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American Gangster (2007)

R | | Biography, Crime, Drama | 2007 (USA)
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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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830 ( 272)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

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


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Return of Superfly  »

Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Terry George was brought on to rewrite the script, in order to downsize the project's budget to fifty million dollars, when it was first revitalized in March 2005. George had planned on reuniting with his Hotel Rwanda (2004) lead, Don Cheadle, to portray Frank Lucas. After George's screenplay was turned down, Steven Zaillian was re-hired to write another draft of his own screenplay. See more »

Goofs

A 1990s Ford van with "AVIS" on the side appears when Frank and his new wife step out of the church and face the crowd. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in American Gangster: Case Files (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Guess Things Happen That Way
(1958)
Written by Jack Clement
Published by Universal Songs of Polygram Int, Inc.
Performed by Johnny Cash
Courtesy of Sun Entertainment Corporation
By Arrangement with Nola Leone/Ace Music Services, LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Two Great Actors Elevate This Scarface-Like Story
7 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The best thing this movie had going for it - which is no surprise - is the acting duo of Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. How many bad movies do you see with either of those guys starring in them? Not many, and neither actor disappoints here. Both play fascinating guys, Washington, a big gangster ("Frank Lucas") and Crowe, an honest cop ("Richie Roberts")

This movie reminded me a lot of the '83 "Scarface" film in which Tony Montana (Al Pacino) rises from the bottom up to be a big drug lord, only to have things crumble big-time. We see a similar tale here with "Lucas," except that his fall is sudden in this story, unlike Pacino's character.

Director Ridley Scott and photographer Harris Savides also give us a slick- looking film, very pretty spots and stylishly-directed.

The story wasn't quite as good as the people who photographed it and acted in it. It's still a good one in that it entertains. I was never bored despite the two- and-a-half-hour length of it. I was a bit confused in the first 25 minutes but things straightened out after that.

The supporting cast in here is very deep with a lot of familiar faces, going all the way back to 83-year-old Ruby Dee. A new, young face - Lamari Nadal - is a real beauty. She plays Frank's wife, who is a lot nicer character than the one Michelle Peiffer played in "Scarface."

A key to whether you enjoy this or not - if you haven't seen it - might be your expectations. Know in advance there is not a ton of action in this tough crime movie and don't listen to all the hype that this is "the best film of the year." Just expect a decent movie with good acting and instead of a lot of blood and guts, and you should enjoy it. That's how I looked at it, and it worked for me. It was entertaining enough for me that I'd watch it again.


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