American Gangster (2007) review & film summary
American Gangster (2007) review & film summary (Image Credit: ImDB)

American Gangster (2007) review & film summary, Where to stream

Title: American Gangster (2007)
Director: Ridley Scott
Duration: 2h 56m
Cast: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Ruby Dee, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Idris Elba

American Gangster, like most films about well-known gangsters, is an epic that chronicles the rise and fall of Frank Lucas, a drug dealer from La Grange, North Carolina. The film is not much of a biopic but it is based on a New York magazine story by Mark Jacobson, The Return of Superfly about the real story of Frank Lucas and the DEA agent that nabbed him, Richie Roberts.

The film follows Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) as he takes over the operation of his boss, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, who died of a heart attack. He soon revolutionized the crime business, running his family, and through his ruthlessness and no-nonsense policies made so much money the government had to stop him.

The government in this case was the DEA and the agent Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) who was determined to get Frank Lucas at all costs as well as rid the force of the corrupt elements that make the job hard to do. In the end, they ended up working together.

Denzel’s portrayal of the notorious gangster has been praised by critics and is simply one of the best jobs portraying a real-life criminal. Russell Crowe was also in his element although American Gangster did not require him to bring out performances like that of Gladiator and Robin Hood (both Ridley Scott movies by the way). The portrayal has been criticized by Roberts and Lucas as taking a lot of creative license and the events did not exactly go down the way they were portrayed. After the release of the movie in 2007, three former DEA agents even sued Universal for the portrayal which they claimed was demoralizing.

The film which has been in development since 2000 was directed by legendary English director, Sir Ridley Scott famous for movies like Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator. His work here was inspiring and even Denzel would agree it’s one of the best directing works of his career.

American Gangster was released in 2007 and it received a lot of critical acclaim upon release. It was nominated for twenty-one awards including two Oscars. It was a box office success too, grossing $266m over a $100m budget, relatively a huge success for a crime drama in the mid-2000s.

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
IMDb: 7.8/10

Where to Watch Do the Right Thing (1989)?

You can be able to stream Do the Right Thing (1989) by renting or purchasing on

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