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Studying the British Crime Film$
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Paul Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733742

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733742.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 03 August 2021

Bent Coppers

Bent Coppers

(p.73) Chapter Four: Bent Coppers
Studying the British Crime Film

Paul Elliott

Liverpool University Press

This chapter details how the British police film after the 1960s became one of anxiety and fear both of and for the place of the constabulary in British culture. The perception of escalating police corruption was reinforced in the late 1960s and early 1970s through media images of uniformed British bobbies holding back armies of desperate striking miners and colliery workers at places like Saltley near Birmingham. One could also add to this countless news images of British soldiers firing on civilians in the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry and the increasing use of the police as battering rams by a series of governments that were struggling to maintain control of social unrest. To this state of affairs one can also add the influence of two distinct media cultures: British TV and Hollywood. The chapter considers three of the most socially reflective police films of the 1970s: All Coppers are... (1972), The Offence (1972), and Sweeney 2 (1978). None were major box office successes or have been extensively covered by British cinema criticism; however, all constitute an interesting snapshot of how Britain in the 1970s saw itself and its relationship to the police and authority.

Keywords:   British police film, British culture, police corruption, British bobbies, social unrest, British TV, Hollywood, British cinema, 1970s Britain

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