005, p. 40ff.
  30. ^ High U.S. cocaine cost.
  31. ^ Iorizzo 2003, pp. 23ff.
  32. ^ Block 2004, pp. 85ff.
  33. ^ Borrell & Cashinella 1975, pp. 52ff.
  34. ^ Newark 2010, pp. xi et seq.
  35. ^ Howard Abadinsky, Organized Crime, Cengage Learning, 2009, p.115
  36. ^ John Cobler, Capone: The Life and Times of Al Capone, Da Capo Press, 2003, p.26
  37. ^ Jay Robert Nash, The Great Pictorial History of World Crime, Volume 1, Rowman & Littlefield, 2004, p.503
  38. ^ Robert G. Folsom, The Money Trail, Potomac Books, 2010, p.231
  39. ^ Virgil W. Peterson, The mob: 200 years of organized crime in New York, Green Hill Publishers, 1983, p.156
  40. ^ Beeton 2005, p. 62.
  41. ^ Talbot 1975, p. 148-149.
  42. ^ McCarty 2004, p. 5.
  43. ^ Hark 2007, p. 12.
  44. ^ Hark 2007, p. 13.
  45. ^ Soy un Delincuente.
  46. ^ Ebert 2003.
  47. ^ City of God.
  48. ^ Kaplan & Dubro 2003, pp. 141-142.
  49. ^ a b Nochimson 2007, p. 70.
  50. ^ Nochimson 2011, p. 306.
  51. ^ Reiber 2011, p. 31.
  52. ^ Choi 2010, p. 60.
  53. ^ Choi 2010, p. 61.

References

In the United States

In popular culture

External links

  • The dictionary definition of mob at Wiktionary
Al Capone

Alphonse Gabriel Capone (; Italian: [ˈal kaˈpoːne]; January 17, 1899 – January 25, 1947), sometimes known by the nickname "Scarface", was an American gangster and businessman who attained notoriety during the Prohibition era as the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit. His seven-year reign as crime boss ended when he was 33.

Capone was born in New York City, to Italian immigrants. He was a Five Points Gang member who became a bouncer in organized crime premises such as brothels. In his early twenties, he moved to Chicago and became a bodyguard and trusted factotum for Johnny Torrio, head of a criminal syndicate that illegally supplied alcohol—the forerunner of the Outfit—and was politically protected through the Unione Siciliana. A conflict with the North Side Gang was instrumental in Capone's rise and fall. Torrio went into retirement after North Side gunmen almost killed him, handing control to Capone. Capone expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means, but his mutually profitable relationships with mayor William Hale Thompson and the city's police meant he seemed safe from law enforcement.

Capone apparently reveled in attention, such as the cheers from spectators when he appeared at ball games. He made donations to various charities and was viewed by many as "modern-day Robin Hood". However, the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, in which seven gang rivals were murdered in broad daylight, damaged Chicago's and Capone's image, leading influential citizens to demand government action and newspapers to dub Capone "Public Enemy No. 1".

The federal authorities became intent on jailing Capone and prosecuted him in 1931 for tax evasion. During a highly publicized case, the judge admitted as evidence Capone's admissions of his income and unpaid taxes during prior (and ultimately abortive) negotiations to pay the government taxes he owed. He was convicted and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. After conviction, he replaced his defense team with experts in tax law, and his grounds for appeal were strengthened by a Supreme Court ruling, but his appeal ultimately failed. Capone showed signs of syphilitic dementia early in his sentence and became increasingly debilitated before being released after eight years of incarceration. On January 25, 1947, Capone died of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke.

American Gangster (album)

American Gangster is the tenth studio album by American rapper Jay-Z. It was conceived as a concept album—inspired by the 2007 film of the same name—and released on November 6 of that year by Roc-A-Fella Records. The album features production from Diddy & The Hitmen, Just Blaze, and The Neptunes, among others. Guest appearances include Beanie Sigel, Lil Wayne, Pharrell and Nas.

American Gangster was released to commercial success, despite being pulled from the iTunes Store at Jay-Z's request, at the time of its initial release. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 425,861 copies in its first week, while tying Elvis Presley for the second most American number-one albums. American Gangster received widespread critical acclaim and was viewed by critics as a return to form for Jay-Z after the 2006 album Kingdom Come.

American Gangster (film)

American Gangster is a 2007 American biographical crime film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by Steven Zaillian. The film is fictionally based on the criminal career of Frank Lucas, a gangster from La Grange, North Carolina who smuggled heroin into the United States on American service planes returning from the Vietnam War, before being detained by a task force led by detective Richie Roberts. The film stars Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in their first lead acting roles together since 1995's Virtuosity. The film also co-stars Ted Levine, John Ortiz, Josh Brolin, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, Ruby Dee, Lymari Nadal and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Development for the film initially began in 2000, when Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment purchased the rights to a New York magazine story about the rise and fall of Lucas. Two years later, screenwriter Steven Zaillian introduced a 170-page scriptment to Scott. Original production plans were to commence in Toronto for budget purposes; however, production eventually relocated permanently to New York City. Because of the film's rising budget Universal canceled production in 2004. After negotiations with Terry George, it was later revived with Scott at the helm in March 2005. Principal photography commenced over a period of five months from July to December 2006; filming took place throughout New York City and concluded in Thailand.

American Gangster premiered in New York on October 20, 2007, and was released in the United States and Canada on November 2. The film was well received by most film critics, and grossed over US$266.5 million worldwide, with domestic grosses standing at $130.1 million. Many of the people portrayed, including Roberts and Lucas, have stated that the film took a lot of creative license with the story, and three former DEA agents sued Universal claiming the agency's portrayal was demoralizing. American Gangster was nominated for twenty-one awards, including two Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Supporting Actress (Ruby Dee), and won three including a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Dee.

Crips

The Crips are a gang based in the coastal regions of southern California. They were founded in Los Angeles, California in 1969 mainly by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. Once a single alliance between two autonomous gangs, they are now a loosely connected network of individual "sets", often engaged in open warfare with one another. Its members traditionally wear blue clothing, a practice that has waned somewhat due to police crackdowns specifically targeting gang members. Historically, members have been primarily of African-American heritage.

The Crips are one of the largest and most violent associations of street gangs in the United States. With an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members in 2008, they have been involved in murders, robberies and drug dealing, among other crimes.

The Crips have a long and bitter rivalry with the Bloods.

Frank Lucas (drug dealer)

Frank Lucas (born September 9, 1930) is an American former drug trafficker who operated in Harlem during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was particularly known for cutting out middlemen in the drug trade and buying heroin directly from his source in the Golden Triangle. Lucas boasted that he smuggled heroin using the coffins of dead American servicemen, but this claim is denied by his Southeast Asian associate, Leslie "Ike" Atkinson. Rather than hide the drugs in the coffins, they were hidden in the pallets underneath, as depicted in the 2007 feature film American Gangster in which he was played by Denzel Washington, although the film fictionalized elements of Lucas' life for dramatic effect.

Gang

A gang is a group of associates, friends or members of a family with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over territory in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Some criminal gang members are "jumped in" (by going through a process of initiation), or they have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence. A member of a gang may be called a gangster, a gang banger, or, less specifically, a thug.

A number of gangs have gained notoriety throughout history, including the Italian Mafia, the Russian mafia, the Irish mob, the Polish mob, the Jewish mob, the Albanian mafia, the Yakuza in Japan, the Kkangpae in Korea, the Triad in China, the gangs of New England, the Jamaican Shower Posse and Yardies, the African-American Crips and Bloods, Latino gangs such as Latin Kings (gang), MS-13, Sureños, and Trinitarios, white supremacist gangs such as the Aryan Brotherhood, Aryan Nations and biker gangs like Hells Angels.

Gangsta rap

Gangsta rap or gangster rap is a style of hip hop characterized by themes and lyrics that generally emphasize the "gangsta" lifestyle. The genre evolved from hardcore rap into a distinct form, pioneered in the mid-1980s by rappers such as Ice-T, and popularized in the later part of the 1980s by groups like N.W.A. After the national attention that Ice-T and N.W.A attracted in the late 1980s and early 1990s, gangsta rap became the most commercially lucrative subgenre of hip hop. Many (if not most) gangsta rap artists openly boast of their associations with various active street gangs as part of their artistic image, with the Crips and Bloods being the most commonly represented. Gangsta rap parallels other indigenous gang and crime-oriented forms of music, such as the narcocorrido genre of northern Mexico.The subject matter inherent in gangsta rap has caused a great deal of controversy. Criticism has come from both left-wing and right-wing commentators, as well as religious leaders, who have accused the genre of promoting crime, serial killing, murder, violence, profanity, sex addiction, homophobia, racism, promiscuity, misogyny, rape, street gangs, disorderly conduct, drive-by shootings, vandalism, theft, driving under the influence, drug dealing, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, disregarding law enforcement, materialism, and narcissism. The White House administrations of both George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton criticized the genre. "Many black rappers—including Ice-T and Sister Souljah—contend that they are being unfairly singled out because their music reflects deep changes in society not being addressed anywhere else in the public forum. The white politicians, the artists complain, neither understand the music nor desire to hear what's going on in the devastated communities that gave birth to the art form," wrote journalist Chuck Philips in a review of the battle between "the Establishment" and defenders of rap music. "The reason why rap is under attack is because it exposes all the contradictions of American culture ... What started out as an underground art form has become a vehicle to expose a lot of critical issues that are not usually discussed in American politics. The problem here is that the White House and wanna-bes like Bill Clinton represent a political system that never intends to deal with inner city urban chaos," Sister Souljah told Philips.On the other hand, some commentators (for example, Spike Lee in his satirical film Bamboozled) have criticized gangsta rap as analogous to black minstrel shows and blackface performance, in which performers – both black and white – were made to look African American, and acted in a stereotypical uncultured and ignorant manner for entertainment. Gangsta rappers often defend themselves by arguing they are describing the reality of inner-city life, and that they are only adopting a character which behaves in ways they do not necessarily endorse. Gangsta rappers are also famous (or infamous) for appearing more hardcore compared to early concepts and themes of hip-hop artists, and are known for saying things that are often considered taboo; for instance, the gangsta rap group N.W.A produced the famous "Fuck tha Police" protest song about police brutality and racial profiling.

In high-crime areas, putting on these made up personas is life-threatening, but the fact that gangsta rappers told the stories of others is often seen as having earned them respect for raising awareness of the severity of inner-city crime. Many gangsta rappers argue that in the world of their genre exists the emotions and perspectives of a people whose suffering is too often overlooked and belittled by society. Gangsta rap, some argue, was an effect of the various wrongdoings perpetrated against African-Americans in underprivileged neighborhoods. The various riots sparked by the Rodney King beating and the acquittal of the police officers responsible for the beating sparked anger and outrage in an area that was already at risk. Gangsta rap acted as an outlet so such people could express themselves angrily and not in fear that they were going to be silenced for telling the truth. They often used gangsta rap to tell the stories of their lives, which sometimes included strong violence, hypersexuality, and drug abuse.

Gangster Disciples

The Gangster Disciples are a criminal street gang which was formed in the Southside of Chicago in the late 1960s, by Larry Hoover, leader of the Supreme Gangsters, and David Barksdale, leader of the Black Disciples. The two groups united to form the Black Gangster Disciple Nation (BGDN). The 6-point star stands for Love, Life, Loyalty, Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding. In Chicago, the Gangster Disciples have a long and bitter rivalry with the Black Disciples. Since their creation, the Gangster Disciples have branched out throughout the United States.

Gangster Squad (film)

Gangster Squad is a 2013 American action crime thriller film directed by Ruben Fleischer, written by Will Beall and starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick, Michael Peña and Sean Penn. Set in 1949, the plot is a fictionalized account of the LAPD officers and detectives called the "Gangster Squad" who attempt to keep Los Angeles safe from Mickey Cohen and his gang.

The film was originally set to be released September 7, 2012, but in the wake of the 2012 Aurora shooting, the film was pushed back to a January 11, 2013 release date by Warner Bros. in order to accommodate reshoots. It received mixed reviews and grossed $105 million worldwide.

Gangster film

A gangster film or gangster movie is a film belonging to a genre that focuses on gangs and organized crime. It is a subgenre of crime film, that may involve large criminal organizations, or small gangs formed to perform a certain illegal act. The genre is differentiated from Westerns and the gangs of that genre.

James Burke (gangster)

James Burke, also known as Jimmy the Gent, and The Irishman (July 5, 1931 – April 13, 1996), was an American gangster and Lucchese crime family associate who is believed to have organized the 1978 Lufthansa heist, at the time the most lucrative cash theft in American history, and also believed to have either committed or ordered the murders of many of those involved in the months following the robbery. He is the father of mobster and Lufthansa heist suspect Frank James Burke, as well as Jesse James Burke, Catherine Burke (who married Bonanno crime family member Anthony Indelicato in 1992), and another daughter, Robin Burke.

Burke inspired the character Jimmy "The Gent" Conway, one of the main characters of the 1990 film Goodfellas, played by Robert De Niro.In 1982, Burke was convicted on conspiracy charges related to his involvement in the 1978–79 Boston College basketball point shaving scandal, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. While in prison, he was convicted of the murder of drug dealer Richard Eaton and sentenced to a further 20 years to life. He died of stomach cancer at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, eight years before he would have become eligible for parole.

Jewish-American organized crime

Jewish-American organized crime emerged within the American Jewish community during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It has been referred to variously in media and popular culture as the Jewish Mob, Jewish Mafia, Kosher Mafia, Kosher Nostra, or Undzer Shtik (Yiddish: אונדזער שטיק‎). The last two of these terms are direct references to the Italian Cosa Nostra; the former is a play on the word kosher, referring to Jewish dietary laws; while the latter is a direct translation of the Italian phrase Cosa Nostra (Italian for "our thing") into Yiddish, which was at the time the predominant language of the Jewish diaspora in the United States.

In the late 19th century in New York City, Monk Eastman operated a powerful Jewish gang that competed with Italian and Irish gangs, notably Paul Kelly's Five Points Gang, for control of New York City's underworld. Another notorious gang, known as the Lenox Avenue Gang, led by Harry "Gyp the Blood" Horowitz, consisted of mostly Jewish members and some Italian members (such as Francesco Cirofisi). It was one of the most violent gangs of the early 20th century and became famous for the murder of gambler and gangster Herman Rosenthal.

In the early 1920s, stimulated by the economic opportunities of the roaring twenties, and later prohibition, Jewish organized crime figures such as Arnold Rothstein were controlling a wide range of criminal enterprises, including bootlegging, loansharking, gambling, and bookmaking. According to crime writer Leo Katcher, Rothstein "transformed organized crime from a thuggish activity by hoodlums into a big business, run like a corporation, with himself at the top." Rothstein was allegedly responsible for fixing the 1919 World Series. At the same time, the Jewish bootlegging mob known as The Purple Gang dominated the Detroit underworld during prohibition, while the Jewish Bugs and Meyer Mob operated in the Lower East Side of New York City before being absorbed into Murder, Inc. and becoming affiliates of the Italian-American Mafia.

The largely Jewish-American and Italian-American gang known as Murder, Inc. and Jewish mobsters such as Meyer Lansky, Mickey Cohen, Harold "Hooky" Rothman, Dutch Schultz, and Bugsy Siegel developed close ties with and gained significant influence within the Italian-American Mafia, eventually forming a loosely organized, mostly Jewish and Italian criminal syndicate known in the press as the "National Crime Syndicate." Jewish and Italian crime groups became increasingly interconnected in the 1920s and 1930s, as they often occupied the same neighborhoods and social statuses of the time. The two ethnic crime groups became especially close in New York City following the establishment of the close relationship between partners Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky and their subsequent elimination of many of the so-called "Mustache Pete", or the Sicilian-born gangsters that often refused to work with non-Italians and even non-Sicilians. The Cohen crime family of Los Angeles and Las Vegas was notably part of both the Jewish Mafia and Italian-American Mafia, and lines between the two ethnic criminal organizations often blurred throughout the 20th century. For decades after, Jewish-American mobsters would continue to work closely and at times compete with Italian-American organized crime.

Lists of crime films

This is chronological list of crime films split by decade. Often there may be considerable overlap particularly between Crime and other genres (including, action, thriller, and drama films); the list should attempt to document films which are more closely related to crime, even if it bends genres.

Machine Gun Kelly

George Kelly Barnes (July 18, 1895 – July 18, 1954), better known by his nickname "Machine Gun Kelly", was an American gangster from Memphis, Tennessee, during the prohibition era. His nickname came from his favorite weapon, a Thompson submachine gun. He is most well known for the kidnapping of the oil tycoon and businessman Charles F. Urschel in July 1933, from which he and his gang collected a $200,000 ransom. Urschel had collected and left considerable evidence that assisted the subsequent FBI investigation, which eventually led to Kelly's arrest in Memphis, Tennessee, on September 26, 1933. His crimes also included bootlegging and armed robbery.

Scarface (1932 film)

Scarface (also known as Scarface: The Shame of the Nation and The Shame of a Nation) is a 1932 American gangster film directed by Howard Hawks and produced by Hawks and Howard Hughes. The screenplay, by Ben Hecht, is based on Scarface, the 1929 novel by Armitage Trail which was inspired by Al Capone. The film stars Paul Muni as gangster Antonio "Tony" Camonte violently rises through the Chicago gangland. Meanwhile, Camonte pursues his bosses's mistress as Camonte's sister pursues his best hitman. In an overt tie to the life of Capone, one scene depicts a version of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.

After Hughes purchased the rights to Trail's novel, Hughes quickly selected Hawks and Hecht to direct and write the film. Beginning in January 1931, Hecht wrote the script over an eleven-day period. Scarface was produced before the introduction of the Production Code Administration in 1934, which enforced regulations on film content. However the Hays Code, a more lenient precursor, called for major alterations, including a prologue condemning gangsters, an alternate ending to more clearly reprehend Camonte, and the alternative title The Shame of a Nation. The censors believed the film glorified violence and crime. These changes delayed the film by a year, though some showings retained the original ending. Modern showings of the film have the original ending, though some DVD releases also include the alternate ending as a feature; these versions maintain the changes Hughes and Hawks were required to make for approval by the Hays Office. No completely unaltered version is known to exist.

Audience reception was positive, but censors banned the film in several cities and states, forcing Hughes to remove it from circulation and store it in his vault. The rights to the film were recovered after Hughes's death in the 1970s. Alongside Little Caesar and The Public Enemy (both 1931), Scarface is regarded as among the most significant gangster films, and greatly influenced the genre.

Scarface was added to the National Film Registry in 1994 by the Library of Congress. In 2008, the American Film Institute listed Scarface as the sixth best gangster film. It was the basis for the 1983 film of the same name starring Al Pacino.

Sexy Beast

Sexy Beast is a 2000 crime film directed by Jonathan Glazer and written by Louis Mellis and David Scinto. It stars Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley and Ian McShane. It follows Gal Dove (Winstone), a retired ex-gangster visited by an aggressive gangster (Kingsley) who demands he accept a heist job.

Kingsley's performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. In 2004 the magazine Total Film named Sexy Beast the 15th greatest British film of all time.

She's Dating the Gangster

She's Dating the Gangster is a 2014 Philippine coming-of-age romantic comedy drama film based on the best Pop Fiction book of the same name originally published on CandyMag.com's Teen Talk section and it was popularized on Wattpad by Bianca Bernardino (pen name: SGwannaB). The film is directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina, topbilled by Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, together with an ensemble cast. It was distributed by Star Cinema with co-production of Summit Media and was released on July 16, 2014 in theatres nationwide as part of its 20th anniversary presentation.

Snatch (film)

Snatch (stylized as snatch.) is a 2000 British crime comedy film written and directed by Guy Ritchie, featuring an ensemble cast. Set in the London criminal underworld, the film contains two intertwined plots: one dealing with the search for a stolen diamond, the other with a small-time boxing promoter (Jason Statham) who finds himself under the thumb of a ruthless gangster (Alan Ford) who is ready and willing to have his subordinates carry out severe and sadistic acts of violence.

The film features an assortment of characters, including Irish Traveller "One Punch" Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt), referred to as a "pikey", arms-dealer Boris "the Blade" Yurinov (Rade Šerbedžija), professional thief and gambling addict Franky "Four-Fingers" (Benicio del Toro), American gangster-jeweller Abraham Denovitz known as "Cousin Avi" (Dennis Farina), getaway driver Tyrone (Ade) and bounty hunter Bullet-Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones). It is also distinguished by a kinetic direction and editing style, an intricate double plot featuring numerous ironic twists of chance and causality, and a fast pace.

The film shares themes, ideas and motifs with Ritchie's first film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It is also filmed in the same visual style and features many of the same actors, including Jones, Statham, and Ford.

The Headshrinkers

The Headshrinkers were a professional wrestling tag team in the World Wrestling Federation who consisted of Fatu and Samu. They previously competed under the name The New Wild Samoans in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), and as The Samoan SWAT Team in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), World Wrestling Council (WWC) and the American Wrestling Federation (AWF). They started out as heels.

The Headshrinkers portrayed a pair of Samoan savages, often displaying uncivilized behavior such as biting into a turkey carcass during a match and dragging each other by their hair. They were also billed as having hard heads that were impervious to pain; any attack that targeted a Headshrinker's head would have no effect, and an opponent who tried to headbutt one of them would end up hurting himself. Having hard heads went with typical professional wrestling portrayals of Samoan wrestlers.

While Samu and Fatu are the "Original" team members several other Samoans have at one time replaced one of the two.

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