6.8/10
12,955
135 user 61 critic

Gangster No. 1 (2000)

Chronicles the rise and fall of a prominent, and particularly ruthless English gangster.

Director:

Paul McGuigan

Writers:

Johnny Ferguson (screenplay adaptation), Louis Mellis (original screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm McDowell ... Gangster 55
David Thewlis ... Freddie Mays
Paul Bettany ... Young Gangster
Saffron Burrows ... Karen
Kenneth Cranham ... Tommy (as Ken Cranham)
Jamie Foreman ... Lennie Taylor
Eddie Marsan ... Eddie Miller
Andrew Lincoln ... Maxie King
Doug Allen ... Mad John
Razaaq Adoti ... Roland
Cavan Clerkin ... Billy
David Kennedy ... Fat Charlie
Johnny Harris ... Derek
Anton Saunders ... Trevor (as Anton Valensi)
Alex McSweeney Alex McSweeney ... Bloke In Tailor's
Learn more

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Storyline

A middle-aged crime boss smugly reflects back from 1999, narrating the brutality which made him triumphant - and feared. As an unnamed young hood in Swinging 60's London, he aped his mod boss Freddie Mays, and seemed to do anything for him. But his narration exposes all-consuming envy: of Freddie's supremacy, and especially his tall bird. The baby shark develops his viciousness and backstabbing, scheming to be Gangster No. 1. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's not who you know, it's who you kill. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, and brief drug use and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul McGuigan: at the urinal in the opening scene. See more »

Goofs

There is a scene where the two main actors are running around the corridors of a block of flats leading to a scene in one of the flats leading to a beating. These flats are on the Bloomsbury Estate in London. The scene is set around 1969, the estate was built in 1972/3, so wouldn't have been there. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[song "The Good Life" begins as scene opens at boxing match; crowd noises]
Gangster 55: [laughing] What? With Scotland Yard breathing down me neck? Fuck off. Do me a favor!
[laughter]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lucky Number Slevin (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Lazy Sunday
Written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane
Performed by Small Faces (as The Small Faces)
Published by EMI United Partnership Ltd
See more »

User Reviews

Dark, Sharp, Shrewd: Magnificent.
2 April 2001 | by unterpotatenSee all my reviews

The first thing I notice is the cover-jacket. It is littered with the critic's gushing praise ; ` Diamond-edged performances' spews one filmic muso.

Hmmm...I'm immediately suspicious. Films The Truman Show and Existenz also garnered such critical acclaim yet, suspiciously and unfortunately, seemed to do absolutely nothing for me.

So how does Gangster No.1 fare?

Well, ladies and gents, believe the hype. If Gangster No 1 was a man, it would be diamond geezer.

Gangster No1 is a gem, albeit a very dark one. A brutal black comedy and an ultra-hip crime-flick in one - it's a cockney masterpiece, a genuine Pearly King of a movie.

The year is 1968 and our eponymous hero (we only ever know him as `Gangster') is taken under the wing of Freddie Mays, the quintessential East End gangleader. Though Freddie is young he has already earned himself a chilling moniker, the 'Butcher of Mayfair', and a great wad of cash. Gangster begins working for Freddie, collects debts here, breaks a few legs there, but soon has his eyes on the bigger prize - to be Gangster No.1. To be like Freddie. Soon Gangster is plotting his ascent, murdering fellow gang members and precipitating an internecine gang war on his way up the ladder.

So far, so unoriginal, I hear you say. But what distinguishes Gangster No.1 from its rather lame contemporaries (think Circus and 24 Hours in London) is its razor-sharp dialogue and superb performances. The scene where our gangster confronts a gang member suspected of being in cohoots with a rival is simply electrifying.

Paul Bettany manages to be menacing, piteous and ultra-cool all at once with a frighteningly realistic turn in the title role. David Thewlis too, as Freddie Mays, is faultless. Malcolm McDowell provides a suitably cockney-fied voice over, but later reappearing in person as an older version of our Gangster to provide the motivation behind the insightful denounement.

One slight criticism. The old `end of act-two problem' rears its ugly head at around an hour and fifteen minutes. Yes, the film becomes bogged down rather as Malcolm McDowell goes on a panicky cockney walkabout waiting for Freddie Mays to be released from prison. And when the two finally meet, in what was once Freddie May's luxury 60's pad, the scene isn't quite as explosive as you'd hoped it might be.

Nevertheless, Gangster No1 is an excellent film. A credible gangster flick, a stylish revisiting of the 60's East End, a cracking script, and spot-on dialogue.

Oh and the critics were right, the performances are ` diamond -edged'. Funny that.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

FilmFour | MGM

Country:

UK | Germany | Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 June 2000 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Gangster Nr. 1 See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,514, 16 June 2002

Gross USA:

$30,915

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,915
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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