Is American Gangster Based on a True Story?


Ridley Scott’s ‘American Gangster’ is a gritty crime movie that follows the rise and fall of Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), a heroin kingpin who controls the drug commerce within the New York Tri-State Area. The movie progresses via Lucas’ thrive as the massive gun and the downfall of his drug empire when Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe), a Newark detective, closes in on him.

One of probably the most acclaimed Ridley Scott movies, ‘American Gangster’ provides a brutal depiction of the drug scene of the late Nineteen Sixties and ‘70s, making us wonder about the truth behind the film and the protagonist Frank Lucas. If you are curious about the true story behind the film, we have got you covered!

Is American Gangster Based on a True Story?

Yes, ‘American Gangster’ relies on a true story. The movie relies on Harlem-based drug trafficker Frank Lucas, who traded heroin within the metropolis after procuring the fabric from Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia. Screenwriter Steven Zaillian wrote the screenplay of the movie based mostly on ‘The Return of Superfly,’ a function written by Mark Jacobson for the New York journal.

As seen within the movie, Frank Lucas grew as a kingpin in Harlem upon the dying of Big “Bumpy” Johnson, who managed the Harlem crime scene until 1968. An in depth affiliate of Bumpy, Lucas occupied the vacuum created by Bumpy’s dying by promoting high quality heroin, which was branded as Blue Magic.

Without middlemen, Lucas procured heroin from Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, allegedly via the coffins of American servicemen who died in the course of the Vietnam War. “We did it, all right … ha, ha, ha …Who the hell is gonna look in a dead soldier’s coffin? Ha ha ha,” Frank Lucas advised Mark Jacobson for New York journal in 2000. The pivotal scene wherein Lucas attends the Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali boxing match in luxurious apparel is portrayed as per the true incident that occurred within the lifetime of Lucas.

The scene which showcases Lucas killing Tango in broad daylight additionally occurred in precise actuality, however with out a household awaiting the true Lucas. “I shot him. Four times, right through here: bam, bam, bam, bam,” Lucas advised Mark Jacobson for a similar function in New York journal. Towards the tip, the movie portrays Lucas and Richie forming an uncommon friendship as the previous helps the officer to prosecute different criminals and corrupt officers recognized to him. This unorthodox friendship additionally bloomed in actual life as each of them stayed in contact until Lucas’ dying in 2019.

Frank Lucas Image Credit: Otsego Media/YouTube

The character of Richie Roberts relies on Richard M. Roberts, who performed a important position within the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of Frank Lucas as portrayed within the movie. Even although Richie Roberts is an precise officer, the accuracy of the portrayal was disputed by the true Richard Roberts. “The parts in the movie that depict Frank as a family man are ludicrous. They did it for dramatic purposes, you know, to make him look good and me look bad,” Richard told New York Post.

The narrative of the movie which depicts Lucas’ arrest as a one-man present of Richie can be disputed by Richard. “It took more than just me to bring down Frank Lucas,” Richard added. Along with the disputes put ahead by Richard, the accuracy of the movie was severely questioned upon the movie’s launch. Dominick Amorosa, the lead prosecutor of the case that sentenced Lucas to jail, questioned the movie’s accuracy in portraying Lucas’ time as a drug lord.

Richard Roberts/ Image Credit: Our History/YouTube

Beyond the controversies and uncertainties relating to the accuracy of the movie, ‘American Gangster’ succeeds in successfully depicting the may and fall of the notorious Frank Lucas. Even although we could not precisely discover the measures of fact and fiction within the movie, we will ensure that the empire of Frank Lucas as soon as stood mightily within the streets of Harlem, making the plot one that’s rooted in actuality.

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