Mob films or gangster films are a subgenre of American crime films dealing with organized crime, often specifically with the Mafia. Especially in early mob films, there is considerable overlap with film noir. The American movie The Black Hand (1906) is thought to be the earliest surviving gangster film. Though mob films had their roots in such silent films, the genre in its most durable form was defined in the early 1930s. It owed its innovations to the social and economic instability occasioned by the Great Depression, which galvanized the organized crime subculture. The failure of honest hard work and careful investment to ensure financial security led to the circumstances reflected in the explosion of mob films in Hollywood and to their immense popularity in a society disillusioned with the American way of life.
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