American Gangster
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for American Gangster can be found here.

No. American Gangster is based on a screenplay by American screenwriter Steven Zaillian.

Yes. Frank Lucas was a real-life organized crime kingpin from Harlem who smuggled heroin into the US on American service planes returning from the Vietnam War. The idea for the movie came from a New York Magazine article by American author Mark Jacobson called The Return of Superfly that detailed Lucas' rise and fall.

That scene was originally going to be used as the opening scene for the film (a longer version of this scene is found under "Alternate Opening" on the DVD). Ridley Scott felt that it was too stylized, so he went with the current opening, which has Lucas setting a man on fire and then shooting him to death. However, while it is no longer used as the opening scene, it can still be found after the credits of the film.

Frank throws the coat in the fireplace because he realized it was a huge error in judgment to wear such an extravagant outfit to the boxing match, which certainly drew attention to him. (It's the main reason he was considered a worthy suspect by the police.) He uses the action of burning the coat to essentially blame Eva for his lack of restraint in respect to "keeping a low profile", something in which he scolded Huey about in a club earlier in the movie.

The "who" was not revealed but probably wasn't important. Since Bumpy (Clarence Williams III) is right beside Frank (Denzel Washington) as he shoots the guy in the head, it was a flashback to a time before Frank became the boss. Most likely, the purpose of the scene was to show his ability to kill coldly and ruthlessly, thus setting the mood for the rest of the movie.

Trailer 1: "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)" by Jay-Z from his 2001 album The Blueprint.

Trailer 2: "Across 110th Street" by Bobby Womack and "Requiem Mass in D minor (K. 626)" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The extended cut adds more than 19 minutes of additional footage to the theatrical version. All extensions contribute to the story. A detailed comparison between both versions can be found here.


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