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See, you are what you are in this world. That's either one of two things: Either you're somebody, or you ain't nobody.
~ Frank Lucas

Franklin "Frank" Lucas is the protagonist villain turned anti-hero of the 2007 film American Gangster.

He was portrayed by Denzel Washington, who also played Alonzo Harris in Training Day.


In the prologue of the movie, he is depicted as the driver, bodyguard and henchman of New York crime boss Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson. After Bumpy dies of a heart attack, Frank Lucas begins to start making his own drug empire in the vacuum left by Bumpy. His rise to power is unexpected due to his relatively low status in the criminal world. Despite this, he eventually becomes powerful enough to be considered "above" the Mafia. As the movie progresses, he becomes more and more enraged by the amount of people demanding payment, including the police. He winds up being targeted by the police and gets arrested for his crimes after his business is shut down. While in jail, he helps Richie Roberts track down and arrest the corrupt cops in the New York Police Department; in return, Richie represents him in court. He is sentenced to 70 years in prison, but only serves 15 years and is released in 1991. He then became a regular citizen and a good friend of Richie.


  • Denzel Washington and the movie received and won numerous nominations for Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Satellite Awards.
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