Study Questions for Rafter Text


1. Is Rafter's definition of crime films too narrow? What other genres depend heavily on crime metaphors?

2. How is Rafter's approach to movies unique from those who want to compare crime and justice as depicted in them to reality?

3. What is a "critical crime film?" 


1. According to Rafter which type crime films were predominate in which decades, and why? cop films? prison films? gangster films? noirs? absurdist?

Chapter 2

1. Give examples of Rafter's statement that the criminological theories depicted in crime films tend to mirror those popular during the era in which they are produced.

2. Discuss lycanthropy (not covered by Rafter) as depicted in films as a biological model for explaining criminal behavior. 

3. Why do so many modern films offer no explanation for criminal behavior?

4. In Rafter's opinion, do movies cause crime? 

Chapter 3

1. Compare law enforcement as depicted in "westerns" to contemporary big city police dramas.

2. Why does Rafter argue there were no real police dramas prior to "Dirty Harry?" Do you agree with her?

3. What are the major cop movie subgenres? 

4. What's different about cops in absurdist and critical films?

Chapter 4

1. In courtroom dramas describe typical examples of justice and injustice plot elements.

2. How are law noirs different from later courtroom films?

Chapter 5

1. How has the depiction of wardens in Hollywood prison films changed over time?

2. Compare the gender-based images typical of male prison movies to those that appear in female prison movies. How is homosexual prison behavior handled in each?

3. How do prison documentary films differ from Hollywood treatments of the topic?

Chapter 6

1. Rafter identifies 8 types of crime stories. How do the heroes' characteristics differ in some of these genre types?

2. Give some examples of crime films without any heroes.


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Copyright 2001
Cecil Greek