American Gangster (2007)



Critic Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.

Movie Info

Nobody used to notice Frank Lucas, the quiet driver to one of the inner city's leading black crime bosses. But when his boss suddenly dies, Frank exploits the opening in the power structure to build his own empire and create his own version of the American Dream. Through ingenuity and a strict business ethic, he comes to rule the inner-city drug trade, flooding the streets with a purer product at a better price. Lucas outplays all of the leading crime syndicates and becomes not only one of the … More

Rating: R (for violence, pervasive drug content and language, nudity and sexuality)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Steven Zallian, John Hawkes, Steven Zaillian
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 19, 2008
Box Office: $130.1M
Universal Pictures - Official Site


as Frank Lucas

as Detective Richie Rob...

as Detective Trupo

as Huey Lucas

as Mama Lucas

as Lou Toback

as Ellsworth "Bumpy" Jo...

as Freddie Spearman

as Moses Jones

as Alfonse Abruzzo

as Jimmy Zee

as Laurie Roberts

as Javier J. Rivera

as Nicky Barnes

as Dominic Cattano

as Mrs. Dominic Cattano

as Charlie Williams

as Rossi

as Joey Sadano

as Turner Lucas

as Chinese General

as Stevie Lucas

as Richie's Attorney

as Detective in Morgue

as Dexter Lucas

as Melvin Lucas

as Terrence Lucas

as U.S. Attorney

as Moses Jones
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for American Gangster

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Critic Reviews for American Gangster

All Critics (209) | Top Critics (48)

Ridley Scott's gangster flick aims high and mostly measures up.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Though it's certainly admirable to aim high, it's like Frank Lucas himself says: "Either you're somebody, or you ain't nobody." Unfortunately for American Gangster, it ends up somewhere between the two.

Full Review… | November 3, 2012

It's 157 minutes long, but immerses its audience with its twists and intricacies as it plays out and considers the logistics and consequences of crime and police corruption, with a plethora of show-stealing performances from the cast.

Full Review… | July 14, 2011
Digital Spy

American Gangster is an epic, true crime drama, that although not entirely original in its premise is excellent in its execution.

Full Review… | July 7, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Flattened by Scott's cardboard evocation of New York in the '70s, Zaillian's shallow criticism of corrupting power, and weirdly bloodless performances

Full Review… | August 27, 2009

File this one under "American Oscar Wanna-Be."

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Boston Phoenix

Audience Reviews for American Gangster

American Gangster tells of the rise of 70s Harlem drug baron Denzel Washington and the efforts of crusading detective Russell Crowe to bring him to justice. Once again Ridley Scott proves he is one of the best directors working today, brilliantly bringing the Harlem of the period to life and essentially telling two tales in tandem in an intelligent and always entertaining way. Denzel is always better in his shadier roles, and this for me has to be one of his best. It does not have the grit and intensity of Scorsese's gangster pieces and the action/violence is sparse. It's more in the vein of something like Infernal affairs or a 70s version of The Wire in its treatment of the story and Scott's pacing is spot on, as the film despite its two and three quarter hour length never drags. The climactic shoot out is brilliantly done, delivered by Scott in a way you know his brother is completely incapable of; his version probably would have been an unwatchably choppy hallucinogenic migraine. It would have been nice to see Crowe and Washington share the screen a little more, but otherwise it delivered on every level. It doesn't challenge the classics, such as The Godfather or Goodfellas, but more than holds its own against other heavyweights such as Donnie Brasco and The Departed.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Ridley Scott develops a masterpiece to be enshrined historically as a magnificent crime/drama classic. American Gangster provides what is to be expected of the obvious title: violence, drugs, and a daring story. The film is also given an extra push by its groundbreaking cast, especially Washington & Crowe. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

Another great film starring Denzel. It has a good amount of violence (if that kind of thing matters to you), and a great story line. If you like movies such as Scarface and The Godfather, then this is a good movie to watch within that genre.

Eric Alvarez
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

American Gangster Quotes

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