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?


The Salke brothers Jules and Albert are played by real life brothers Mike Starr and Beau Starr. See more »


Incorrect references to both the movie Bambi and a dog of the same name: see trivia. See more »


Dutch Schultz: I remember the days when you could get a guy hit for 40 bucks.
Mike Salke: We live in inflationary times
See more »


Referenced in Dirty Work (1998) See more »


Steal Away
Traditional Gospel
Arranged by Fred Nelson & Jeffrey Morrow
Performed by The Church Choir
Solos by Vernon Oliver Price and Louis Price
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The numbers racket
4 September 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"Hoodlum" is a film that deserved much better. Bill Duke, its talented director, gives us a picture of what the Harlem of the thirties was like. In fact, "Hoodlum" suffers when it's compared to Coppola's "The Cotton Club". Mr. Duke, an actor himself, was able to amass a great cast and he got performances that are amazing from this first rate ensemble.

The cast headed by the brilliant Laurence Fishburn is amazing. Mr. Fishburn is basically the whole reason for watching the film. His Bumpy Johnson is a larger than life figure in that era. Tim Roth also is quite amazing as Dutch Schultz, a white man who saw the hidden treasures of the black community of Harlem and tried to capitalize in that world. Andy Garcia plays Lucky Luciano, an Italian man who also was instrumental in the criminal activities one sees in the film.

Also in the cast, Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Devine, William Atherton, Queen Latifah, and the rest, respond well to Mr. Duke's command.

The film is entertaining and will not disappoint fans of the genre, or of Mr. Duke.

18 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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