Gangster No. 1

2000

Gangster No. 1

Critics Consensus

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

71%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 52

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,840
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Gangster No. 1 Photos

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.

Cast

Malcolm McDowell
as Gangster 55
Paul Bettany
as Young Gangster
Doug Allen
as Mad John
David Kennedy
as Fat Charlie
Jamie Forman
as Lennie Taylor
Alex McSweeney
as Bloke in Tailor's
Binky Baker
as Dodgy Geezer
Martyn Read
as Rough Diamond
Don McCorkindale
as Smashing Bloke
Arthur Nightingale
as Toilet Attendant
Jack Pierce
as Jack the Lad
Gary McCormack
as Giggler Bennett
Sean Chapman
as Bent Cop
Georgina Bull
as Fat Charlie's Girl
Jo-Anne Nighy
as Roland's Girl
Simone Bowkett
as Rowland's Girl
Lisa Ellis
as Waitress
Simon Marc
as Freddie's Attacker
Tony Denham
as Club Manager
Jo McInnes
as Lesley
Lorraine Stanley
as Attacker's Friend
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Critic Reviews for Gangster No. 1

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (15)

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

    Sep 12, 2002 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Doesn't offer much besides glib soullessness, raunchy language and a series of brutal set pieces ... that raise the bar on stylized screen violence.

    Jul 26, 2002 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The film has a kind of hard, cold effect.

    Jul 19, 2002 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Gangster No. 1 is solid, satisfying fare for adults.

    Jul 11, 2002 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jun 14, 2002 | Rating: 3/4

    Jan Stuart

    Newsday
    Top Critic
  • It's more than a rip-off of Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but less than the Pulp Fiction-esque genre-bender it aspires to be.

    Jun 14, 2002 | Rating: 1.5/4

Audience Reviews for Gangster No. 1

  • Sep 29, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2013
    Has there ever been a double bill of American Psycho and this film? I think the comparisons are definitely present, the leads are both misogynists and probably both are frustrated and closeted homosexuals. Of course this film also reminds me, a little bit, of A Clockwork Orange, and not just because of the fact that Malcolm McDowell is in it. It's just the way some of the scenes are shot, most specifically the ultra-violent scene where *SPOILER* Ganster No. 1 kills Lennie Taylor. For some reason, this scene reminds me of something off a A Clockwork Orange. Not to mention the main character being an insane, cold-blooded man doesn't help with the comparisons to A Clockwork Orange or American Psycho. I really liked this movie to be honest, I found the development of No. 1 to be interesting and seeing how his obsession with Freddie plays out in the flashback scenes. They certainly have a weird relationship because it's clear that No. 1 respects Freddie and looks up to him, but there's also times where he loathes the man for, what he perceives to be, weakness. Like falling in love with Karen. There's also this side to No. 1 that seems to be in love with Freddie. They don't really make a big deal out of this, it's mostly body language and the way No. 1 behaves whenever Freddie's around a woman. I wouldn't say it's subtle, but if you're not paying attention you will completely miss out on a very important part of the main character's personality. If there was a problem with the film is that some of the more stylistic scenes don't do anything for me and just feel like an attempt to make the film "cooler", which it didn't really need since the film was cool enough as it is. For example when you see some of No. 1's violent acts, the screen shatters like glass and I have no idea what that was there for, because it looked like it was very cheaply done. There's also some scenes with No. 1 walking where he, and the screen, are consumed by fire. Again, good idea in theory but it looks lame in execution. If there's another problem with the film is that the flashback stuff, or the story of how No. 1 screwed Freddie and became the boss which comprises a LARGE part of the film, is infinitely superior to the stuff after Freddie comes out of prison. And the ending is also pretty corny in some parts, mostly in McDowell's performance and some of his lines. I thought that the acting was strong. Paul Bettany's performance took a little to grow on me, but I thought he was great as this psychopath with little to any redeeming qualities. The supporting cast is strong, but it's really the Paul Bettany show here and he delivers. I really liked this movie, it isn't without its flaws but it is an entertaining, violent, and intriguing story about a man's unhealthy obsession with his boss. Definitely a must-watch if you have Netflix Instant.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2011
    Summary: A great British gangster movie. It's violent, scary, thrilling and a little psychotic. The Good: The movie is not filled completely with action but you will never be bored. The acting is superb and you will be genuinely interested in the story and characters. There is lots of blood as well. The Bad: Not much bad I can say, unless you don't like awesomeness. Ratings: Acting: 10/10 Story: 9/10 Originalality: 8/10 Soundtrack: 8/10 Characters: 9/10 Overall: 9.2/10
    Professor W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 13, 2011
    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 W Super Reviewer

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