British filmmaker LORD Richard Attenborough has called for an end to gratuitous violence on-screen - insisting graphic images in movies have led to a rise in youth crime.
The Ghandi director, who starred as a knife-wielding thug in 1947's Brighton Rock, spoke out about violent scenes in movies and TV shows in a speech at Sussex University, England earlier this week (begs21Jul08).
The veteran star accused the movie industry of creating a culture where film fans are no longer shocked by the use of guns and knives on the big screen.
And he believes this may be connected to the sharp rise in knife crime in the U.K. since the start of 2008 - including the fatal stabbings of Harry Potter star Robert Knox and the brother of British soap actress Brooke Kinsella.
Attenborough says, "Thirty years ago if (legendary late actor) Gary Cooper pulled out a gun the audience would give a sharp intake of breath.
"Now the act of violence is the norm and we in the entertainment industry are partly responsible in making the presence of weapons such as knives almost an acceptable commonplace."
He adds, "So now knife crime is not thought of as something that is horrific and to be abhorred. It is part of normal existence."
Attenborough's comments come just weeks after a host of celebrities including singer Lily Allen and rapper Busta Rhymes called for an end to the spiralling knife crime epidemic in the U.K.