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King of New York (1990)

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A drug kingpin is released from prison and seeks to take total control of the criminal underworld in order to give back to the community.


1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimmy Jump (as Larry Fishburne)
Joey Chin ...
Larry Wong
Blood (as Leonard Lee Thomas)
Tanner (as Roger Smith)
Carrie Nygren ...
Ernest Abuba ...


After completing a lengthy prison sentence, one-time drug kingpin Frank White returns to New York intent on reestablishing his empire and making things as they were before he left. Others of course have taken over the business during his absence but that clearly isn't going to stop White. While he is gunning down the opposition, he decides he's going to give away the money he'll make to modernize the hospital in his old neighborhood. Drug dealers aren't the only thing he has to worry about however: a group of rogue cops decide they are going to take him down. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The cops tried to stop him their way...Now they'll have to do it HIS way. See more »


Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

28 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

King of New York  »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


David Caruso and Robert LaSardo also starred together in CSI: Miami. See more »


After Emilio Zappa is assassinated in the phone booth, one gunman holds a newspaper under the deceased Zappa's face. The Headline reads "Frank White released from Prison" but the article's body below that headline is completely unrelated. See more »


Dennis Gilley: Hey, scumbag, guess what? You're under a-fuckin'-rrest!
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Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Driller Killer (2011) See more »


Piece of the Rock
Words & Music / Joe Delia (as Delia) - Nicholas St. John (as St. John) - Abel Ferrara (as Ferrara)
Slymoon Pub. Co. BMI
(c) 1989
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User Reviews

Walken Is The "King"
12 March 2001 | by See all my reviews

The ruthless underbelly of the New York criminal world is examined somewhat graphically in `King of New York,' directed by Abel Ferrara, and starring Christopher Walken. Upon release from prison, New York crime boss Frank White (Walken), determines to become a major player in the city's underworld and wastes no time in putting the wheels of his plan in motion. Among the major obstacles he encounters are King Tito (Ernest Abuba) and Larry Wong (Joey Chin), both kingpins of their respective organizations, veteran detective Roy Bishop (Victor Argo), and Dennis Gilley (David Caruso), a young, hot-headed Irish cop who seemingly single-handedly wants to take back the city from the riffraff who control it and seem somehow impervious to prosecution. None of which matters to White, who is adamant in his quest to become the King of New York. Though hard-hitting and excessively violent, Ferrara's film lacks the grittiness of say, Scorsese's `Mean Streets,' or `Taxi Driver,' but nevertheless makes an impact, due mainly to the unfettered violence, as well as the subtle, understated menace Walken brings to the role of Frank White. There's an edginess that permeates the film and the characters who bring it all to life, with the exception of White, who-- as played by Walken-- is the picture of restraint, the eye in the center of the storm. And it's that cold, soulless, almost haunted look of his that makes him so disconcerting. It's the contrast between his calm demeanor (which threatens to explode at any moment) and the overt violence with which he is surrounded, that gives him that sense of power, and it's also one of the strengths of the film. There is definitely something unsettling about Walken's presence in a role like this (and indeed with many of the characters he's portrayed in his many films); he has a natural ability and the looks-- which he uses so well to his advantage-- to convey the very essence of evil in all it's myriad forms. If they is any doubt, check him out in `Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead,' and `Sleepy Hollow,' just to mention a couple. He has the tools to make you believe his characters, and with adroit skill he uses them all, as he does here with his creation of White; and his performance is one of the highlights of the movie. Walken doesn't have the floor to himself in that regard, however, as Laurence Fishburne (billed here as `Larry') gives a memorable, high-powered performance as well, as Jump, White's main man who provides the muscle for his organization. Fishburne pulls out all the stops and laces Jump with high voltage energy that never runs out, while taking a page from the John Woo Book by brandishing pistols in both hands at once, which serves to enhance his lethal potential. And his over-the-top, in-your-face attitude is the perfect antithesis to Walken's calm, and is in it's own way just as disturbing in the aloof disregard of-- and lack of respect for-- life. I guarantee this is one pair of hoodlums you will not soon forget. The supporting cast includes Wesley Snipes (Thomas), Janet Julian (Jennifer), Giancarlo Esposito (Lance), Paul Calderon (Joey) and Steve Buscemi (Test Tube). Ferrara's film is fast paced and relentless, and he adds a nice touch to the ending that contrasts well with all that precedes it, and yet `King of New York,' even with the outstanding performances of Walken and Fishburne, never quite captures that elusive something that would've taken it above and beyond the average crime action/drama. It does have it's moments, however, and the aforementioned performances alone are worth the price of admission. Just don't come to this one expecting anything extraordinary; it's a good movie, but the Oscars will have to wait for another day. I rate this one 6/10.

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