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Gangster No. 1 (2000)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 52
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 15

Gangster No. 1 is brutally violent, yet also compelling.


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 4

Gangster No. 1 is brutally violent, yet also compelling.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 8,680

My Rating

Movie Info

A portrait of a cold-blooded young gangster living and loathing in 1960s London, this drama features Malcolm McDowell in a major role in his first British picture in years. McDowell opens the film as the present day Gangster 55, who learns that an old associate, gangster Freddie Mays (David Thewlis), has just been released from prison after serving a 30-year sentence. The story then flashes back to 1968, when the young Gangster 55 (Paul Bettany) makes Mays' acquaintance and subsequently wins his

Oct 8, 2002

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All Critics (59) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (15) | DVD (17)

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

September 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop 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.

July 26, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Clever, brutal and strangely soulful movie.

July 19, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film has a kind of hard, cold effect.

July 19, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

July 11, 2002 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

They crush each other under cars, throw each other out windows, electrocute and dismember their victims in full consciousness. And we don't avert our eyes for a moment.

June 14, 2002 Full Review Source: Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

A stylish, confused and insanely violent gangster drama from a first-time Brit director.

September 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Citysearch
Citysearch shots do not a riveting film make.

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

. . .captures the kinetic quality of the 60s with jump-action pacing, groovy camera angles and the occasional split screen treatment that never crosses the line into camp.

April 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

It certainly feels unique, and sets itself apart from most American gangster films in its stark refusal to paint the lead gangster as likable or indeed anything other than the vicious socio-psychopath he is.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

It's a handsomely ugly affair, well dressed enough to make a few friends, but tough enough to make just as many enemies.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

McGuigan has assembled a stellar all-British cast in which there are no weak links.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

Malcolm McDowell is cool. Paul Bettany is cool. Paul Bettany playing Malcolm McDowell? Cool.

October 3, 2002
Hollywood Bitchslap

Not as well-written as Sexy Beast, not as gloriously flippant as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but stylish and moody and exceptionally well-acted.

September 27, 2002 Full Review Source: Oregonian

If you can stomach the rough content, it's worth checking out for the performances alone.

September 13, 2002 Full Review

Paul Bettany is good at being the ultra-violent gangster wannabe, but the movie is certainly not number 1.

September 13, 2002 Full Review Source:

A prolonged extrusion of psychopathic pulp.

September 6, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
San Diego Union-Tribune

Glizty but formulaic and silly...Cagney's 'top of the world' has been replaced by the bottom of the barrel.

August 26, 2002 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

A film divided into past and present sections that are ridiculously disparate.

August 23, 2002 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

In an Oscar caliber performance, Bettany plays an explosive character who spends most of the time repressing an evil grin.

July 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

It's fascinating to see how Bettany and McDowell play off each other.

July 26, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

...two brilliantly vile performances by two sublimely in-sync actors.

July 26, 2002 Full Review Source: SPLICEDWire

Audience Reviews for Gangster No. 1

September 29, 2013
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.
November 14, 2011

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. 
August 13, 2011
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

I liked it for the extraordinary talents of Paul Bettany, who turned in one outstanding performance, as usual. It's an otherwise muddled mess the latter fourth of the film, however, when 25 years later an aged Bettany morphed into into Malcolm McDowell?? The logic ot that totally messed up the film for me. But, all in all, Bettany makes it worth the watch...because, let's face it...he is the bomb! :)
December 24, 2010

Super Reviewer

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