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Comparative Analysis of The Public Enemy and The Godfather

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The Public Enemy and The Godfather had many similarities but at the same time many differences. The timeline and settings were very different, ways you can tell by is checking the environment on scenes and seeing how the gangsters got their work done and interacted. The ways the two movies were shot and put together and shot may have been the same in some cases but seems both were released in different years it also had different styles. While both have their similarities about gangsters and killing, both have their differences when it comes to genre conventions they are different and sometimes it could prove otherwise.

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When I thought about both films and within the gangster genre movies it reminds me of things that involvr a lot of bloody and gory violence, machine guns, the expensive cars, and the mafia family which The Godfather had. I also thought about two main characters that start from the bottom of the society chain, and work themseelves up to be one of the most influential and powerfuo gangster in this case The Public Enemy was something like this because Tom and Matt knew each other since their were kids andgot involved with other gangsters which led to them becoming gangster themselevs and slowly become more use to this kind of thing. Also the gang or gangs in almost every movie will always have a boss who runs and plans everything that’s going, Vito Corleone had this role partly in The Godfather. One of the main rules and conventions in gangster films is revenge always plays a big part and that almost always there is never a happy ending in any gangster film.

The Public Enemy starts off focusing on Tom Powers as the main character and his goal on becoming one of the best gangsters. He tries to accomplish his goals with his best friend Matt while working under a guy named Paddy Ryan. They get assigned to vicious crimes and in return they received a lifestyle that was luxurious that they enjoyed. Overtime Tom becomes very greedy and puts himself in a position where he is involved in a shoot out with a different gang which eventually leads to him gettings killed. Now The Godfather starts off with focusing on Don Vito Corleone making us believe he is the main character but when we find out he gets put in a critical condition the movie slowly shifts to putting Michael as the main character. The main characters in both movies ended up being completely different because of their personalities and goals. However the two movie had that character that had the same role in the movie or at least had the same job,. For example Ma Powers and Connie were one of the characters that were completely uninvolved in the conflicts and events that were happening in the movie and just only got involved in very small conflicts that did not impact the outcome of the movie much.

Wealth in both movies is seen as a typical gangster genre convention. Seeing how overtime Tom Powers was getting rich we started to realize that it also meant that he was gaining power. Which was something that the Corleone family already had because they were already rich at the start of the movie. But by the time both of them were rich it basically showed us viewers they had power and authority. Also Wealth is used alot in both movies in a way to grab out our attention as viewers because we see a lot of for example expensive cars because it makes them seen more appealing as hero instead of being who does all these crimes just for personal gain. Another gangster genre convention that I noticed between both movies were that they both ended up with the rise and the fall of the gangsters. Like Tom Powers at the end of the movie ended up dying because of all his actions and crimes that he has done as a gangster from starting at the bottom to get to the top. Same thing for Don Vito Corleone, he ended up almost getting killed because of his connection with gangsters and because of that he had to pass his role onto his son because of his critical condition.

Loyalty was a big part of being a gangster. The Corleone was a big family but they also had members that weren’t related to them but they still treated them like family and therefore that person gave them loyalty. Same thing with Tom Powers and Matt Doyle, they were friends and stayed loyal to each other throughout the movie.

Both movies had a similar type of settings. Both movies were involved in cities, Public Enemy being in Chicago and The Godfather in New York City. Which makes sense for a movie that is about gangsters because big cities are good places to commit more crime and also since it is in big locations that means there are more people that they can get control over this leads to beneffitings the gangsters in both movies because they can gain more power. Being in these large cities in a movie that is about gangster always results in with a typical location for a killing or crime that can happen in alleyways. Or in old style gangster movies where a shoot-out can happening in a bar between gangs.

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Both movies also had similar reference to mise en scene this is because that start of the film has to set the scene as to what genre it is, so at the start of for example The Godfather we see that character often wearing fancy clothing lieke black suites or seeing propos like cigars. There were parts in both movies as well when the lighting was usually very dark especially for The Public Enemy b since it was in black and white this is sometimes used to prove or indicate someone’s superior and has more power than the other. I noticed as well that the sound used in both films were a mix of non diegetic and diegetic sounds. Non diegetic being music and the diegtein sound being that gunshots, violent scenes, etc. For example in the opening scene of Godfather it starts with a very slow jazz music. Along with the music they set a black background which I thought symbolizes mystery, death, or evil. Then it is contrasted with the white color of the writing which could represent coldness, fear and death. ‘The Godfather’ is sort of controlled with puppet strings attached to it but not the entire word just the ‘Father’ part, this type of symbolism could shows the type of control that the godfather in the movie has and how us as the viewers will realize on how much control the people who are Godfathers could control people like puppets.

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Comparative Analysis Of The Public Enemy And The Godfather. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from
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