The Death Penalty in American Cinema: Criminality and Retribution in Hollywood Film

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Killing as punishment in the USA, whether ordained by lynch mob or by the courts, reflects a paradox of the American nation: liberal, pluralistic, yet prone to lethal violence. This book examines the encounter between the legal history of the death penalty in America and its cinematic representations, through a comprehensive narrative and historical view of films dealing with this genre, from the silent era to the present. It addresses central issues including racial prejudice and attitudes towards the execution of women, and discusses how cinema has chosen to deal with them. It explores how such films as Michael Curtiz's 20,000 Years in Sing Sing and Fritz Lang's The Fury, Errol Morris's documentary The Thin Blue Line, John Singleton's Rosewood and Frank Darabont's death-row movie The Green Mile, have helped to shape real historical developments and public perceptions by bringing into sharper relief the legal, social and cultural tensions associated with capital punishment. In the process, Yvonne Kozlovksy-Golan provides the reader with a superb understanding of the complexities of the death penalty through US history.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Number of pages288
ISBN (Electronic)9780857724663
ISBN (Print)9781780763330
StatePublished - 4 Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Yvonne Kozlovsky-Golan. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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