This chapter explores British delinquency films. The phrase ‘juvenile delinquent’ has been used to describe criminal children since the mid-nineteenth century. Although an endlessly prescient and emotive area, the subject of the juvenile delinquent represents both continuity and change for British society and cinema — on the one hand offering an ever present folk devil and barometer for social mores and, on the other, lending a constantly evolving image that forever allies itself to other problems. It also offers special insight into how successive generations view themselves and their successors. The first manifestation of the juvenile delinquent in British films could be thought to be characters such as Pinkie Brown in Brighton Rock (2010) or Ted Peters in Dancing with Crime (1947). However, it would not be until the 1950s and 1960s that the British juvenile delinquent made a full appearance on film and then it would always be under the watchful eyes of a responsible adult. The chapter then considers Lewis Gilbert's Cosh Boy (1953) and Basil Dearden's Violent Playground (1958), as well as the films Scum (1979), Made in Britain (1982), and Scrubbers (1983).
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