Private Justice in Popular Cinema

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About the Book

For many people, the cinematic vigilante has been shaped by Charles Bronson’s character in Death Wish and its sequels. But screen vigilantes have taken many guises, from Old West lynch mobs and rogue police officers to rape-avengers and military-trained equalizers.
This book recounts the varied representations of such characters in films like The Birth of a Nation, which celebrated the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, and Taxi Driver, Falling Down and You Were Never Really Here, in which the vigilante impulse was symptomatic of mental instability. Also considered is the extent to which fictional vigilantism functions as social commentary and to what degree it is simply stoking popular fears.

About the Author(s)

Kevin Grant is a film historian and periodical journalist living in London.

Bibliographic Details

Kevin Grant
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 77 photos, filmography, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8005-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3868-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
One. Hang ’Em High: Rough Justice in the Western 17
Two. Mobs and Coppers: Fear and Loathing in Crime ­and Social-Problem Films 38
Three. Judge, Jury and Executioner: Death Wish Through the Ages 64
Four. Power to the People: The Golden Age of Vigilante Cinema 87
Five. Across the Thin Blue Line: Vigilantism in the Legal System 114
Six. Angels of Vengeance: Female Vigilantes 139
Seven. Everyone Must Be Held Accountable: The Vigilante Branches Out 163
Annotated Filmography 187
Chapter Notes 197
Bibliography 207
Index 211