America’s obsessions with the mafia and mafia-style films have existed for decades. The ability for an audience to connect on a deep level with a character of shady morals and seedy behavior is a requirement for gangster films to be successful. Hollywood has been able to successfully take real life mobsters and make them larger than life on the big screen. Though not all mafia films created are taken directly from real life, most movies have some essence of reality buried within the plot. To understand this obsession with the mafia, it is necessary to understand the beginning of the Mafia’s presence in America. The Great Depression and Prohibition helped usher in a new kind of violent criminal: The Mobster. Mostly of Italian American descent, mobsters in the 1920’s and 30’s, controlled a great portion of the organized crime in areas such as New York and Chicago. The paradox of prohibition is that instead of creating a clean cut and law abiding society by banning alcohol it helped to foster one of the most crime filled era’s in America’s history. Prohibition helped to establish the crime bosses of legend. Detroit was interestingly the first city to ban the sale of alchohol in public. By the year 1918, the city was dry as a bone. The next year, 1919, the prohibition law would go into effect. This gave the city an entire year to build an underground network to transfer hooch from other cities to Detroit. This underground network created a virtual river of booze. The prohibition era also created a cross country network of crime bosses that for the first time in the history of organized crime worked together for a single cause: Buy, trade and sell alcohol. Al Capone’s business in Chicago was dependent on supplies com... ... middle of paper ... ...of life and death: women and the Mafia. (London: Verso, 1996.) 52. PILEGGI, NICHOLAS. "The New York Times: Best Pictures."The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., 15 Aug. 1971. Web. 18 Mar. 2011. . Theoharis, Athan G., Tony G. Poveda, Susan Rosenfeld, and Richard Gid Powers. The FBI: a comprehensive reference guide. (Phoenix, Ariz.: Oryx Press, 1999) 68. Puzo, Mario. The Godfather. (New York: Putnam, 1969) Joseph Bruce Gorman, Kefauver: A Political Biography (New York: Oxford UP, 1971) 77. Qtd. in Gus Tyler, Organized Crime in America: A Book of Readings (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1962) 344. "National Criminal Justice Reference Service." National Criminal Justice Reference Service. http://www.ncjrs.gov/ (accessed March 25, 2011).