American cinema has always been violent, and never more than now: exploding heads, buses that blow up if they stop, leaking ocean liners, racial attacks, and general mayhem. From slapstick's comic violence to film noir, from the silents to Tarantino, violence has been part of America on screen. Yet violence is traditionally a secondary concern of film criticism. This latest volume in our successful AFI Film Readers series analyzes violence, examining its nature, its effects, and its cinematic and social meaning. Thirteen contributions are organized in three parts: 'Theorizing and Historicizing Hollywood Violence', 'Revisiting Violent Genres' and 'Hollywood Violence and Cultural Politics'.