Crime, History, and Hollywood

Learning Criminal Justice History Through Major Motion Pictures

by Willard M. Oliver, Nancy E. Marion

Tags: History, Media and Crime

Table of Contents (PDF)

Teacher's Manual available

240 pp  $32.00

ISBN 978-1-59460-975-6
eISBN 978-1-5310-0016-5

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In order to gain a better understanding of how criminal justice history is presented in major motion pictures, ten such films were selected for Crime, History, and Hollywood. The films were selected as good representations of criminal justice subject matter, mostly centered on specific crimes, their investigation, and courtroom outcomes. Films made across a wide range of times were also selected, and ones that represented American history from the mid-1800s (Amistad) and into the 1970s (All the President's Men). The most important aspect of the film selection was that they were based on actual historical events. While films such as the Shawshank Redemption and Twelve Angry Men are excellent criminal justice films, they are not based on true historical crimes or events.

Each film (chapter) will open with an introduction to the historical event and film. The authors will then present the true historical events that the film was based on. Next, they will present a review of the film's narrative and how Hollywood portrayed the historical event. It should be noted here that the viewing of the film would best complement this section of each chapter. Then a review of the historical accuracy of each film will be reviewed, mentioning the various types of historical inaccuracies employed in each film. Finally, each chapter will present a conclusion in regard to the accuracy of the film, a list of books for further reading on the topic, and the endnotes.

"Their passion for history shines through their writing, which is clear, engaging, and efficient.…an important contribution to criminological studies of crime films…" — Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

"[The] book creates a wonderful path for discussion and connection." — Lee Ayers, Criminal Justice Review 39(4)

PowerPoint slides are available to professors upon adoption of this book. Download sample slides from the full 17-slide presentation here. If you have adopted the book for a course, contact bhall (at) cap-press (dot) com to request the PowerPoint slides.

Comp Copy If you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.