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Poliziotteschi is a sub-genre of crime and action film that emerged in Italy in the late 1960s and became popular in the 1970s. Poliziotteschi films are also known as poliziottesco, Italo-crime, Euro-crime or simply Italian crime films.
In Italian Poliziesco is the grammatically correct Italian adjective (resulting from the fusion of the noun 'polizia', italian for 'police', and the desinence '-esco' that means 'related-to', akin to the English '-esque') for police-related dramas, ranging from Ed McBain's police procedural novels to CSI forensic investigations. 'Poliziesco' is used generally to indicate every fiction production where police forces (Italian or foreign) are the main protagonists.
The term 'Poliziottesco', on the other hand, coming straight from the fusion of the words 'poliziotto' (italian for 'policeman') and the same '-esco' desinence, suggesting a low-key derivative imprint, is only ever used to indicate 70s-era Italian produced 'tough cop' and 'crime' movies. Recurring elements in poliziotteschi films include graphic and brutal violence, organized crime, car chases, vigilantism, heists, gun fights and corruption up to the highest level.



Although the genre has its roots in the films of the late 1960s, such as Bandits in Milan (Banditi a Milano, 1968) by Carlo Lizzani, it was highly influenced by American rough-edged police thrillers of the early 1970s. These include Dirty Harry, The French Connection and Serpico. With directors such as Fernando Di Leo and Umberto Lenzi and actors such as Maurizio Merli and Tomas Milian, poliziotteschi films became very popular in the mid-70s after the decline of spaghetti westerns. The genre lost its mainstream popularity in the late 1970s as comedy and horror films started topping the Italian box office. Poliziotteschi films are today a tad less well-known than the more popular Italian "genre films" such as gialli, spaghetti westerns and horror films, but they command a niche fanbase and enjoy the support of DVD companies specializing in cult films.

Italian social and political climate of the time contributed to make the movies' echo even bigger; after the rapid growth and economic expansion of the 60s, the 70s started with a recession fostered by the 1973 oil blockade, the cities turned gloomier and more insecure, episodes of diffused micro-criminality did much to shake the public sense of safety and political terrorism both of neo-fascist origin (often backed by "rogue" elements of the secret services and the CIA) and of leftist-revolutionary inspiration featured heavily on the media.

Although based around crime and detective work, Poliziotteschi should not be confused with the other popular Italian crime genre of the 1970's, the Giallo, which refers to violent 'murder-mystery' crime films. Directors and stars often moved between both genres, and some films could be considered under either banner, such as Massimo Dallamano's 1974 film What have they done to your daughters?

Notable figures



Notable films

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Poliziotteschi" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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