In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East.
157 min, USA:176 min (unrated version)
1.85 : 1
Rated R for violence, pervasive drug content and language, nudity and sexuality.
Heroin, Harlem, Death, Vietnam, Mafia
SDDS, DTS, Dolby Digital
Crime Drama, Gangster Film
Drug Trade, Rise To Power, Police Corruption, Race Relations, Star Detectives
Gritty, Forceful, Ominous, Angry, Tense
Has Detailed Data (New)
1, 2, 3, 7, 8
US Box Office
Country Of Origin
American Gangster is a 2007 American biographical crime film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by Steven Zaillian. The film is based on the criminal career of Frank Lucas, a gangster from La Grange, North Carolina who smuggled heroin into the United States on American service planes returning from the Vietnam War, before being detained by a task force led by detective Richie Roberts. The film stars Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington in their first lead acting roles together since 1995's Virtuosity. The film also co-stars Ted Levine, John Ortiz, Josh Brolin, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Norman Reedus, Ruby Dee, Lymari Nadal and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Has Detailed Data (New)
Youtube Video Code
In 1968, Frank Lucas is the right-hand man of Harlem gangster Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson. When Johnson dies of a heart attack, he take control of the Harlem crime scene.
After handing in almost $1 million that he found in a mobster's car, Newark detective Richie Roberts is eschewed in his precinct. After his exiled and addicted partner overdoses a potent brand of heroin called "Blue Magic", Captain Lou Toback puts Roberts in charge of a task force that targets local suppliers. Lucas buys Blue Magic directly from producers in Thailand and smuggles it into the U.S. through returning Vietnam War servicemen. His low overhead allows him to eventually wholesale Blue Magic to most the dealers in the New York area. With this monopoly, Lucas expands his control to nightclubs, casinos, and prostitution. He buys a mansion for his mother and recruits his five brothers, including Huey and Turner, as lieutenants to spread his empire. During his rise to becoming Harlem's crime boss, Lucas falls in love with Eva, a Puerto Rican beauty queen.
As Lucas' business prospers, he makes a point of operating quietly and dressing with a modest conservatism both as a sign of strength and to avoid attracting police attention. Also, he stays away from the drugs to avoid making hard decisions under the influence. However, Lucas disregards this habit while attending the Fight of the Century with Eva, sporting gaudy clothes given to him by Eva; Roberts attends the fight, notices the previously unknown Lucas with even better seats than the Italian mobsters, and investigates him. Meanwhile, Lucas is forced to contend with Lucchese mafia boss Dominic Cattano, who threatens to destroying Lucas' family unless he gets a cut of a deal, and corrupt NYPD detectives such as Nick Trupo, who attempts to extort and blackmail him to give them a cut. Lucas must also compete with local crime figure Nicky Barnes, a young gun motivated to take over Harlem who has been diluting Lucas' Blue Magic and selling it under the same brand name. After the Fall of Saigon cuts off Lucas' supply, he is forced to rely on the other crime rings.
Roberts' detectives witness Frank Lucas' cousin shoot a woman and then use his driver's predicament to get him to wear a wire. This allows Roberts and his task force to identify and search one of the last planes carrying Lucas' stock, discovering Blue Magic in the coffins of dead returning servicemen; this evidence allows them to obtain a warrant to follow drugs into Newark's projects and Lucas' heroin processing facility. This results in a shootout, in which Steve Lucas, Frank Lucas' young nephew who gave up a promising career for the New York Yankees to join Lucas' family, is killed. Meanwhile, Trupo and his men break into Lucas' mansion and kill his dog to steal his emergency cash supply hidden under the doghouse. Earlier, Lucas had Trupo's prized Shelby Mustang destroyed, and although he is now out for Trupo's life, his mother dissuades him from killing a cop, warning him that she and Eva will leave him if he does. Lucas is arrested after Roberts' team conducts a raid on all of his shops run by his brothers.
In the police station, Roberts gives Lucas a chance at a shorter jail sentence if he aids his investigation. Lucas initially offered to bribe Roberts, but in the end Lucas provides Roberts with the names of dirty cops in the NYPD, out of respect for Roberts' incorruptibility. In the end, three quarters of the New York DEA are arrested and convicted, and a distraught Trupo commits suicide to avoid arrest. Roberts, having passed the bar exam, prosecutes Lucas, who, once it becomes clear he will be convicted, provides evidence that leads to more than one-hundred further drug-related convictions, while he himself is sentenced to 70 years in prison, of which he serves 15 years and is released in 1991.
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