Crime film  

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The beginning of the 20th century saw the arrival of film as a new medium. By and large, what people wanted to watch on the screen did not differ from what they expected to see on the stage or read in short stories and novels: the good and the bad things in life (clearly separated from each other); virtue and vice; human prowess and human weakness; sin and redemption; and, probably more than anything else, poetic justice, or iustitia commutativa, as it is called according to Aristotle, with everyone getting what they deserve. In this respect, the cinema has always served as a means of escape from real life, though a temporary one. This escapist function of both literature and film did not change substantially in the course of the 20th century: One still feels uncomfortable if at the end of a film the "bad guy" gets away with all his evil doings, if order is not restored, if justice does not succeed in the end. Subconsciously, an average human feels that if the wicked character is not punished, the film comes too close to reality and makes the person remember, rather than forget his inadequate life.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A crime film, in its most general sense, is a film that deals with crime, criminal justice and the darker side of human nature. Stylistically, it can fall under many different genres, most commonly drama, thriller, mystery and film noir. Films focused on the Mafia are a typical example of crime films.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Crime film" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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