“I Need a Hero:” Representation and Reinvention of the Criminal Hero in Mass Media

  • Roxie J. James
  • Kathryn E. Lane


The allure of criminals, heroes, and everything in between is nothing new. Consider the mythos of the western gunslinger, the romanticized view of pirates, or the rise of the Robin Hood-esque folk hero. The criminal hero is a seductive figure, and, in truth, audiences get a rather scopophilic pleasure in watching people behave badly. This introduction offers an analysis of the varied and vexing definitions of hero, criminal, and criminal heroes, it explores the historical context for society’s cyclical fascination with the criminal hero beginning with the Robin Hood figure, it traces the evolving image of the criminal hero, and it provides an in-depth analysis of two films in the Ocean’s Eleven oeuvre (Lewis Milstones’s 1960s production Ocean’s 11 and the 2001 interpretation starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt) in order to highlight the necessity of the criminal hero.


Criminal Hero Ocean’s Eleven/11 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roxie J. James
    • 1
  • Kathryn E. Lane
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishNorthwestern Oklahoma State UniversityAlvaUSA

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