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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

Frank Lucas is the main protagonist and anti-hero of the 2007 movie American Gangster.

He is portrayed by Denzel Washington, who also portrayed 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 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.


  • Denzel Washington and the movie received and won numerous nominations for Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Satellite Awards.
  • Frank is similar to Tony Montana from Scarface: Both are protagonist villains who started out with humble beginnings and eventually became crime lords and rose to the top.
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