American vs. British gangster cinema

3 minutes



There’s something about gangster movies that makes them incredibly appealing to a broad cinemagoing audience. Sometimes people watch them to get the adrenaline rush, on other occasions they are more interested in the story.

Top-notch acting is always the recipe for success, but Hollywood and British cinema chose to walk down slightly different paths. Cinemagoers who had the opportunity to see many movies filmed on both sides of the Atlantic will surely notice the differences. The good news is that both genres have their unmistakable charm and stand out from the crowd in their own way. The differences weren’t always this clear, but as television evolved and preferences changed, so did gangster movies. What we have today is an impressive collection of films that portray tough guys in different ways, but always compelling.

Guy Ritchie and British Gangster Films
Compared to other genres, mobster movies were never popular in the United Kingdom. There were only a couple of titles worth recommending, but all that changed when Guy Ritchie came along. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels broke the ice in 1997 and he chose not to stop there. Some great British gangster films were released over the next ten years including Snatch, Revolver and RocknRolla. Ritchie has the merit of bringing the genre back in the spotlight and inspiring others to pick up the flag.

British movies frequently portray gangsters and big men wearing fancy suits. Behind these elegant appearance lays a violent character and an utterly unpredictable nature. Apparently, the audience is fascinated by these characters and this has deep roots in the British society. Back in the day when cops and gangsters engaged in brutal conflict, regular people were downright terrified. On the other hand, watching this kind of bloody confrontation from the comfort of one’s home is quite appealing.

British filmmakers were happy with the trend set by Guy Ritchie because it had multiple advantages. For starters, they didn’t have to invest a lot of money in these fields and they are rather cheap to make. The fact that this also contributes to their charm is a bonus, so this genre is unlikely to go away soon. In fact, the fascination with gangster movies has encouraged companies to produce similar TV ads. Since violence is not tolerated in TV ads, they had to use the proverbial tough guys in a different way.

British gangster actor Geoff Bell is featuring in a UK casino ad that is a shining example of ingenuity. He starred in many Hollywood blockbusters and is well-known on both sides of the Atlantic, which is always a plus. In this particular case, he portrays a moody boss who is unhappy with how business is conducted. He does a brilliant job at highlighting the perks of the casino in a very amusing manner.

More Violence, Less Class in Hollywood Movies
Gangster films produced by the American cinema are usually more exciting and action tends to unfold at a faster pace. Hollywood has a lot of money to invest and this shows, as their films are almost always big productions with huge bankrolls. This wasn’t always the case though and a quick glance at the history of American gangster films will highlight this reality.

The way the bad guys are portrayed also differs and in this niche, it looks like change is the only constant. Sometimes they are loathsome individuals that everyone hates, on other occasions, they are ordinary people put in unusual circumstances. In these cases, the audience has mixed feelings towards them and every now and then they root for the tough guys.

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