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King of New York (1990)

Christopher Walken , David Caruso , Abel Ferrara  |  X |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne, Victor Argo, Wesley Snipes
  • Directors: Abel Ferrara
  • Writers: Nicholas St. John
  • Producers: Augusto Caminito, Jay Julien, Mary Kane, Randy Sabusawa, Vittorio Squillante
  • Format: Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: X (Mature Audiences Only)
  • Studio: Live / Artisan
  • DVD Release Date: August 15, 2000
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004U29K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,500 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "King of New York" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Freed from prison, Frank White (Christopher Walken) challenges his fellow druglords in bloody battles for a piece of the action. In New York, crime gets done Frank's way - or it doesn't get done at all. Unable to keep him behind bars, the cops declare war on him - and Frank responds by putting out a contract on the cops.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Revealing DVD April 30, 2004
Format:DVD
KING OF NEW YORK is, for my money, the most valuable (and the most underrated) film of the last 20 years. It is a homage to the classic American genre - the gangster fable - with the depth and subtext of a European art-movie. It's a precursor to urban crime thrillers like New Jack City and Menace II Society (Ferrara points out they first used a rap-score in 1982). An ode to drug-culture. A pitchblack satire of capitalism and its grotesque fallout. It's got a cast to die for, and a close-knit crew at the height of their powers.

It's shot across an array of locations including Sing-Sing, Donald Trump's Plaza Hotel, and various crack-lanes; it weaves seamlessly between an original score, and the music of Vivaldi and Schooly D; the film is meticulously colour-coded (as pointed out by Nick Johnstone in his book) to add up to a cold critique of the red WHITE and blue, the all-American war-on-drugs; the tempo is expertly-managed, the movie simmers for a while then explodes into heavy-metal carnage, and then it dies with a sad whimper. The film is spectacularly violent, but think about the handling of the violence. There's a big Peckinpah slo-mo shootout, then the audacious shootout in Chinatown. But in the 2nd half of the movie the deaths are direct, painful to watch, and pitiful in their execution.
And then there's the cast: Walken was never better. He mesmirises you, brilliantly charismatic. And he looks so otherworldy, what with the hair and the deathly complexion, he's like the man who fell to Earth, the oddest looking `hero' you've ever seen. Fishburne reinvented a character imagined for James Russo and the whole movie turns on that transition. Its simply impossible to imagine how it could have worked ˝ as well with Russo, or any1 else for that matter.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gangster requiem. April 26, 2002
Format:DVD
Some way into Abel Ferrara's 'King Of New York', two gangsters conspire in a small cinema showing F.W. Murnau's 1922 horror classic 'Nosferatu'. Playing the scene where the vampire disembarks his corpse- and rat-ridden ship docked in England, it has clear reference to Ferrara's protagonist, Frank White (Christopher Walken in one of cinema's great, mercurial performances), a drug-smuggler recently released from a long period in prison, hoping to reassert his local criminal power. White refers to his return as 'coming back from the dead', and Walken's long, haunted figure and dancer's movements have some of the aristocratic grace of a famous screen Dracula, Christopher Lee. Mostly seen at night, he gathers new recruits (fresh blood) around him to 'feed' on. One remarkable shot, after a prolonged sequence of speedy violence, has him lit so his eyes shine like some haunted undead; another has the camera following him through a railway station until it is stopped by bars - it can only impotently watch as White glides up the stairs to be swallowed by the night. The film even has as one of his opponents a cop played by future vampire-slayer Wesley Snipes.
But the 'Nosferatu' allusion points to something else - Ferrara's strange absorption of silent cinema. In terms of content, 'King' is a gangster film like any other: loud, ugly, violent, brutal, lurid, hysterical. But it has a purity and beauty very different from the stylised melodramas of Martin Scorcese, whose equally bloodthirsty 'Goodfellas' came out in the same year.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Gangster Films Of All Time December 24, 2003
By mark__d
Format:DVD
Scarface is the greatest gangster movie ever made. This one is second. King of New York is one of the most underrated movies of all time. To begin with, if you really sit back and look at all of the actors in this movie, there is no way in this day and age you could assemble a greater cast. King of New York features Christopher Walken, Laurence Fishburne, David Caruso, and Wesley Snipes before most of them were truly famous.
This is one of those movies that I found myself watching over and over again, in fact when I was a teenager I watched this film once a day. I now have to limit my viewing to once a year so I do not ruin it and it still remains fresh, although I'm not sure how fresh a movie can be when you have the full dialog memorized.
The story is about a New York drug lord named Frank White (yes, this is the same Frank White that the Notorious BIG and other rappers refer to in their rhymes.) played by Christopher Walken who is let out of prison after serving 5 years. Once out of prison White is determined to make up for lost time and to continue to build his cartel and ultimately use money to fund hospitals and make the city of New York better. He teams up with his former workers led by high strung and insane Jimmy Jump and unforgettable character played by Laurence Fishburne (Larry at the time) who wields to 9 mili's and a sinister laugh when the stuff hits the fan.
David Caruso, Wesley Snipes and highly underrated Victor Argo play cops who are outraged by Whites release from prison and are so determined to get him back in that they will do anything to make sure White and his crew are off the street one way or the other.
This is a highly dramatic, riveting, and action packed film that will blow even the most jaded movie watchers away.
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