Gangster No. 1 (2000)



Critic Consensus: Gangster No. 1 is brutally violent, yet also compelling.

Movie Info

In London's Soho section in the 1960's, a leading gangster boss teaches his ambitious young apprentice the secrets of his trade.

Rating: R (for strong brutal violence, pervasive language, and brief drug use and nudity)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Art House & International, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Johnny Ferguson
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 8, 2002
IFC Films - Official Site


as Gangster 55

as Freddie

as Young Gangster

as Lennie

as Mad John

as Roland

as Fat Charlie

as Lennie Taylor

as Bloke in Tailor's

as Dodgy Geezer

as Rough Diamond

as Smashing Bloke

as Toilet Attendant

as Jack the Lad

as Giggler Bennett

as Bent Cop

as Fat Charlie's Girl

as Roland's Girl

as Rowland's Girl

as Waitress

as Freddie's Attacker

as Club Manager

as Lesley

as Attacker's Friend
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Gangster No. 1

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (16)

Director Paul McGuigan and cast infuse the proceedings with a strong dose of psychotic gusto and visual flare.

Full Review… | September 12, 2002
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Doesn't offer much besides glib soullessness, raunchy language and a series of brutal set pieces ... that raise the bar on stylized screen violence.

Full Review… | July 26, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Clever, brutal and strangely soulful movie.

Full Review… | July 19, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

The film has a kind of hard, cold effect.

Full Review… | July 19, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Gangster No. 1 is solid, satisfying fare for adults.

Full Review… | July 11, 2002
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Despite some really good performances especially from Bettany, this is a pretty terrible movie...

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Audience Reviews for Gangster No. 1



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


Gangster No. 1 will never be the no. 1 gangster film, if nothing else, because its title sucks, but it's got its charm. Paul Bettany plays a very believable psychotic mastermind, and Malcolm McDowell plays, well, a very believable psychotic mastermind all grown up. Plus, there's a lot of cool, well-shot violence. Lot of well-made sets and costumes, too. But the story is pretty predictable, mostly believable but certainly predictable.

Daniel J DeMersseman

Super Reviewer


Gangster 55: I'm Superman! King fucking Kong! I can pick you up and throw you a million miles. I'm number one. 

"It's not who you know, it's who you kill."

I'll admit it did take me awhile to warm up to Gangster No. 1, but it did turn out to be a really good English Gangster film. What won me over were the performances by Paul Bettany, Malcolm McDowell and David Thewlis. Each of those actors gave an outstanding performance. The movie chronicles the rise and fall of Gangster No. 55, played by Paul Bettany when he's young and Malcolm McDowell when he's old. Both actors really sell the character and make the Gangster a very interesting character. I always enjoy watching Malcolm McDowell and he gives a sinister performance. He also does an extremely good voice over throughout the entire movie. Bettany is equally sinister and really makes the movie.

Gangster No. 1 or as I prefer, The Gangster with No Name, does have it's flaws though. Many times the film comes of as an exercise in style of substance. It uses a lot of different editing techniques that I don't think helps the movie at all. If anything, I believe it hurts it. Like I said it did take me awhile to get into the movie. It didn't really become captivating until half way through, but from there on out it really is a great movie. Honestly I almost turned it off a few times in the firs 45 minutes, but I'm really glad a gave it a shot.

It's not going to be a gangster classic by any means. It borrows from a lot of previous films, but in the end it does separate it's self from all of them. It's a cool, stylistic and well-acted movie. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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