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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
4,846 ( 638)
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 | USA

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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

The film's opening sequence, featuring Frank White emerging from prison, was shot partially at Sing Sing Prison, the first time the infamous prison had ever been used as a filming location. See more »

Goofs

After Emilio Zappa is assassinated in the phone booth, one gunman holds a newspaper under the deceased Zappa's face. The Headline reads "Frank White released from Prison" but the article's body below that headline is completely unrelated. See more »

Quotes

Jennifer: I thought people like you didn't believe in the legal process.
Frank White: I thought people like me were the legal process.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Juice (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Dream On
Words & Music / Joe Delia (as Delia) - Nicholas St. John (as St. John)
Slymoon Pub. Co. BMI
Performed by Freddie Jackson
(c) 1989
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hybrid Gangsta/Mafia Film with Some Terrific Acting
10 July 2008 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

In many of Ferrara's best films, including The King of New York, good and evil are not simply blurred distinctions, they are inseparable. Though this characteristic is more apparent and more powerfully examined in Bad Lieutenant than 'King', there are characters on both sides of the central conflict in this film who are equally disturbing and despicable. The word anti-hero was made for the main characters in this film.

Leading in one of his better roles since Deer Hunter, is Christopher Walken. The support cast is something of an all-star list of genre films - Fishburne, Caruso, Snipes, Giancarlo Esposito, Buscemi... And all of the acting is excellent.

Walken plays a sociopathic organized crime kingpin who has just been released from jail and wants to improve his public image while taking over all of the profitable crime in New York. So, he starts offing the competition and donating to impoverished hospitals, etc. Some have compared Frank White to Robin Hood, but since I find it difficult to think of the English Folk hero as a psychotic with no moral compass whatsoever, I disagree.

Worth seeing for Walken and Fishburne's performances alone, King of New York has, over the years developed something of a cult following. Considering the cast and the directorial talent, this is no surprise. Ferrara makes an entertaining film which, though it doesn't offer a great deal of new material, offers some unique characterizations and avoid devolving into straight action.

Highly recommended for fans of Walken, Fishburne, Caruso and Ferrara. Recommended for crime drama and gangsta film fans. Weakly recommended for Snipes fans.


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