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American Gangster

574 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Academy Award® winners* Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe team with director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) in this powerful, epic story. Armed with ruthless, streetwise tactics and a strict sense of honor, crime boss Frank Lucas (Washington) rules Harlem's chaotic drug underworld. When outcast cop Richie Roberts (Crowe) sets out to bring down Lucas's multimillion-dollar empire, it plunges both men into a legendary confrontation. American Gangster is "a brutal and brilliant film" (Pete Hammond, Maxim).

Special Features

  • Commentary with Director Ridley Scott and Writer Steven Zaillian

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jr. Cuba Gooding, Josh Brolin
    • Directors: Ridley Scott
    • Writers: Steven Zaillian
    • Producers: Ridley Scott, Brian Grazer
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
    • Subtitles: French, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated: Unrated
    • Studio: Universal Studios
    • DVD Release Date: September 15, 2009
    • Run Time: 332 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (574 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B002CPMB9O
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,844 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Mark #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 3, 2008
    Format: DVD
    American Gangster 2-Disc Unrated Extended Edition

    In American Gangster Ridley Scott has created the perfect storm of an American movie masterpiece. An amazing group of actors, headlined by Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe, produces a very convincing period piece of 1970s New Jersey and New York and the crime culture that existed there. It's hard to feel anything but shame watchig this movie. This movie is both believable and tragic, and it startles me that neither Crowe nor Washington received nominations for two incredible performances.

    The Story and the Script

    The story is supposed to be based on the real life exploits of Frank Lucas. Movies like this usually exaggerate. The fact that this movie is so believable makes it all the more tragic. There are no black and white characters and we are left to choose between murdering drug pushers and crooked cops.

    The writing and the story structure are both excellent. The plot is developed slowly and masterfully. While there is less shooting and action than one would expect from such a tale, the movie is filled with drama and suspense.


    They have managed to create a period piece here that is beautiful, gritty, real and romanticized. The framing of the actors and the skylines are beautiful. Much of the scenery and shots are darkly lit. This is most often used in the scenes with the police in their shadowy research rooms, clearly to juxtapose them against the Lucas empire, almost always shown in the light.

    The first disk in the unrated edition is in a beautiful widescreen.
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    79 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 18, 2008
    Format: DVD
    This viewer rented the DVD form of AMERICAN GANGSTER, having passed it by in the theatrical run, thinking that it was yet another 'crime and corruption in New York' genre film. It was surprising to discover that this very long film (just under three hours in the Unrated version) is completely riveting and in a way far different than the usual gangster film: this story, based on real people as outlined in an article by Mark Jacobson (transformed for the screen by Steven Zaillian), and while it has its share of grisly killings, it seems more concerned with the issues of integrity in the face of police corruption as embodied in the character of Richie Roberts, the etiology of the heroin use escalation following the Vietnam War, and the presence of a 'Black Mafia' lead by one Frank Lucas. It is delivered with compelling gusto and intelligence by director Ridley Scott and has some of the best acting of the year. In other words, this is not a film to be lightly dismissed as a Hollywood retread, but instead it is a tense drama with many very fine points.

    Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) follows the footsteps of his idol Bumpy (Clarence Williams III) who 'ran' the Harlem streets, and when Bumpy dies, Lucas inherits his mantle. Lucas is wise, cunning, a gentleman, a powerhouse of ideas, and quickly finds a way to bring the best uncut heroin from the Far East to the streets of New York at a price that undercuts the other mobsters' product. To establish his control he enlists his family, including his brother Huey (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and rapidly becomes the kingpin of the streets.
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    18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on August 17, 2008
    Format: DVD
    There's little new in director Ridley Scott's "American Gangster." However, the emphasis on characterization over violent action is refreshing. Denzel Washington gives a compelling performance as real-life Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, with Russell Crowe equally impressive as New Jersey detective Richie Roberts - the man determined to bring down Lucas' heroin empire. An excellent supporting cast features standout portrayals by Josh Brolin and Oscar-nominated Ruby Dee. Regardless of the predictable outcome, Scott manages to keep the pot boiling for 157 minutes. "American Gangster" does not rank with the classic crime epics, but remains a solid achievement.
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    85 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hedge on December 11, 2007
    we've been here many times before. This film offers nothing new to the genre, but it is still a terrific film.

    Ridley Scott is an already proven director who is well overdue for an Oscar, but just what attracted him to this story is something of a mystery. Perhaps being a diverse director with films like the first Alien and Gladiator he wanted to add another genre to his credits and that is admirable (more admirable than Martin Scorsese who keeps making the same film over and over again and then wonders where the Oscar is). However, Scott could have selected a gangster film that didn't include so many tributes to better films in the genre (The Godfather, The Untouchables and Serpico come to mind). In this regard the film disappoints even though Scott directs his great cast in both subtle and stylized fashion. He deserves kudos for his efforts if not for the end result.
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    Topic From this Discussion
    incldues rated version as in theaters?
    Yes, it has both versions.
    Feb 4, 2008 by DeAd MiKe |  See all 2 posts
    American Gangster the 3 disc version. I have a Question????
    check out this site:
    it has a good description of the different versions. from what i gather the unrated version is on both the 2 and 3 disc editions and is 19 minutes longer with an alternate ending.
    Feb 18, 2008 by J. Ancevicius |  See all 3 posts
    additional footage?
    A complete re-edit of the film.
    Feb 18, 2008 by Theo Canius |  See all 2 posts
    2 disc vs. 3 disc
    2-Disc Edition:
    Deleted Scenes including an ALTERNATE OPENING
    Fallen Empire: Making of American Gangster
    Case Files: Behind-the-scenes segments reveal how the art of collaboration brings the film's script to life.
    Commentary with director Ridley Scott and writer Steven Zaillian

    3-Disc... Read More
    Feb 2, 2008 by DeAd MiKe |  See all 3 posts
    question about 2 disc version
    The discs are single sided.
    Feb 21, 2008 by Movie Fan |  See all 3 posts
    Difference between 2 disk and 3 disk versions Be the first to reply
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