Is the number of films containing crime increasing? If so, for which kinds of films? Using a sample of synopses for all films released in Britain between 1945 and 1991 we identify shifts in the major film genres and their proportion of crime contents. The overall proportion of crime films remains constant, as does the proportion of crime contents in all film genres. But this masks underlying differences. Content analysis reveals which genres, including those with both high and low crime contents, are rising or falling in popularity. It also reveals that for some genres, the proportion of films containing crime is rising. No differences were found between British and American films in terms of proportion of crime contents by genre. This historical content analysis provides an overview of trends in the inclusion of crime in film. These trends offer a broader context for the interpretation of more detailed analyses of single films. The implications for the audience's expectations of films are discussed
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