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American Gangster (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) [HD DVD]

4.4 out of 5 stars 675 customer reviews

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• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This high-definition disc will only play in an HD DVD player. It will not play in a standard-definition DVD player, Blu-ray player, or PS3.
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe team with director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) for an epic story as powerful as it is true. Armed with ruthless, street-wise 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 multi-million dollar empire, it plunges both men into a legendary confrontation. American Gangster is "a brutal and brilliant film" (Pete Hammond, Maxim)

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Ridley Scott puts on his "sweeping saga" gameface again, this time not for the sci-fi vistas of Blade Runner or the ancient world of Gladiator but for an urban epic. American Gangster gives the story of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), a real-life Harlem crime lord who built an empire on Southeast Asian heroin in the 1970s. Running parallel to Lucas's somewhat standard story is the investigation led by a persistent New Jersey cop, Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe). Roberts is a more interesting character than Lucas--too honest for his own good, unlucky in his personal life--and this kind of character, easily patronized by others, fits Crowe like a polyester shirt. Scott's tendency to hit his points square on the noggin is much in evidence here, including the typecasting of the supporting roles and the predictable Serpico atmosphere of the whole thing. (And speaking of supporting actors, the film needs more Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose role as a Lucas sidekick feels cut down.) It succeeds as a kind of chewy entertainment, fueled by the presence of two big stars working their muscles. Both Washington and Crowe look pretty brawny here. --Robert Horton




Stills from American Gangster (Click for larger image)












Special Features

  • Alternate Opening
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Uncovering the Past: The Real Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts
  • Feature Commentary with director Ridley Scott and writer Steven Zaillian
  • Picture in Picture

  • 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, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1)
    • Subtitles: English, French
    • Dubbed: French
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      NR
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
    • Run Time: 158 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (675 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0011NVCO8
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,363 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "American Gangster (Combo HD DVD and Standard DVD) [HD DVD]" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Mark #1 HALL OF FAMEVINE 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.

    Cinematography

    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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    Comment 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    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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    7 Comments 81 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    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.
    Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    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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    29 Comments 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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