This paper is an examination of the vigilante cop’s emergence as an American film icon in the 1970s and 80s as well as an investigation into his recent descent to the role of antagonist in popular films such as Training Day and Pride and Glory. While many cultural and political
factors contribute to the evolution of a cinematic genre, this paper attempts to show that the impetus for this particular, significant transformation was the highly televised and controversial 1991 beating of Rodney King, an African American citizen of Los Angeles, by the LAPD. This blatant
act forced American audiences to reconsider the glorification of police vigilantism they had so easily embraced for two decades and cast a shadow of corruption over future cinematic incarnations.
Interactions aims to encourage the development of the widest possible scholarly community both in terms of geographical location and intellectual scope in the fields of media, communication and cultural studies.