American Gangster

American Gangster Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 347 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Nobody used to notice Frank Lucas, the quiet driver for 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 aNobody used to notice Frank Lucas, the quiet driver for 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 and floods 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, which makes them lone figures on opposite sides of the law. The destinies of these two men will become intertwined as they approach a confrontation in which only one of them can come out on top. (Universal) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 100
    Denzel Washington dazzles in his best screen performance to date as Frank Lucas.
  2. 89
    Crowe has rarely been better, and the same goes for director Scott, who parallels and then dovetails Lucas and Roberts' stories with sublime, gritty precision, working up to a magnificent "Godfather III"-style crosscutting sequence that electrifies an already explosive tale.
  3. 83
    Only Washington stands out; he's charming, intense, and charismatic as ever.
  4. It lacks momentum, and thus the propulsion required to rocket it into the movie mythosphere.
  5. Often best around the edges. Without making a big deal about it, Scott reveals how the Mafia, while putting up a businesslike front, deplored the incursion of black gangsters into the drug trade.
  6. Greatness hovers just outside American Gangster, knocking, angling to be let in.
  7. 50
    Offers only the stingiest platform for its actors, and as a piece of storytelling -- built on the foundation of a great story -- it's an epic that's been sliced and diced into so many little morsels that almost nothing in it has any weight.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 81 out of 120
  2. Negative: 13 out of 120
  1. ChristianS.
    Nov 12, 2007
    10
    The movie is brilliant. Daniel was tremendous. Crowe was spectacular.The support characters were equally impressive. I love the movie. I The movie is brilliant. Daniel was tremendous. Crowe was spectacular.The support characters were equally impressive. I love the movie. I won't mind watching it again. Expand
  2. Darryl
    Nov 3, 2007
    10
    Somewhere between The French Connection and The Godfather.. an amazing film that took me back in time, GO SEE THIS MOVIE !
  3. davids.
    Dec 21, 2007
    9
    very good a brillant part from both washington and crow v sad at the same time and a bit to long for 3 hours but excellant
  4. ChadS.
    Dec 4, 2007
    8
    If "American Gangster" began with Frank Lucas' formative years as "Good Fellas" did with Henry Hill, the filmmaker would be accused of If "American Gangster" began with Frank Lucas' formative years as "Good Fellas" did with Henry Hill, the filmmaker would be accused of slavish imitation. But "American Gangster" needs to know what makes Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) tick. Despite the long running time, the story feels rushed. Not enough time is spent between Frank and his mentor. We're denied "the making of a criminal" portion of the film. When Frank assumes the leadership role in Harlem, we feel no palpable excitement. We don't know him. "American Gangster" gets off to a slow start, but hang in there, things improve considerably when we finally learn where Frank's roots are planted. The film also concurs the long-held belief by conspiracy theorists that drugs could be prevented from entering the country if law officials wanted this to be the case. But the drug business employs too much people. Frank Lucas is despicable. But he doesn't beat his wife, or rather, did Denzel Washington not want to put his screen image at further risk by hurting a woman? Expand
  5. AdamK.
    Dec 17, 2007
    7
    A mostly decent flick with a solid cast. Its a gangster movie set in the early 70s based on the heroine drug trade in America, mostly NY. The A mostly decent flick with a solid cast. Its a gangster movie set in the early 70s based on the heroine drug trade in America, mostly NY. The stand out actor in this movie for me was Josh Brolin...plays a dirty special detective in NY. Anyway - t...(read more)his is a "new" take on the typical gangster movies you've been watching for years but it is still littered with the dirty cop, Italian mafia, ghettos full of junkies stereotypical images you've seen on TV and the big screen in those same years. Most of the actors seem to stretch themselves except Denzel...he plays Denzel playing a drug trafficker. Denzel's base is good, but it'd be nice to see him get out of his comfort zone...a lot. Make this part of your Netflix list. Expand
  6. BJones
    Nov 3, 2007
    6
    "Pretty disappointing. Had a great story, great actors, and a great director/producer - but somehow it didn't all add up. Overly long "Pretty disappointing. Had a great story, great actors, and a great director/producer - but somehow it didn't all add up. Overly long and lacking character development." What Andy said a few posts down could not be more true. If the movie were to be summed up in two sentences, those are them. I feel it could have been great if I cared about the characters. Expand
  7. OmarC.
    Oct 30, 2007
    0
    I hate you this movie.

See all 120 User Reviews

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