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American Gangster (2007)

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In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East.



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lou Toback
Skyler Fortgang ...


Following the death of his employer and mentor, Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas establishes himself as the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan. He does so by buying heroin directly from the source in South East Asia and he comes up with a unique way of importing the drugs into the United States. As a result, his product is superior to what is currently available on the street and his prices are lower. His alliance with the New York Mafia ensures his position. It is also the story of a dedicated and honest policeman, Richie Roberts, who heads up a joint narcotics task force with the Federal government. Based on a true story. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There are two sides to the American dream. See more »


Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, pervasive drug content and language, nudity and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

2 November 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Return of Superfly  »

Box Office


$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$24,028,445 (USA) (2 November 2007)


$130,127,620 (USA) (25 January 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Unrated Edition)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story was first inspired by an article in New York Magazine written by Mark Jacobson. He was introduced to the real Frank Lucas by author Nicholas Pileggi. Not long afterwards, Pileggi encouraged Steven Zaillian to write an adaptation of Jacobson's article. While Zaillian was working on this, producer Brian Grazer bought the rights to the project. See more »


The subway train going into the Manhattan Valley tunnel was built in 1986. See more »


[first lines]
Bumpy Johnson: Happy Thanksgiving!
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the closing credits, Frank Lucas approaches the camera and fires one shot from a pistol directly at the audience. See more »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Josh Brolin/Adele (2008) See more »


Hold On I'm Comin'
Written by Isaac Hayes, David Porter
Published by Pronto Music, Irving Music, Inc.
Performed by Sam & Dave (as Sam and Dave)
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Solid Film
18 February 2008 | by (Queens, New York) – See all my reviews

Unfortunately from listening to everyone else I was expecting some sort of masterpiece. That is not what I believe what I got. Yet it was still a very good movie.

The acting performances were also good but not great. Denzel Washington gave a very good performance but not Oscar worthy, it felt like I have seen this before from him. Russell Crowe just was not given the room to actually act. I wish Crowe would have been given more of an opportunity to show off his talent. Josh Brolin gave the best performance as a corrupt police officer. He displayed perfectly the corrupt cop blackmailing both sides for the benefit of himself. I do not really understand the Oscar nomination for Ruby Dee playing Frank Lucas mother. She barley even had a cameo in this movie. It is kind of sad to see how far Cuba Gooding Jr. has fallen not having much of a role in this movie.

What really kept this movie up and kind of brought it down was its steady flow and writing. It did show you some interesting things such as going to Vietnam and having a very unique and surprising place to smuggle in the drugs. Yet as I mentioned before the performances were good but not great because of the writing. I attribute this to the writing. Some of the writing did not allow some of the actors to expand as much as they could have on their roles.

Also the directing was very good but not great. Ridley Scott did show some interesting scenes and had good camera shot. The cinematography was good as well. Yet because the performances were not to great that brings him down because his job to guide arguably two of the best actors today.

This movie was a bit over-hyped but I would still recommend it. This probably could have received more recognition from the Oscars though.

37 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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