Hoodlum (1997)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  27 August 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 7,868 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) »


They had it all. It cost them everything. 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
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Did You Know?


Dutch says to Lucky: "I'm going to the library. I'm going to take out that book "How to #*%& friends and irritate people." Here he is parodying the popular self-help book by Dale Carnegie, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Published in 1936 and an instant best-seller, the book would have been discussed widely in social circles during the time of the film, hence why Lucky smirked when he heard the joke. See more »


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


Bumpy Johnson: You've been warned. Get ready for your final thrill. It's curtains, Dutch. The jig is up.
Dutch Schultz: You're a dead fuckin' nigger!
See more »


Referenced in Dirty Work (1998) See more »


Torna A Surriento
Written by G.B. DeCurtis and E. DeCurtis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Ghetto Lotto
14 October 2003 | by (SWIC) – See all my reviews

The 1997 movie `Hoodlum' takes place during the depression. A black man named Ellsworth `Bumpy' Johnson (Lawrence Fishburne) was released from prison and went back to Harlem. Then he joins his cousin, Illinois Gordon, and gets back into an illegal lottery racket ran by Madame Queen. They call the game `numbers.' They say that numbers is the only business in Harlem which provides them with work. A white man from uptown named Dutch Shultz (Tim Roth) is also trying to run the numbers downtown in Harlem, and there ends up being a battle between Shultz and the Queen. Madame goes to jail and leaves Bumpy in charge. Bumpy meets a fine woman, Francine (Vanessa Williams), who sees good in him and wants him to stop messing around with `numbers.' But she stays by his side while things get chaotic. Will he realize what he should do in time or will he lose everything?

The director Bill Duke has a message in this movie. It says when people are left limited options, they are going to find a way to get by. In one scene, Bumpy is telling Illinois because of the depression there isn't very many jobs and white men didn't leave them any jobs, so they had no options for making money other than through the numbers racket.

This movie had fast paced action. I liked the part where Dutch Shultz wants Madame Queen's organization out of the numbers racket in Harlem, so he can make all the money from it. Bumpy, who works for Madame Queen, comes up with a plan for eliminating the problem of Dutch, by getting Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia), another gangster, and Dutch in a fight. This movie is a `classic gangster movie.'

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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