Who Is American Gangster Based On? Facts You May Not Know About Frank Lucas

Who Is American Gangster Based On? Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe feature in Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster,” a critically acclaimed crime epic that is widely considered to be among the director’s best works from the 2000s.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the thrilling story of Frank Lucas’ drug empire and the lawman determined to bring it down is still in the top 10 of Scott’s critically successful films.

The director’s unusual foray into the criminal underground was not only packed with a stellar supporting cast like Josh Brolin, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Common but also with information so disturbing that they were nearly impossible to believe. Is there any veracity to Scott’s epic tale?

How much of what was portrayed about one good cop in a terrible place bringing down a despotic drug boss was actually true? Is this “American Gangster” a descendant of the equally infamous Bumpy Johnson, and did his downfall begin with a particularly outrageous coat? Open the case file and we shall see.

Who Is American Gangster Based On?

The first fact to verify is that the infamous “American Gangster” Frank Lucas did exist and did, in fact, amass a drug empire before being arrested and doing 60 years in jail. But the film misrepresents his relationship with Bumpy Johnson, the equally formidable criminal boss who came before him.

In the film, Frank is shown to be Bumpy’s close friend and mentee and to have been shaped by the latter until his untimely death from illness in the midst of an electronics store. In a 2019 interview with Planet Ill, Johnson’s wife, Mayme Hatcher Johnson, questioned the relationship, saying that Bumpy and Frank were not as close as the film depicted.

If what I’ve seen on BET and in movie trailers is true, then Frank Lucas was never admitted into Bumpy’s circle.

In addition, she mentioned that Frank was nowhere around when Bumpy passed away: “I was at home when he went for good; we’d been watching the “Lawrence Welk Show” earlier that evening, and he’d decided to go for a ride with his girlfriend, Junie Byrd, when tragedy struck. On his way to Harlem Hospital, he passed away.”

Soon after, during an interview with VLAD TV, this was brought to Lucas’s attention. He didn’t dispute Mayme Hatcher Johnson’s claim but corrected the film’s 15-year figure by saying, “I worked for Bumpy Johnson 13 years, nine months, and eight days.”

Frank Did Murder Tango, But Not In The Way You Think

Frank’s early efforts to establish his empire are depicted in one of the film’s most tense sequences. Frank unexpectedly shoots rival gangster Tango (Idris Elba) during a violent confrontation, then returns to a family meeting across the street where everyone can see what happened.

This demonstrates how seriously Frank took things and may have been an attempt to convey a message to onlookers.

Who Is American Gangster Based OnSource: Looper

Unbelievably, the genuine Frank boasted about the incident in New York Magazine as he walked by the spot where it happened.

The presence of Frank’s family was absent, but Lucas declared that he had eliminated one of the most menacing characters. “You have to be genuine if you want to succeed in the field I was in. You need to demonstrate your commitment, “said Lucas. “To put it simply, I fired at him. The sound of four separate explosions can be heard right through this area.”

That Coat And Hat Combo Was Real In American Gangster

Frank’s demise in the 2007 film takes place in large part because he ignores his own counsel and goes to a boxing bout wearing a ‘loud’ attire. With his dazzling chinchilla fur coat and cap, Frank attracts the ire of Richie Roberts, who sets him on a course to ruin. The actor actually did make that terrible fashion choice.

The New York Post said, after the publication of Frank’s book, “Original Gangster,” that he attended the Ali vs. Frazer fight in 1971 wearing a $50,000 chinchilla coat and a $10,000 matching hat, which drew the notice of the police present.

Frank bought the expensive coat, contrary to what is depicted in the film; the former mob boss later came to regret the purchase, calling it his “worst mistake” and saying, “I left that fight a marked man.”

Frank And Richie Kept In Touch As Pals

In the last act of “American Gangster,” as Lucas’s world crumbles around him, the former ruler of Harlem is compelled to collaborate with Richie Roberts and blow the whistle on rival criminal organizations and corrupt police officials.

The transaction, which did go through, also resulted in the unlikely friendship between the lawman and the criminal he was pursuing.

To NJ.com, shortly after Lucas’s death in 2019, Richard Roberts offered his condolences for the man he had spent so much time pursuing but who he had eventually welcomed as a friend and even became the godfather of one of Frank’s children. “Nobody’s perfect.

Since no one is entirely good or evil, it’s important to focus on the former while ignoring the latter.” Their friendship endured until Frank’s dying day, making for an unthinkable conclusion to the legend of the “American Gangster.”

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