Hoodlum (1997)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  27 August 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 7,877 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 55 user | 39 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

Black gangsters in 1930 Harlem fights Dutch Schultz who is trying to horn in on their numbers racket.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Foley
Pigfoot Mary
Albert Salke
Beau Starr ...
Jules Salke
Paul Benjamin ...
Joe Guzaldo ...


The film focuses on the war of two gangs in 1930s Harlem for the control of illegal gaming - one headed by black strategic godfather Bumpy Johnson and another by white ruthless hothead Dutch Schultz. Negotiations proposed by white syndicate boss Lucky Luciano never get under way, blood flows and Johnson gets jailed. When Johnson is paroled, he gets the work of enforcer for mighty Stephanie "The Queen" St. Clair. She is also jailed for racketeering and when she leaves she makes him promise "no violence". Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dutch | 1930s | mobster | blood | violence | See All (78) »


Power is measured in enemies. See more »


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic ganster violence, strong language, a scene of sexuality and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 August 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gangster  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)


$23,461,013 (USA) (7 November 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In this film, actor David Darlow portrays Lucky Luciano's accountant, Johnny. Darlow played Lucky Luciano in The Untouchables: Attack on New York (1993). See more »


An on-screen title card reads "December, 1934", and an exterior shot shows a building with green grass surrounding it, and the sun shining brightly. In New York in December, the ground should be covered with snow. In the following scene, Dutch Schultz is having a meeting while a Yankees game is playing on the radio in the background. A baseball game wouldn't be in December! See more »


Dutch Schultz: What's 235
Bub Hewlett: It means death
See more »


References Bambi (1942) See more »


E Lucevon Le Stelle
Performed by Jose Carreras, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Conducted by Sir Collin Davis
Courtesy of Phillips Classics
By Arrangement with Polygram Film & TV Licensing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I Had Forgotten How Good This Movie Actually Is!!!!
17 May 2007 | by (San Francisco CA USA) – See all my reviews

I had this movie on homemade VHS for a while and just received the DVD.

Mesmerizing!!! Beautifully Filmed! Hats off to Bill Duke - another very distinguished African-American director!! Once you get past the fact that the movie is FILLED with phenomenal performances from the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Tim Roth, Vanessa Williams. Queen Latifah, Loretta Devine, Clarence Williams III, and of course, Miss Cicely Tyson you also discover a gem of a movie.

It follows the exploits of a 30s Harlem gangster Bumpy Johnson. Fishburne reminds you of why he is such a charismatic actor. His performance here is one you can watch over and over again. Of course the movie may have been exaggerated but what movie isn't?! It is a very stylized presentation and the obvious attention to detail to create the look and the feel of the period help intensify the viewing experience.

I am quite proud of the production and highly recommend it become part of your movie collection. Notwitstanding that is a worthy project, there are treasures of performances here that warrant attention.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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