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American Gangster (2007)

R  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  2 November 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 311,231 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 449 user | 297 critic | 38 from Metacritic.com

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 11 wins & 32 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.


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?


Peter Berg met briefly with producers to direct this and was given the okay by Denzel Washington. See more »


A number of cars in the 1968 scenes at the very beginning are actually 1970's models, including a 1973 boat-tail Buick Riviera. 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 »


Featured in Maltin on Movies: Awards Special 2013 (2013) See more »


No Shoes
Written by John Lee Hooker
Published by Conrad Music
Performed by John Lee Hooker
Courtesy of Vee-Jay Ltd. Partnership
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"My Man"
28 October 2007 | by (Happy Land, who lives in a Gumdrop House on Lolly Pop Lane) – See all my reviews

Ridley Scott's new flick American Gangster was a good one. Though Im not gonna be saying it's the best film of the year or anything like that. It was directed well, barely any dull scenes, great acting by an enormous cast and was really well-written. Unfortunately the story never seemed "new" to me. I was reminded of other drug-related/crime movies, like BLOW, CITY OF GOD, and evening TRAINING DAY....."My Man". Though it's in the leagues as being entertaining as the above mentioned movies, it really just never felt like I was watching a "new" story. But speaking of story, I never knew anything about Frank Lucas, and his story is fantastic. A black man who was more influential than his Mafian brethren? Tell me you're kidding. Nope, he was a force in Harlem back in the late 60s and early 70s and barely anyone knows about it. But for me this area of the film was the only stand out part. Sure there are other good scenes, done well, but nothing worth mentioning. Well, scratch that, naked women workin in a drug lab was an eye-opening scene.

Denzel Washington won the Oscar when he portrayed the crooked cop in Training Day who said "My Man" all the time. Well, in the American Gangster you got him saying this line again, and by God does he have it down. There are scenes when you know he's gonna say it, and he still pulls it off incredibly well. Denzel is one actor you really never have to worry about it in the acting department. You've got Russell "Mr. Oscar" Crowe playing the other lead, and like always, he always has the character down. He was great in this flick, the accent, the mannerisms, all of it. Though, his character's story was interesting in that he was in charge of the case to figure out who the big boy druglords were, his side story with his wife was for me the "dull" parts of the film. They were well-acted and all that, but mostly, it was just character development that isn't needed. Russell Crowe's good enough an actor to portray a struggling cop without a family problem. And also let me say Josh Brolin as the crooked cop was great. I didn't need a side-story of him doing tons of drugs and banging prostitutes....but ya know he was doing it.

American Gangster was a really good flick. It had amazing acting mixed with scenes that shed a new light on drug-trafficking....or should I say Old light. Though since there are so many other drug/crime cop films out there it seems a little been there done that. But don't let that sway you if you enjoy good movies and or crime films. And also, Frank Lucas is one hell of an interesting personality. My man. 8.5 outta 10

278 of 375 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is this movie worth watching? pilot-78
movies with the dirtiest cops...brolin(trupo)? markyho
Russel Crowe? SpyderPig
Slightly confused about Richie's dual role walter-984-446433
bumpy's comments at the start about pride of ownership lord_kellington
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