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Warner Bros. Tough Guys


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Warner Bros. Tough Guys Collection

This series of six documentaries investigates the influences, techniques, themes and popularity of the gangster movie as it mirrored - and influenced - American society in the 1930s and beyond, while simultaneously providing a fuller understanding of the genre’s significance to American cinema history.

Morality and the Code:
A How-to Manual for Hollywood

Rather than allow an outside agency to take control of their films’ content, Hollywood voluntarily adopted Hays’ self-censorship rules.

Gangsters:
The Immigrant’s Hero

For the first time, immigrant audiences could find their immigrant counterparts in the movies - actors such as Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney and Paul Muni.

Stool Pidgeons and Pine Overcoats:
The Language of Gangster Films

Gangster movies thrilled audiences not only to the sounds of machine guns and racing bootlegger engines, but with their unique, delicious language.

Welcome to the Big House

Men behind bars. When the bad guys didn’t die in a hail of bullets, they were shipped to the Big House to pay their debt to society.

Prohibition Opens the Floodgates

The enduring anti-hero status of the bootlegger in film, who profited by breaking a universally hated law.

Molls and Dolls:
The Women of Gangster Film

Tough, resourceful women broke the mold in gangster films. This film pays tribute to their influence on the cinema of their day - and their legacy.