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King of New York (1990)

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A drug kingpin is released from prison and seeks to take total control of the criminal underworld in order to give back to the community.

Director:

Abel Ferrara
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Popularity
4,603 ( 262)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Walken ... Frank White
David Caruso ... Dennis Gilley
Laurence Fishburne ... Jimmy Jump (as Larry Fishburne)
Victor Argo ... Roy Bishop
Wesley Snipes ... Thomas Flanigan
Janet Julian ... Jennifer
Joey Chin Joey Chin ... Larry Wong
Giancarlo Esposito ... Lance
Paul Calderon ... Joey Dalesio
Steve Buscemi ... Test Tube
Theresa Randle ... Raye
Leonard L. Thomas ... Blood (as Leonard Lee Thomas)
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Tanner (as Roger Smith)
Carrie Nygren Carrie Nygren ... Melanie
Ernest Abuba Ernest Abuba ... King Tito
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Storyline

After completing a lengthy prison sentence, one-time drug kingpin Frank White returns to New York intent on reestablishing his empire and making things as they were before he left. Others of course have taken over the business during his absence but that clearly isn't going to stop White. While he is gunning down the opposition, he decides he's going to give away the money he'll make to modernize the hospital in his old neighborhood. Drug dealers aren't the only thing he has to worry about however: a group of rogue cops decide they are going to take him down. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The cops tried to stop him their way...Now they'll have to do it HIS way. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 August 1991 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

King of New York See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,554,476
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Abel Ferrara wrote Christopher Walken's famous line: "A nickel bag gets sold in the Park: I want IN." See more »

Goofs

When Jump orders food at the chicken place, he asks how much and the clerk says "$56.70." However, in the same scene when Jump asks again, the clerk tell hims "56.90." See more »

Quotes

Frank White: I've got a $250,000 contract on any cop involved with this case.
Roy Bishop: Do you really expect to get away with killing all these people?
Frank White: I never killed anybody who didn't deserve it.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Orignally rated "X", edited and changed for R rating on appeal. See more »


Soundtracks

Piece of the Rock
Words & Music / Joe Delia (as Delia) - Nicholas St. John (as St. John) - Abel Ferrara (as Ferrara)
Slymoon Pub. Co. BMI
(c) 1989
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User Reviews

 
Very Well Made and Criminally Overlooked
26 January 2015 | by Othy59See all my reviews

Christopher Walken stars in this great, if a little uneven, crime film by controversial director Abel Ferrara (Driller Killer, Bad Lieutenant).

It tells the story of Frank White, a crime lord who, after being released from prison, makes a violent campaign to reclaim his empire in order to use his ill-gotten gain for charitable means in this modern twist on the Robin Hood mythos. At the same time a core group of New York cops are all over him and his gang, determined to go to war, whatever the cost, to bring him down which leads to a violent climax.

In a break from the usual cops and robber movie the line between crook and cop are a little blurry here. Sure Walken's character is a crook who kills people and then goes to parties laden with cocaine and sex, but he kills other scum bags and tries to use his new found freedom to do good things for charity. He's a character who is using his empire as a means to do what he feels is the right thing and raise a poor community up from its poor roots.

The cops on the other hand believe that a crook, will forever be a crook. As David Caruso's (CSI: Miami joke here) character aptly puts, that the more people he kills the more it reflects badly on the cops whilst no matter what they do to stop Frank, he always gets away scot-free. I can definitely see the positives and negatives from both sides as they can be both as bad and both as justifiable in their actions. Really well thought out stuff when you think about it, and this was a film made 12 years before the Wire (which I've still got to finish watching).

Though while I do say it's uneven I still hold to that. Some bits feel a little rushed in pacing and even the lawyer girlfriend to Frank White seems to vanish into thin air during the third act of the film.

But despite being a low budget film, it is still a pretty good looking film with an impressive cast (including Lawrence Fishburn, Wesley Snipes and David Caruso) who play their parts really well. I did have a few niggling problems, mostly with the sound though that could attribute to the copy of the film I had. But the climax of this film is where it's really at as everything that has been building up to this comes to an exciting head.

It's such a shame that this film has been so over looked, I mean I only really found out about it through Christopher Walken's film list. It deserves a lot more credit.


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