American Gangster (film)


American Gangster (film)

Infobox Film
name = American Gangster


caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Ridley Scott
producer = Ridley Scott
Brian Grazer
James Whitaker
Steven Zaillian
Nicholas Pileggi
writer = Mark Jacobson (article)
Steven Zaillian
starring = Denzel Washington
Russell Crowe
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Josh Brolin
Lymari Nadal
Ted Levine
John Hawkes
RZA
Carla Gugino
with
Armand Assante
Cuba Gooding Jr.
and Ruby Dee

music = Marc Streitenfeld
cinematography = Harris Savides
editing = Pietro Scalia
distributor = Universal Pictures
Imagine Entertainment
released = November 2, 2007
runtime = Theatrical cut
157 min.
Extended cut
176 min.
country = USA
language = English
budget = $100 million [cite news | author=Kelly, Kate
url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116822315634669913.html | title=Hollywood Tests a Dynamic Duo | format=subscription required | publisher="The Wall Street Journal" | date=2007-01-08 | accessdate=2007-04-30
]
gross = $265,495,454
website = http://www.americangangster.net/
amg_id = 1:358717
imdb_id = 0765429

"American Gangster" is a 2007 crime film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Washington portrays Frank Lucas, a real-life kingpin from Harlem who smuggled heroin into the United States on American service planes returning from the Vietnam War. Crowe portrays Richie Roberts, a detective attempting to bring down Lucas' drug empire. Filming was done on location in New York City. "American Gangster" was released in the United States and Canada on November 2, 2007.

Plot

Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson, a disciplined and intelligent black gangster, runs much of Harlem and imparts his wisdom onto his former driver turned right-hand man, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington). Johnson dies of a heart attack in 1968, at an electronics store. Frank dislikes the new, flashy gangsters and decides to take control. To gain money and power, he travels to Bangkok, Thailand, and with the help of his "cousin" who is an Army Staff NCO, strikes a deal with a Chinese nationalist general in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia, who supplies him with pure heroin. Starting with a first shipment of 100 kilograms, Frank has the drugs transported back to America via military service planes. His final shipment comprises two tons hidden in the coffins of seven dead U.S. soldiers from the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile, Newark, New Jersey detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is juggling a failing marriage, late-night law school classes, and his police career. When Richie and his partner, Javier Rivera, discover nearly $1 million in unmarked bills in a car, Richie resists temptation and turns the money in. His rare honesty makes him a hated member of his precinct, causing his partner to be exiled from the force, while Richie's rampant womanizing behavior and undercover double life leads his wife to seek a divorce and custody of their son. After his exiled partner dies from overdosing on "Blue Magic", a relatively new and powerful type of heroin being sold for less money than its competition, Richie's honesty catches him a break when his superior Captain Lou Toback (Ted Levine) puts him in charge of a newly created task force to stop major drug trafficking in Essex County, New Jersey by going after the actual supplier, rather than the middle-men. Richie handpicks honest cops and gets to work on finding who is supplying Blue Magic.

Frank’s unique drug supply enables him to sell 100% pure heroin which he calls “Blue Magic”, the same heroin that Richie's partner had died from earlier. He is also able to sell Blue Magic at half the price of other heroin because he cut out the middle men in the supply chain. Frank quickly makes a fortune and buys several nightclubs and apartments. He moves his family from North Carolina to New Jersey, where he purchases a large estate for his humble mother. His five brothers are enlisted as his lieutenants in the NYC drug trade – forming “The Country Boys” who work together to traffic and sell dope on Harlem streets. During his rise, Frank meets and falls in love with Eva, a Puerto Rican beauty queen. Through his discipline, organization, and willingness to kill those in his way, Frank quickly rises to the top of the Harlem drug and crime scene.

As Frank's business prospers, he makes a point of operating quietly and dressing with a modest conservatism both as a sign of strength and to avoid attracting the attention of the law. However, Frank disregards this habit for his wife for one ostentatious night out, attending one of the trilogy of Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier boxing matches (this one, the Fight of the Century, which Frazier won, in March 8, 1971) with several known mobsters in a gaudy chinchilla fur coat and hat, along with a ring-side seat. As it happens, Roberts is on duty observing the event and sees this unknown, but obviously wealthy, person associating with high-level criminals, as well as having better seats than the Italian mafia. Roberts becomes suspicious, and he begins to investigate this unknown (to him) figure in New York organized crime.

Even as Frank realizes he has exposed himself to police scrutiny, he must make deals with the Italian Mafia, in this case Lucchese crime family Mob boss Dominic Cattano (Armand Assante), and fend off corrupt NYC detectives, such as Det. Trupo (Josh Brolin), who attempt to extort and threaten him. Trupo's dislike of Frank is capped when his prized Shelby Mustang is bombed before his eyes. Frank must also contend with local crime figure Nicky Barnes (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), who is taking some of Frank's product, diluting it himself, and selling it under Frank's "brand" name. Unidentified assassins try to kill Frank’s wife, further destabilizing him and worsening his unsteady marriage. Things finally turn to the worst when Frank sees the U.S. Military vacating Vietnam, which in turn cuts off his primary heroin transportation. His Kuomintang contact sympathetically tells him "Quitting while you are ahead...is not the same as quitting."

Richie catches another break when his men witness Frank's brother's driver, who is also one of his cousins, shooting a woman. They use the driver’s bad predicament to get him to wear a wire. The wire allows Richie and his task force to discover when a plane carrying drugs is landing, though Richie is ordered to cease his search of the coffins by a Federal agent who snarls an anti-Semitic slur at him. Meanwhile, Trupo leads his band of police officers to Frank's mansion where they take Frank's emergency cash supply. Frank is enraged at what Trupo did, and sets out to kill him and other associated officers. Frank's mother pleads that he not go through with it, and Frank decides not to murder Trupo. When the plane lands, Richie and his men follow the drugs into Newark's projects and obtain a warrant. A huge group of police and detectives attack the drug apartments en masse and a large shootout ensues. Frank is at church when the bust goes down, but he is arrested after the service ends. Frank and Richie finally meet, and Frank’s attempts to threaten Richie are unsuccessful. Richie tells Frank that he will go to prison for the rest of his life unless he provides all the information he knows and has all of it check out 100%.

With no other options, Frank decides to provide names of numerous other criminals, including his and Richie’s common enemies: corrupt NYC detectives. Numerous corrupt cops are arrested; a distraught Trupo kills himself to avoid arrest. Richie, having passed the Bar Exam, prosecutes Frank, but he leaves the prosecutor's office after the Lucas trial. The first client he takes after becoming a defense attorney is Frank. Because of his cooperation, Frank receives a relatively light sentence of 15 years rather than the original 70. He is arrested in 1975. At the film’s end, he steps out of jail in 1991 significantly older and out of place.

Cast

*Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas
*Russell Crowe as Det. Richard "Richie" Roberts
*John Ortiz as Det. Rivera
*Lymari Nadal as Eva
*Chiwetel Ejiofor as Huey Lucas
*Josh Brolin as Det. Trupo
*Ted Levine as Capt. Lou Toback
*RZA as Moses Jones
*Malcom Goodwin as Jimmy Zee
*Ruby Dee as Mama Lucas
*Armand Assante as Dominic Cattano
*Cuba Gooding Jr. as Nicky Barnes
*Carla Gugino as Laurie Roberts
*Idris Elba as Tango
*Jon Polito as Rossi
*Roger Bart as U.S. Attorney
*Clarence Williams III as Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson
*Tip "T.I." Harris as Steve Lucas
*Common as Turner Lucas
*Delron Mims as Frank's younger brother

Development

In 2000, Universal Studios and Imagine Entertainment purchased the rights to "The Return of Superfly", a "New York" magazine story by Mark Jacobson about the rise and fall of the 1970s heroin kingpin Frank Lucas.cite news | author= Kleinknecht, William | url= | title=FROM FOES TO FRIENDS AND NOW ON TO FAME | publisher=The Star-Ledger | date=2006-10-05 ] In 2002, screenwriter Steven Zaillian brought a 170-page script to director Ridley Scott, who expressed interest in making two films from it. However, Scott did not immediately pursue the project. In November 2003, Universal and Imagine entered negotiations with Brian De Palma to direct "Tru Blu", with a script by Zaillian based on Frank Lucas.cite news | author=Fleming, Michael | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117895211.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1 | title=U is re-Imagined | publisher=Variety | date=2003-11-05 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ] Zaillian interpreted the story as one of "American business and race", focusing the script thematically on corporate business.cite news | author=Leland, John | url= | title=Gross National Product | publisher=The New York Times | date=2006-10-29 ] Production was initially slated for a spring 2004 start. In March 2004, the studio entered new negotiations with Antoine Fuqua to direct, as well as Denzel Washington to star in the film as Frank Lucas. [cite news | author=Snyder, Gabriel | coauthors=Michael Fleming | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117901768.html?categoryid=1238&cs=1 | title='Tru Blu' has liftoff at Imagine | publisher=Variety | date=2004-03-15 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ] The following May, Leonardo DeCaprio entered negotiations to star as Detective Richie Roberts, who brought down Lucas. Production of "Tru Blu" was reset to begin in early fall 2004, with the film slated for a release date of June 3, 2005. [cite news | author=Fleming, Michael | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117905459.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1 | title=Del Toro's 'Tru' calling | publisher=Variety | date=2004-05-23 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ] In September 2004, Dania Ramirez entered negotiations to join the cast of the film, now titled "American Gangster". [cite news | author= | url=http://www.comingsoon.net/news/topnews.php?id=6358 | title= Ramirez Joining Fuqua's American Gangster | publisher=ComingSoon.net | date=2004-09-13 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ]

Universal Studios reported that it greenlit "American Gangster" with a budget of $80 million, which escalated to $93 million, with $10 million for development costs and $3 million for the delay of the production start date. Sources close to the director insist that the budget was $93 million from the beginning. The studio also sought for "American Gangster" to be produced in Toronto rather than New York City to save money, but Fuqua resisted the re-location. The studio's parent company General Electric received tax credits in New York City, so production was moved to the city. The move, however, inflated the budget to $98 million. Fuqua's camp insisted that it was seeking ways to reduce the budget, but the studio contended several aspects of the project under him. The director had wanted to film a Vietnam sequence in Thailand and to cast notable names such as Ray Liotta and John C. Reilly in minor roles. To add to the studio's budgetary concerns, Fuqua was rewriting the script during the preproduction process. The director also did not have a shot-list, final locations, and supporting actors signed to initiate production.

Fuqua was fired on October 1, 2004, four weeks before principal photography would begin.cite news | author=Rebecca Ascher-Walsh | coauthors=Jeff Jensen | url=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,724273,00.html | title='Gangster' Wrap | publisher=Entertainment Weekly | date=2004-10-22 | accessdate=2007-11-03 ] The studio cited creative differences for the director's departure. [cite news | author=Fleming, Michael | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117911326.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 | title=Fuqua ankles 'Gangster' | publisher=Variety | date=2004-10-03 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ] After Fuqua's departure, the studio met with Peter Berg to take over directing the film, and Denzel Washington had approved of the choice. Due to the search potentially escalating a budget already in the US$80 million range and the difficulty in recouping the amount based on the film's subject matter, Universal canceled production of "American Gangster", citing time constraints and creative elements for its reason. [cite news | author=Fleming, Michael | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117911582.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 | title='American Gangster' pic rubbed out by U | publisher=Variety | date=2004-10-06 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ] The cancellation cost the studio $30 million, of which $20 million went to Washington and $5 million went to del Toro due to their pay or play contracts. "Entertainment Weekly" reported that Fuqua's ambition to produce the film was primarily based on the prospect of an African-American director and an African-American actor leading a big-budget film that would potentially be nominated for Oscars.

In March 2005, "American Gangster" was revived as Universal and Imagine entered negotiations with Terry George to revise Zaillian's script and direct the film, which was to be financed with a target budget of US $50 million. [cite news | author=Fleming, Michael | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117919334.html?categoryid=13&cs=1 | title=U's still high on 'Gangster' | publisher=Variety | date=2005-03-13 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ] The following May, Will Smith was approached to replace Washington as Frank Lucas, though an offer would be held off until George completed his revision of the script. [cite news | author=Fleming, Michael | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117923659.html?categoryid=1238&cs=1 | title=Thesp's 'American' dream | publisher=Variety | date=2005-05-30 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ] Producer Brian Grazer and Imagine executive Jim Whitaker decided against pursuing George's attempt and to return to Zaillian's vision.cite news | author=Fleming, Michael | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117940290.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1 | title=U gets going on 'Gangster' | publisher=Variety | date=2006-03-23 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ] In February 2006, Ridley Scott entered talks with the studio to take over "American Gangster" from George, returning to Zaillian's draft as the film's basis. Washington returned to his role as Lucas, and Russell Crowe was attached to star as Roberts.cite news | author=Fleming, Michael | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117938111.html?categoryid=10&cs=1 | title='Gangster' redux | publisher=Variety | date=2006-02-13 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ]

Production

Writing

Scott had discussed the script with actor Russell Crowe as they worked on "A Good Year" (2006) in France, and then they sought to take on the project. The director reviewed Zaillian's script, Terry George's rewrite, and a revision by Richard Price during the project's incarnation with director Antoine Fuqua. Scott preferred Zaillian's approach and chose to follow it. In realizing the project, the director encountered a challenge in the script since the characters Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts do not encounter each other until twenty minutes before the end of the film. The director sought to flesh out the private universes of the characters that would evolve and have scenes cut between the two characters to provide a balance. Elements like Frank Lucas's interaction with his family and Richie Roberts' dysfunctional marriage were written to add to the characters' backgrounds.cite news | author=Edward Douglas | url=http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=38623 | title= Ridley Scott's "American Gangster" | publisher=ComingSoon.net | date=2007-10-25 | accessdate=2007-11-03 ]

Casting

Scott chose to direct "American Gangster" based on the paradoxical values of Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts. The film focuses a bit on the comparatively ethical business practices of the "wicked gangster" and the womanizing and failed marriage of the "do-gooder" police detective. Washington, who was not normally a fan of gangster films, chose to portray Lucas when he saw "the arc of the character" had ended with prices that Lucas paid for his actions. Crowe was drawn to the project based on his previous work with the director on "Gladiator" and "A Good Year". [cite news | author=Morris, Wesley | url= | title=Russell Crowe learns to smile | publisher=The Boston Globe | date=2006-11-05 ] Production was slated in summer 2006. To prepare for their roles, the actors met their real-life counterparts. Washington acquired Lucas's Southern accent, and Crowe practiced to match Roberts's manner of speaking and body language, requesting tape recordings of Roberts to assist in his preparation. The following March, the studio rehired Zaillian to rewrite the script for "American Gangster". It was rumored that Washington got paid another $20 million for when the project was greenlit again, that rumor proved to be false. According to Variety, he only signed on for his gross. [cite web |url=http://weblogs.variety.com/thompsononhollywood/2007/10/american-gangst.html |title=American Gangster: A Grazer Tale|author=Thompson, Anne |work=Thompson on Hollywood |accessdate=2007-11-04 |date=2007-10-17 |quote=Denzel Washington had already gotten paid his upfront guarantee pay-or-play, so he signed on just for his gross.]

Filming

Director Ridley Scott produced television commercials from the 1960s to the 1980s, which entailed visits to New York City in the same time period in which the film's story took place. The director sought to downplay a "Beatles" atmosphere to the film and to instead create a shabbier atmosphere. Scott described his perspective of the setting, "Harlem was really, really shabby, beautiful brownstones falling apart." Production and costume design was emphasized, transforming the location into the rundown streets of upper Manhattan from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Denzel Washington, as Frank Lucas, went through 64 different costume changes. [cite news | author=Schwartz, Robert | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117963680.html?categoryid=1236&cs=1 | title='Gangster' puts hit on gentrification | publisher=Variety | date=2007-04-24 | accessdate=2007-04-30 ]

The director filmed "American Gangster" in 180 locations, an unusually high number for production, throughout New York's five boroughs. Approximately 50 to 60 locations were set in Harlem alone. The director also found several interiors that had been untouched since the 1940s and despite sanitary concerns, chose to film scenes in these locations. All the locations in the film were authentic, with the exception of Frank Lucas' coffee shop, built as a set at the northeast corner of 122nd St and Lenox Avenue. Scott found filming in Harlem to be difficult, describing it as "an area of wide-avenued boulevards" whose concrete pavement and lack of trees provided poor opportunities for shooting angles. As well as being filmed in the five boroughs it was also filmed in Westchester County in Briarcliff Manor.

Release

Box office performance

Over two weeks before the release of "American Gangster", a screener for the film leaked online. [cite news | author= | url=http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2007/10/american_gangster_leaked_onlin.html | title=‘American Gangster’ Leaked Online a Whole Week Early! | publisher=New York | date=2007-10-24 | accessdate=2007-10-24 ] The film debuted in the United States and Canada on November 2, 2007 in 3,054 theaters. [cite news | author=Pamela McClintock | coauthors=Dave McNary | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117975237.html?categoryId=1082&cs=1 | title=Buzz builds for fall box office | publisher="Variety" | date=2007-11-01 | accessdate=2007-11-02 ] In its opening weekend in the United States and Canada, "American Gangster" grossed $43,565,115,cite web | url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=americangangster.htm | title=American Gangster (2007) | publisher=Box Office Mojo | accessdate=2007-11-12 ] placing first in the weekend box office. [cite news | author= | url=http://in.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idINIndia-30327520071104 | title=Crime pays at box office for 'American Gangster' | publisher=Reuters | date=2007-11-04 | accessdate=2007-11-04 ] Brandon Gray of Box Office Mojo reported that the film had the fastest start domestically for a crime saga and the film also had the best opening weekend for Denzel Washington as well as Russell Crowe. [cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=2414&p=.htm |title='American Gangster' No. 1 with a Bullet |accessdate=2007-11-06 |author=Brandon Gray |date=2007-11-05 |publisher=Box Office Mojo] As of July 3, 2008, it has grossed $130,164,645 domestically and $135,330,809 in other territories for a worldwide total of $265,495,454.

Critical reception

The film received generally favorable reviews from critics. At the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, 79% of 198 reviewers approved of "American Gangster". [cite web | url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/american_gangster/ | title=American Gangster | publisher=Rotten Tomatoes | accessdate=2007-11-12 ] On the similar site Metacritic, 38 accumulated reviews gave the film an average score of 76 out of 100. [cite web | url=http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/americangangster | title=American Gangster (2007): Reviews | publisher=Metacritic | accessdate=2007-11-12 ] "American Gangster" was observed as a candidate for the Oscars based on the film's style and the performance of the actors, including the possibility of an Academy Award for Best Director for Ridley Scott. [cite news | author=Paul Harris | url=http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2180318,00.html | title=Why drug lord fascinates US | publisher=Guardian Unlimited | date=2007-09-30 | accessdate=2007-11-03 ] In an interview Lucas "was gushing" about the film and Denzel Washington's performance; he said that he felt amazement "at the way he had (him) down."" [http://insidedateline.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/10/26/432807.aspx BREAKFAST WITH THE REAL 'AMERICAN GANGSTER'] ," "MSNBC"] A "New York Post" article by Susannah Callahan stated that Lucas "admitted to sources that 'only 20 percent of the film is true.'"cite web |title=GANGING UP ON MOVIE'S 'LIES' |publisher=New York Post |url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/11042007/news/nationalnews/ganging_up_on_movies_lies_8968.htm |author=Susannah Cahalan |date=November 4, 2007 |accessdate=2008-10-07] According to the same article Roberts criticized the film for portraying him in a custody battle while in real life he never had a child. Roberts criticized the portrayal of Lucas, describing it as "almost noble."

Sterling Johnson, Jr., a federal judge who served as a special narcotics prosecutor and assisted the arrest and trial of Lucas, described the film as "1 percent reality and 99 percent Hollywood." Johnson described the real life Lucas as "illiterate," "vicious," "violent," and "everything Denzel Washington was not." [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/22/film.american.gangster.ap/ Is 'American Gangster' really all that 'true'?] CNN January 22, 2008 ] Former DEA agents Jack Toal, Gregory Korniloff, and Louis Diaz filed a lawsuit against Universal saying that the events in the film were fictionalized and that the film defamed them and hundreds of other agents. [" [http://www.wpri.com/Global/story.asp?S=7734178&nav=F8nI DEA agents sue over 'American Gangster'] ," "WPRI"]

Top ten lists

The film appeared on 50 [www.criticstop10.com] critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007. [cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/film/awards/2007/toptens.shtml |title=Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists |accessdate=2008-01-05 |publisher=Metacritic]

*2nd - Carrie Rickey, "The Philadelphia Inquirer"
*5th - Richard Roeper, At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper
*5th - Stephen Hunter, "The Washington Post"
*6th - David Germain, Associated Press [cite web|url=http://www.columbiatribune.com/2007/Dec/20071227Go!013.asp |title='No Country for Old Men' earns nod from AP critics |accessdate=2007-12-31 |author=David Germain |coauthors=Christy Lemire |date=2007-12-27 |publisher=Associated Press, via Columbia Daily Tribune]
*6th - Peter Travers, "Rolling Stone" [Travers, Peter, (December 19, 2007) [http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/17686508/peter_travers_best_and_worst_movies_of_2007/6 "Peter Travers' Best and Worst Movies of 2007"] "Rolling Stone". Retrieved 2007-12-20]
*7th - Lou Lumenick, "New York Post"
*8th - Rene Rodriguez, "The Miami Herald"

Awards

Wins

*African American Film Critics
**Best Supporting Actress (Ruby Dee)

*Satellite Awards
**Best Editing

*Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
**Outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role (Ruby Dee)

Nominations

*Academy Awards
**Best Supporting Actress (Ruby Dee)
**Best Art Direction

*Broadcast Film Critics Association
**Best Film
**Best Original Song ("Do You Feel Me")

*2008 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards
**Best Film
**Best Editing
**Best Cinematography
**Best Screenplay- Original
**Best Music

*Golden Globe Awards
**Best Motion Picture - Drama
**Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama (Denzel Washington)
**Best Director - Motion Picture (Ridley Scott)

*Image Awards
**Outstanding Motion Picture
**Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Ruby Dee)

*Satellite Awards
**Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama (Denzel Washington)
**Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Drama (Ruby Dee)
**Best Original Song ("Do You Feel Me")

*Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
**Outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role (Ruby Dee)
**Outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture

oundtrack

Infobox Album
Name = American Gangster
Type = Soundtrack
Artist = Various Artists


Cover size =
Released = November 6, 2007
Recorded = 1960-2007 (vocal songs)
April–May 2007 (score)
Genre = Soundtrack, R&B, soul
Length = 45:29
Label = Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|3.5|5 [http://wc07.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:j9fixzyhldhe link]
Between April and May 2007, composer Marc Streitenfeld recorded the musical score for "American Gangster" by using an 80-piece orchestra recorded in sections as well as acoustic pre-records, performed by Streitenfeld himself. [cite news | author=Dan Goldwasser | url=http://www.scoringsessions.com/news/87/ | title=Marc Streitenfeld scores Ridley Scott's "American Gangster" | publisher=ScoringSessions.com| date=2007-05-15 | accessdate=2007-05-20 ] Additional score material was composed and recorded by Hank Shocklee.

The official soundtrack album for "American Gangster" was released by Def Jam Recordings within a week of the film's release. In addition to Streitenfeld and Shocklee's score material, the soundtrack album also features 1960s/1970s period songs by blues and soul musicians such as Bobby Womack, The Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, and John Lee Hooker.

A score album was released by Varèse Sarabande on February 19, 2008.

Denzel Washington originally pressed for film producer Brian Grazer to have rapper and Def Jam president Jay-Z compile a soundtrack for the film, but Grazer and director Ridley Scott resisted because they wanted an authentic 1970s feel to the film. As a result, only two new vocal songs, both done by soul singer Anthony Hamilton's in a 1970s style, were recorded for the film. "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)", a Jay-Z song from his 2001 album "The Blueprint", was included in the film's trailer. Instead of directly recording for the film, Jay-Z released an album inspired by the film, similarly titled "American Gangster", in conjunction with the release of the film.

Track listing

#"Do You Feel Me" – 3:56
#* Performed by Anthony Hamilton
#"Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" – 3:46
#* Performed by Lowell Fulson
#"No Shoes" – 2:24
#* Performed by John Lee Hooker
#"Across 110th Street" – 3:47
#* Performed by Bobby Womack
#"Stone Cold" – 4:06
#* Performed by Anthony Hamilton
#"Hold On I'm Comin'" – 2:31
#* Performed by Sam & Dave
#"I'll Take You There" – 4:34
#* Performed by The Staple Singers
#"Can't Truss It" – 4:39
#* Performed by Public Enemy
#"Checkin' Up on My Baby" – 2:12
#* Performed by Hank Shocklee
#"Club Jam" – 3:10
#* Performed by Hank Shocklee
#"Railroad" – 2:20
#* Performed by Hank Shocklee
#"Nicky Barnes" – 3:11
#* Performed by Hank Shocklee
#"Hundred Percent Pure" – 2:13
#* Performed by Marc Streitenfeld
#"Frank Lucas" – 2:40
#* Performed by Marc Streitenfeld

DVD and HD DVD release

The film was released on DVD and HD DVD February 19, 2008.

The DVD release of American Gangster includes a 2-Disc Unrated Extended Edition with 18 minutes of unseen footage, which includes an extended ending, the Original Theatrical Version of the film was also included on the set.

A 3-Disc Collector's Edition will also be released which includes the 2-Disc Unrated Extended Edition with a bonus disc and a supplemental collectible 32-page book chronicling the production period of the film. The bonus disc contains two music videos, one by Jay-Z and the other by Ghostface Killah and various movie specials seen on TV about the film, it also includes a Digital Copy of the extended version of the film.

Works inspired by "American Gangster"

The film inspired the rapper Jay-Z to create a concept album, also titled "American Gangster". Jay-Z had been shown the film at an early screening, which had "tremendous resonance" to him. The rapper recorded tracks that were prompted by specific scenes in the film. The album "American Gangster" is a rarity among inspired-by albums because only one artist is recording it, especially a major artist that had no role in the film. "The New York Times" speculated that the album's release in conjunction with the film would attract young moviegoers and help Universal Pictures generate profits to recover from the film's troubled development history.cite news | author=David M. Halbinger | coauthor=Jeff Leeds | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/20/arts/music/20jayz.html | title=For Jay-Z, Inspiration Arrives in a Movie | publisher=The New York Times | date=2007-09-20 | accessdate=2007-11-03 ]

Licensed merchandise

In November 2007, Gameloft developed a mobile video game based on the movie, "American Gangster". [ [http://wireless.ign.com/articles/835/835899p1.htm American Gangster Review] IGN.com, November 16, 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2008.]

References

Bibliography

*cite news | last=Leland | first=John | url= | title=Gross National Product | publisher="The New York Times" | date=2006-10-29 | accessdate=
*cite book | last=Collins | first=Max Allan |authorlink=Max Allan Collins |coauthors= |title=American Gangster |year=2007 |month=October |publisher=Forge Books |format=Mass Market Paperback |others=Novelization of the film |isbn=0765359014

External links

* [http://www.americangangster.net/ Official site]
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* [http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/features/3649 The Return of Superfly]
* [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20154184,00.html "Entertainment Weekly" interview with Denzel Washington & Russell Crowe]
* [http://madeinatlantis.com/movies_central/2007/american_gangster_production_details.htm American Gangster Production Notes]
* [http://www.dropmagazine.com/frank-lucas-jr-video-interview/ Frank Lucas' son clears up the controversy surrounding American Gangster]
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21495099/ Dateline NBC] Interviews with Frank Lucas, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe
* [http://www.scoringsessions.com/sessions/927 Scoring Session Photo Gallery at ScoringSessions.com]
* [http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=4896&In=WikE Detailed Comparison between Theatrical Release and Extended Edition]

Box Office Leaders USA
before = Saw IV
date = November 4
year = 2007
after = Bee Movie


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