American Gangster (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

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 city's mainline corrupters, but part of its circle of legit civic superstars. Richie Roberts is an outcast cop close enough to the streets to feel a shift of control in the drug underworld. Roberts believes someone is climbing the rungs above the known Mafia families and starts to suspect that a black power player has come from nowhere to dominate the scene. Both Lucas and Roberts share a rigorous ethical code that sets them apart from their own colleagues, making them lone figures on opposite sides of the law. The destinies of these two men will become intertwined as they approach a confrontation where only one of them can come out on top.more
Rating: R (for violence, pervasive drug content and language, nudity and sexuality)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: John Hawkes, Steven Zaillian
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 19, 2008
Box Office: $130.1M
Universal Pictures - Official Site


Denzel Washington
as Frank Lucas
Russell Crowe
as Detective Richie Rob...
Josh Brolin
as Detective Trupo
Chiwetel Ejiofor
as Huey Lucas
Ruby Dee
as Mama Lucas
Ted Levine
as Lou Toback
Clarence Williams II...
as Ellsworth "Bumpy" Jo...
John Hawkes
as Freddie Spearman
The Rza
as Moses Jones
Yul Vázquez
as Alfonse Abruzzo
Malcolm Goodwin
as Jimmy Zee
Carla Gugino
as Laurie Roberts
John Ortiz
as Javier J. Rivera
Cuba Gooding Jr.
as Nicky Barnes
Tip 'T.I.' Harris
as Stevie Lucas
Armand Assante
as Dominic Cattano
Kathleen Garrett
as Mrs. Dominic Cattano
Joe Morton
as Charlie Williams
Ritchie Coster
as Joey Sadano
as Turner Lucas
Ric Young
as Chinese General
KaDee Strickland
as Richie's Attorney
Norman Reedus
as Detective in Morgue
J. Kyle Manzay
as Dexter Lucas
Warner Miller
as Melvin Lucas
Albert Jones
as Terrence Lucas
Roger Bart
as U.S. Attorney
as Moses Jones
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for American Gangster

Critic Reviews for American Gangster

All Critics (210) | Top Critics (49)

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

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Scott's not interested in fireworks but small implosions of the soul and ego.

Full Review… | February 3, 2008
I.E. Weekly
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

Audience Reviews for American Gangster




Super Reviewer

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

American Gangster Quotes

Dominic Cattano: Success. It?s got enemies. You can be successful and have enemies or you can be unsuccessful and have friends.
– Submitted by Caesar M (2 years ago)
Frank Lucas: There's your 20 percent.
– Submitted by Eli T (3 years ago)
Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson: This is the problem. This is what's wrong with America. It's gotten so big, you just can't find your way. The grocery store on the corner is now a supermarket. The candy store is a McDonald's. And this place, a super-fucking discount store. Where's the pride of ownership, huh? Where's the personal service? You see what I mean? Shit. I mean, what right do they have, of cutting out the suppliers, pushing out all the middlemen, buying direct from the manufacturer? Sony this, Toshiba that. All them Chinks putting Americans out of work. That's the way it is now. You can't find the heart of anything to stick the knife.
– Submitted by Patrick D (4 years ago)
Chinese General: Quitting when you are ahead is not the same as quitting.
– Submitted by Nandu J (4 years ago)

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