Hoodlum

1997

Hoodlum

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

43%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,984
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Hoodlum Photos

Movie Info

The numbers game was a major racket in 1930's Harlem, and African American crime boss Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson was its undisputed king until psychotic white mobster Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth) decided he wanted the lucrative district's gambling business for himself and was willing to get it by force. Schultz's nominal boss Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia) also wants a piece of the action, but he would rather negotiate as would the soft-spoken Johnson who is as much a gentleman as he is a vicious gangster. Johnson (Laurence Fishburne) was at one time an idealist who, after his parole in 1934, returned to his native Harlem to work as a thug for Stephanie "Queen" St. Clair (Cicely Tyson). He is a hard case, and with ruthless efficiency he soon becomes her right-hand man. When she is eventually caught and sentenced to prison, she makes Bumpy promise to stay away from violence. He tries, but the sordid nature of his business makes it impossible. Though outwardly a cold-blooded sort, community social worker Francine Huges (Vanessa Williams) sees some good in him and so becomes emotionally involved in hopes of convincing him to leave criminal life. But despite her good intentions, the lure of power and easy money coupled with a bloody war with Schultz are too much for Bumpy and only serves to make him even worse. This crime drama features considerable violence.

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Cast

Laurence Fishburne
as Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson
Tim Roth
as Dutch Schultz
Vanessa L. Williams
as Francine Hughes
Andy Garcia
as Lucky Luciano
Cicely Tyson
as Stephanie St. Clair
Chi McBride
as Illinois Gordon
Richard Bradford
as Capt. Foley
William Atherton
as Thomas Dewey
Loretta Devine
as Pigfoot Mary
Mike Starr
as Albert Salke
Beau Starr
as Jules Salke
Paul Benjamin
as Whispers
Joe Guzaldo
as Bo Weinberg
Ed O'Ross
as Lulu Rosenkrantz
J.W. Smith
as Calvin
Eddie B. Smith
as Tee-Ninchy
David Darlow
as Johnny `Figures' DiPalmero
Steve Pickering
as Lucky's Henchman
Ellis Foster
as Undertaker
Bill Henderson
as Mr. Redmond
Juan A. Ramirez
as Enrique `Henry' Miro
Kevin Morrow
as Waldo/Church Conductor
Tony Fitzpatrick
as Dutch's Driver
Tab Baker
as Willie Brunder
Daniel Bryant
as Hep-Cat Man
Don James
as Piano Man
Sulanya 'Sue' Conway
as Miss Philmore
Paul Eckstein
as Dutch's Thug
Jackie Taylor
as Mrs. Andrews
Dick Gjonola
as Owney Madden
David Nisbet
as Man In Cotton Club
Nancy Nickel
as Woman In Cotton Club
Ted Love
as Runner
Jim Saltouros
as Lieutenant
Marc Vann
as Dutch's Liquor Henchman
Cheridah Best
as Prostitute
Iris Lieberman
as Female Prison Guard
John M. Watson Sr.
as Manager of Pool Hall
Eric Kilpatrick
as Security Guard
Tony Powell
as Rent Party Singer
Louis Price
as Church Singer
Vernon Oliver Price
as Church Singer
Laurnea Wilkerson
as Cotton Club Singer
Tony Rich
as Duke Ellington
Kim Adams
as Show Girl
Fred A. Nelson
as Sideline Musician
Robert Keating
as Luciano's Mob Boss
Charles Koysta
as Luciano's Mob Boss
Joe Testa
as Luciano's Mob Boss
Rocky McCord
as Luciano's Mob Boss
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Critic Reviews for Hoodlum

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (12)

  • The Sting-like ending with its crosses and double-crosses could have been better handled, but there are plenty of other payoffs.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4
    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • Impressively mounted if overly familiar gangster tale.

    Jul 24, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • This slow-going, talky film is in a constant struggle to hold the audience's interest.

    Feb 14, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • It contains nothing of any lingering interest. On the other hand, Laurence Fishburne may be the only man on the planet who makes that mustache look good.

    Nov 1, 2002 | Rating: 2/5
  • A collection of elements rather than a distinct story, the film takes what should have been a fresh perspective on the genre and paints by numbers.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hoodlum

  • Oct 07, 2018
    Great cast and a film that should have been one of the better mob films. The biggest issue is with the filmmakers style and lack of for the period. He attempts to paint Harlem in a different light but few can argue he achieved this. Fishburne and Roth playing together are some of the highlights, they are two powerful character actors and this is where the film shines. I think they missed a grand opportunity to make a film that would shine alongside the Godfather, but sadly it's just a time killing film. 06/10/2018.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jun 05, 2011
    In Hoodlum, "Bumpy" Johnson (Laurence Fishburne) plays a man recently released from prison who leads an African-American attempt to wrest control of organized crime in the Black neighborhoods of New York from the established Italian-descended criminals and goes up against the calm and cool Lucky Luciano (Andy Garcia) and insanely ruthless Dutch Schultz (Tim Roth). There is lots to grab your attention with in this movie with its colorful characters that includes Clarence Williams III, Vanessa Williams, Cicely Tyson, Loretta Devine, and Queen Latifah, and an array of good performances, especially Fishburne who's rugged and streetsmart as Bumpy Johnson, Roth who's totally over-the-top as the trigger happy Dutch Schultz and the fearsome Lucky Luciano topped with enough shoot 'em up action and violence to spare.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 26, 2010
    It doesn't quite work.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 29, 2009
    Every racist comment out of Tim Roth's character's mouth was like a stab to the chest. It made this movie hard to enjoy, which is a shame because I like 20s gangster movies.
    Remi L Super Reviewer

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