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American Gangster (2007)

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An outcast New York City cop is charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, whose real life inspired this partly biographical film.

Director:

Ridley Scott

Writers:

Steven Zaillian, Mark Jacobson (article)
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Popularity
350 ( 12)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Frank Lucas
Russell Crowe ... Richie Roberts
Chiwetel Ejiofor ... Huey Lucas
Josh Brolin ... Detective Trupo
Lymari Nadal ... Eva
Ted Levine ... Lou Toback
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Nate
John Hawkes ... Freddie Spearman
RZA ... Moses Jones
Yul Vazquez ... Alfonse Abruzzo
Malcolm Goodwin ... Jimmy Zee
Ruby Dee ... Mama Lucas
Ruben Santiago-Hudson ... Doc
Carla Gugino ... Laurie Roberts
Skyler Fortgang Skyler Fortgang ... Michael Roberts
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Thai | Spanish

Release Date:

2 November 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tru Blu See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$43,565,135, 4 November 2007, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$130,164,645

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$266,465,037
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe previously worked together on Virtuosity (1995). See more »

Goofs

In one scene, a bill counter has a numeric green LED display. Computerized bill counters first appeared in 1981. 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 »

Alternate Versions

The 175 min.-unrated extended version includes approx. 19 minutes of additional footage not seen in the theatrical release. Among the highlights are:
  • A flashback with Frank Lucas and Bumpy Johnson on a boardwalk
  • A short scene showing Richie Roberts acquiring office space for his new narcotics task force (this added scene follows immediately after Toback assigns Roberts to head up the federal investigation using honest cops of Roberts' choice)
  • A nighttime scene where Roberts and his team tail a drug pusher with a stash of Blue Magic to an auto body shop; the next morning, Spearman strikes a deal with the shop owner "Scott" over the phone, which leads up to Roberts under disguise dropping off $20,000 to get a supply of Blue Magic
  • In the Bronx, right after Spearman drops off Roberts and informs him that he'll circle the block, an extended scene takes place where Roberts sees both Scott take off in his Jeep and Spearman getting blocked by a broken-down truck, unable to reach Roberts. In desperation, Roberts stops a yellow cab and shows his badge, argues with the uncooperative cabbie to use it, and eventually decks the cabbie in the face to take control of the cab and quickly pursues the escaping drug pusher, ending with Roberts following the unsuspecting Scott on foot.
  • After the Christmas visit with Charlie Williams, there's an extended scene with Frank and Eva back at their home, where Frank reminisces how Bumpy gradually stayed more and more at home towards the end of his life because of constant police surveillance. He then asks Eva if she wants to go out, nevertheless.
  • An extended ending in 1991 where Lucas upon release from jail is picked up by Roberts, and the two make their way towards the intersection of 116 St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd, conversing while drinking lattes.
See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movie Crime Epics (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Only the Strong Survive
(1968)
Written by Kenny Gamble (as Kenneth Gamble), Leon Huff, Jerry Butler
Published by Ensign Music obo itself and Downstairs Music Co.
Performed by Jerry Butler
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Black Godfather
15 December 2013 | by Abyss47See all my reviews

When I first saw the film, I didn't find it all that engaging, but by the time I got around to seeing the extended cut, I warmed up to it. It's a terrific crime film that accomplishes damn near everything it set out to do, and with an amazing cast of performers along with a stellar lead performance and riveting direction from director Ridley Scott (in top form here), it's one of the essential American crime movies of the past decade, drawing influence upon genre classics - such as Superfly, Goodfellas, and Black Caeser, while effortlessly carving its own identity. If you're not big on crime films, most of your enjoyment from this will be based on how much you like the cast and how familiar you are with their work, but one can't deny how well made and polished the film is.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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