Films for Law Enforcement Ethics Training

    Dr. Frank Kardasz

    Films can be useful ethics training tools. In “Making the Most of a Good Story: Effective Use of Film as a
    Teaching Resource for Ethics” (1983, p. 93) Ellen Ott Marshall of the Claremont School of Theology (1)
    quotes Conrad Ostwalt (2) who said:

    Primarily, using a film increases student participation. Communal experiences of viewing a film
    breaks down barriers and builds trust between class members, making open dialogue and risk-
    taking more likely. Second, film as a tool empowers students. They are comfortable with this
    material, and they engage it confidently and critically. Third, students see film as part of their culture
    and thus feel a sense of ownership over the material. This makes students partners in the course.
    Oswalt observes, they feel a greater responsibility for the success of the class and their own


    (1) Marshall, Ellen O. (2003). Making the most of a good story: Effective use of film as a teaching resource
    for ethics. Teaching Theology and Religion. Vol. 6, no. 2. Blackwell publishing. p. 93.

    (2) Ostwalt, Conrad. (1998). Religion and Popular Movies. The Journal of Religion and Film 2, no.3.
    para. 3-5.



    Films with law enforcement or military ethics themes include the following:

    Adelson, M., & Rich, L. (Producers), & Wambaugh, J. & Knopf, C. (Writers), & Aldrich R. (Director). (1997).
    The Choirboys [Motion Picture]. United States: Universal Pictures GTO Films Ltd. Starring Charles Durning.

    Canton-Jones, M. (Producer), & Sharp, A. (Writer). (1995). Rob Roy [Motion Picture]. United States: Metro-
    Goldwyn-Mayer. Starring Liam Neeson & John Hurtt.

    Childs, P. (Producer) & Burnett, C. & Johnson, J. E. (Writers). (1994). The Glass Shield [Motion Picture].
    United States: Miramax Films Dimension Home Video. Starring Michael Boatman.

    Hartwick, R. (Producer) & Lumet, S. (Director), & Daley, R., & Allen J. P. (Writers). (1981). Prince of the City
    [Motion Picture]. United States: Orion Pictures. Starring Treat Williams & Jerry Orbach.

    Koblenz, W. (Producer), & Becker, H. (Director), & Wambaugh J. (Writer). (1979). Onion Field [Motion Picture].
    United States: Avco Embassy Pictures. Starring John Savage & James Woods.

    Lee, S. (Producer), & Cundieff, R. (Director/Writer), Tales from the Hood [Motion Picture]. (1995). United
    States: 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. Starring Anthony Griffith, & Clarence Williams III.  

    Levin, L. (Producer), & Pakula, A. (Director) & Jarred, K. & Cohen D. A. (Writers). (1997). The Devils Own
    [Motion Picture]. United States: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment. Starring. Harrison Ford & Brad Pitt.

    Milchan, A. (Producer), & Lumet, S. (Director), & Torres, E., & Lumet S. (Writers). Q & A [Motion Picture].
    (1990). United States: Tri Star Pictures. Starring Nick Nolte and Timothy Hutton.

    Milchan, A., Nathanson, M., Lowry, H., & Grisham, J (Producers), & Grisham, J., & Goldsman, A. (Writers) &
    Schumacker J. (Director). (1996). A Time to Kill [Motion Picture]. United States: Warner Brothers. starring
    Matthew McConaughey.

    Pakula, A. J. (Producer) & Mulligan, R. (Director). Lee, H. & Foote, H. (Writers). (1962). To Kill a Mockingbird
    [Motion Picture]. United States: Universal Pictures DreamWorks Home Entertainment. Starring Gregory Peck.

    Poster, M., & Weinstein, B., & Weinstein, H. (Producers), & Mangold, J. (Director). (1997). Cop Land [Motion
    Picture]. United States: Woods Entertainment. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, & Harvey Keitel.

    Reiner, R., Zollo, F., Paleologos, N., & Scheinman, A. (Producers), & Reiner, R. (Director), & Colick, L.
    (Writer). (1996). Ghosts of Mississippi [Motion Picture]. United States: Tristar Home Entertainment Rank
    Film Distribution. Starring Whoopi Goldberg and Alec Baldwin.

    Salt, W. & Bregman, M. (Producers), & Mass, P. (Writer), & Lumet, S. (Director). (1973). Serpico [Motion
    Picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures. Starring Al Pacino.

    Sloss, J. (Producer), & Sayles, J. (Writer/Director). (1996). Lone Star [Motion Picture]. United States: Tristar
    Home Entertainment Abbey Entertainment. Starring Kris Kristofferson.

    Winkler, I. & Chartoff R. (Producers), & Fleischer, R. (Director) & Wambaugh, J. & Silliphant, S. (Writers).
    (1972). The New Centurions [Motion Picture]. United States: Columbia Pictures.Starring George C. Scott &
    Stacy Keach.


    Purchase the book:
    Kardasz, F. (2008). Ethics training for law enforcement: Practices and trends.
    Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag.
    ISBN: 3639001567. ISBN-13: 9783639001563.
    Available from

Ethics Training for Law Enforcement