Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Percentage of top grossing US films by decade that depict killing

I obtained a list of top grossing US films from this site and then figured out whether they depict killing of people (or of animals if the animals can speak) and charted it by decade. Here's the chart:

Draw you own conclusions.


martijn said...
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martijn said...

What are the percentages of all films (or of all films that have the potential to make the top grossing list) that depict killing?

martijn said...

What are the percentages of all films (or all "films that have the potential to make the top grossing list") that depict killing?

Joe Grossberg said...

Interesting, but why did you put the x-axis in reverse chronological order? At first glance, I thought this graph showed things getting *less* violent over time!

Sha said...

weird that time is going right to left... but yeah, striking

Samson said...

Top grossing is an interesting metric, because its largely what the audience is chosing to see in great numbers.

The forties and fifties had plenty of war movies, especially the propaganda films that the studios always churn out in war time. And plenty of gangster movies and such. Most Humphrey Bogart and Hitchcock movies involve killing.

The forties, fifties and sixties were also the decades where most ordinary Americans of high school or college age might reasonably expect to be in a killing situation ... due to the draft.

So, I'd guess at least some of this measures people wanting to have some escaptism in their choice of movies. If you are worried about being drafted and sent to Korea, or if you are worried that your husband might be getting killed on a WWII battlefield, movies involving a lot of death and killing might not be very popular.

But the 70's onwards part is interesting. Its still measuring audience choice. But its clear that as a nation we are more willing, in fact now almost demand, death in our major hit movies.