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

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 309 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 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 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
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. 100
    This is an engrossing story, told smoothly and well, and Russell Crowe's contribution is enormous.
  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
    This impressive film feels more like a display, if an often dazzling one, than a genuine experience.
  4. Meticulous and detailed, a drug-world epic that holds you from moment to moment, immersing you in the intricate and sleazy logistics of crime. Yet the movie isn't quite enthralling; it's more like the ghost version of a '70s classic.
  5. Ridley Scott gives it the grand treatment, 157 minutes worth, but in the end, it doesn't stack up as the portrait of an era (the 1970s, in this case) or an important tale of a criminal mastermind.
  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: 88 out of 116
  2. Negative: 13 out of 116
  1. ChristianS.
    Nov 12, 2007
    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
    Somewhere between The French Connection and The Godfather.. an amazing film that took me back in time, GO SEE THIS MOVIE !
  3. NickG.
    Dec 28, 2007
    The best big studio movie of the year. I never thought a movie that is over two and a half hours long could hold my interest like this one did. The acting, directing and writing are all top notch. Expand
  4. ArthurC.
    Nov 20, 2007
    Great acting, great story, and truly compelling motion picture. It's biggest flaw make come from the lack of time spent with the Frank Lucas character. Important events seem to get glossed over quickly, but Washington keeps things interesting. I found, however, myself more vested in the Russell Crowe storyline. I found myself rooting for Crowe's success as opposed to Washington's downfall. The direction was top notch, and when everything came together, it worked as a sublime bit of entertainment. It's just those minor flaws that keep it from being the next great crime movie in the vein of The Departed. Expand
  5. AdamK.
    Dec 17, 2007
    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
    "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
    I hate you this movie.

See all 116 User Reviews


Related Articles

  1. Ridley Scott: All Films Considered

    Ridley Scott: All Films Considered Image
    Published: May 12, 2010
    The famed director's latest big-budget adventure, "Robin Hood," arrives in theaters this week. We take the opportunity to look back at Scott's career and rank his films from best to worst.