Watch Hoodlum

"Power is measured in enemies."

Hoodlum is a street crime movie that was written by Chris Brancato and directed by Bill Duke. The film is a somewhat historical account of Black gangsters during the 1930s Harlem period. The movie stars Laurence Fishburne as Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson, Tim Roth as mobster Dutch Schultz, Vanessa L. Williams as Francine Hughes, Andy Garcia as legendary gangster Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Cicely Tyson as Stephanie St. Clair and Madam Queen, Clarence Williams III as Bub Hewlett and Queen Latifah as Sulie.

The film tells the story of an ongoing gang struggle between Black gangsters and the the Italian-Jewish mob during 1930s Harlem. The film mainly concerns the exploits of Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson and the notorious gangsters Dutch Schultz and Lucky Luciano.

When Bumpy is paroled from the Sing Sing facility, the warden becomes impressed by his conduct while incarcerated, but still believes that he has no regret about the murder that he committed. Johnson returns to Harlem to reunite with friends. He quickly becomes a respected community member. He is also friendly with Stephanie Madam Queen St. Clair, who heads the numbers racket in competition with the encroaching Italian mobsters.

Dutch Schultz is a Mafioso reporting to Lucky Luciano, but wants to partner with Queen. She declines his offers since she disapproves of all of the violence that Schultz has used to terrorize customers. Schultz is friends with the chief of police and arranges for the arrest of Queen on trumped up charges. She asks Johnson to run her business while she is jailed. Queen also instructs Johnson to avoid any bloodshed. However, Schultz's men wind up increasing their violence.

The film is divided between the Mafia war that ensues and the many complicated relationships that Johnson has with the Harlem residents, including his romantic involvement with Francine Hughes, a Red Cross nurse.

Another subplot concerns the increasingly troubled relationship with Schultz and Luciano. Schultz desires to be the boss. Luciano is then pressured by the prosecutor, Thomas Dewey in order to keep Schultz under control. Johnson winds up becoming an enforcer for the Genovese crime family over the Harlem and Bronx territories.

R
| 1997 | 2 hr 10 min | 6.3/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Bill Duke
Language
English
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