It’s a classic set-up – the allure of the criminal world, the heist, the unavoidable consequences that follow. When you think of the best movies of all time, crime movies feature very prominently. And the American Crime movie, with cinematic styles ranging from Film Noir to Westerns to Gangster movies, is a category all of its own.
The gangster movie will never be the same after the movies of Martin Scorsese, and it was one of his very first movies that set the template for the others to follow. Mean Streets is an early great, and marks the beginning of his relationship with Robert De Niro, who would go on to make his own directing debut with A Bronx Tale.
Another classic of American Crime movies is the heist. A gang of criminals have a detailed plan to rob a bank and make a getaway, what could possibly go wrong? Flawless – with Michael Caine & Demi Moore – is a perfect example of the genre, while Christopher Nolan’s Memento puts a psychological spin on the format.
Perhaps the founding myth of the American Crime story begins in the Wild West. Here, we often see a lone individual go up against a ruthless criminal society. It is certainly this way in the religious morality tale of The Redemption of Henry Myers.