King of New York (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes

King of New York (1990)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

King of New York Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The gritty underbelly of New York's complex, ethnically divided criminal world is exposed in this dark drama from director Abel Ferrara. Christopher Walken stars as Frank White, a drug lord who's just been released from a long stint in prison. Aware that feeding off of society's depravity has made him a wealthy man, Frank has become determined to give something back to the city, and he hatches a scheme to build a multimillion-dollar public hospital in one of Brooklyn's worst ghetto neighborhoods. Needing the assistance of his fellow criminals to pull it off, Frank and his adjutant Jimmy Jump (Laurence Fishburne) encounter a wall of resistance from every faction, including drug-trade partner Lance Wong (Joey Chin) and temperamental cop Dennis Gilley (David Caruso). Frank's do-gooder efforts ultimately result in a Mob war and in a bloody showdown between the city's various ethnic criminal actions. Ferrara followed King of New York with a similarly themed film that many critics considered his masterpiece, Bad Lieutenant (1992).more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By: ,
Written By: Nicholas St. John
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 15, 2000
Live Home Video


Christopher Walken
as Frank White
David Caruso
as Dennis Gilley
Victor Argo
as Roy Bishop
Wesley Snipes
as Thomas Flannigan
Janet Julian
as Jennifer Poe
Joey Chin
as Larry Wong
Paul Calderon
as Joey Dalesio
Steve Buscemi
as Test Tube
Sari Chang
as Reporter
Vanessa Angel
as British Female
Phoebe Legere (II)
as Bordello Woman
Pete Hamill
as Himself
Gerard Murphy
as Mulligan
Ernest Abuba
as King Tito
Frank Adonis
as Paul Calgari
Erica Gimpel
as Dr. Shute
Frank Gio
as Arty Clay
Jack Goode Jr.
as Palladium Patron
Robert La Sardo
as Italian Guard
Peter Richardson
as Emperor Jones
Wendell Sweda
as Man at Breakfast Tab...
Ariane Koizumi
as Special Appearance
James Lorinz
as Tip Connoly
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for King of New York

Critic Reviews for King of New York

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7)

Complementing Walken's bravura turn are equally flamboyant performances by David Caruso as the young Irish cop out to destroy Walken, and Larry Fishburne as Walken's slightly crazy aide-de-camp.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

A film which, despite splendid location work, lurches sloppily and messily from kill to kill, orgy to orgy, coke to crack, cliché to cliché.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

[Ferrara] works unapologetically in B-movie territory, but does it with A-movie style.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Walken is one of the few undeniably charismatic male villains of recent years; he can generate a snakelike charm that makes his worst characters the most memorable, and here he operates on pure style.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A hepped-up film about drugs that plays as if the filmmakers themselves kept a healthy supply of the stuff at hand.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for King of New York


Frank White: From now on, nothing goes down unless I'm involved. No blackjack, no dope deals, no nothing. A nickel bag gets sold in the park, I want in. You guys got fat while everybody starved on the street. Now it's my turn.

"Not everyone who runs a city is elected."

King of New York is a well made and damn good, crime film. The movie is extremely violent, and filled with murder, drugs, and sex. It creates a menacing and good villain in Frank White, played brilliantly by Christopher Walken, who is the perfect King of New York. The movie is also helped by a good supporting cast including Laurence Fishburne and Wesley Snipes. 

Frank White is released from prison and doesn't take long in getting back to work. His work just so happens to be that of a drug lord. Not long after being released, a lot of his competition is already disappearing and three cops who know him very well are all over him. But for them it's not to easy to take down someone who basically owns the city and has all the wealth he needs to get his way out of trouble.

Abel Ferrera has been pretty hit or miss for me, but there's no denying his eye for a good shot and the fact that he can always put the right actor in the right character. Here he uses Christopher Walken perfectly and Walken delivers with a brilliant performance. The role of a drug lord has been played a million times and yet Walken is able to bring something truly unique to a pretty common character.

All in all, King of New York is a solid crime drama, thriller. It's well worth a look if you haven't seen it and it's probably the best Abel Ferrera film that I have seen to this point. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Abel Ferrara has garnered a reputation over the years for having a sharp eye for being able to artfully portray the darker, grittier side of New York's criminal underworld, and this is a choice example to back that up.

Recently released from Sing Sing, mobster Frank White sets out to rebuild his criminal empire and reinstate himself as the head of the criminal drug trade. Aided by his army of loyal thugs, they set out to eliminate all threats and rivals, namely various Italian and Asian gangsters, as well as a fiercely ruthless team of cops determined to bring them all down. But getting back to the top isn't the only goal. Frank's not just a criminal, he's a socially conscious one, and it is his hope that, once he's back in full power, that he will try to do some good in the world, a la Robin Hood.

Driven by Schoolly D's groundbreaking influential hip-hop soundtrack, this is a stylish, dark, and tremendously violent crime thriller. Christopher Walken leads an all star cast as Frank, and joining him are stellar supporters like Laurence Fishburne, David Caruso, Wesley Snipes, and several others, all putting in some nice work.

The camera work is top notch, the city's underside is suitably raw and grim, and this is a pretty memorable piece of work all around. It's not the most polished or original film of its type, but it is quite entertaining, so give it a watch.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Raw, gritty and stylish gangster picture from director Abel Ferrara who crafts an uncompromising portrayal of New York's criminal underworld. The power of this film lies in the performance of Christopher Walken who plays mob boss Christopher Walken. With a great story to tell, director Abel Ferrara crafts an unrelenting gangster picture with a terrific plot. What makes this film stand out among other films in the genre is that it's a modern retelling of the classic Robin Hood tale, and Ferrara does it very well. Walken is menacing ion his role, and he's what makes this film such a memorable viewing experience. The tone of the film is dark, gritty and with no sense of hope. King of New York shows the ugly side of New York, and the film may not be perfect, but it's a well executed film that shouldn't be overlooked by crime film fans. The film is entertaining from start to finish and manages to give the viewer an in your face portrait of the crime world of New York. With raw violence, effective performance, Abel Ferrara delivers a film that made audiences walk out due to its amount of violence and subject. A solid work in the crime genre, King of New York should be seen by fans of the genre. Christopher Walken as usual delivers a stunning performance and he is perfect for the role of Frank White. Abel Ferrara might have had a so-so career when he came out with his obscured exploitation Slasher flick The Driller Killer, but with King of New York, he proves that he's able to craft a more stylish film with substance and raw intensity that makes you take notice.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

King of New York Quotes

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– Submitted by Alannah D (3 years ago)

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