Bernard O'Mahoney travels across Britain to meet some of it's most notorious gangsters and gang members.

British Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2014-04-25

British Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld - Gangster - Netflix

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. 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. Some contemporary criminals refer to themselves as “gangsta” in reference to non-rhotic Black American pronunciation.

British Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld - United States - Netflix

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 wordly wisdom and defiance of social norms has a strong appeal, particularly to adolescents.

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

British Gangsters: Faces of the Underworld - References - Netflix