The course project for one of my classes this past semester was an examination of devices and themes used by Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese in their presentations of the Mafia as seen in The Godfather (1972) and Goodfellas (1990). This project was not for a film class, but rather for Criminological Reasearch Methods – I felt that this sort of analysis would be a perfect fusion of the methdological research component with my love of classic film. And it would also aid me in remaining at least somewhat interested in the class.
The document weighs in at 19 pages in Microsoft Word, so feel free to skim some of the more technical methodological terms if they become too insufferable. All in all, I can say that I enjoyed working on this project because it allowed me to probe two of the greatest films ever made, as well as learn a little background information about the birth and evolution of the gangster film genre. The infamous Hays Production Code, for instance, had a heavy hand to play in the ethnic (or lack thereof) portrayal of gangsters from the 1930’s onward, until the Code’s demise in the late 1960’s. Even by 1972, when Coppola was preparing to film The Godfather, he was under substantial pressure from Mafia interests to tailor his depictions to their liking.