Watch American Gangster
- 3 Seasons
American Gangster is a popular television show that aired on BET from 2006 to 2009. It was hosted by Ving Rhames, who is known for his commanding presence and tough-guy roles in movies such as Pulp Fiction, Mission: Impossible, and the HBO series, The Corner. The show's premise is based on the real-life stories of notorious African-American crime figures who rose to power during the 1970s and '80s. Each episode focuses on a different gangster and explores their rise to power, their criminal exploits, and their eventual downfall. Rhames serves as the narrator and commentator throughout each episode, providing insights and commentary on the events being depicted.
The show is unique in that it focuses exclusively on African-American gangsters, who are often overlooked in mainstream accounts of organized crime. For instance, the first episode features Frank Lucas, a Harlem drug lord who became notorious for his connections to the Vietnamese mafia and his smuggling of heroin into the United States. Lucas is portrayed as a complex figure who was driven by his desire to provide for his family and gain power in a world that viewed him as an outsider.
Another episode centers on Bumpy Johnson, a legendary gangster who operated in Harlem during the 1930s and '40s. Johnson is portrayed as a Robin Hood-like figure who used his criminal empire to help the poor and disadvantaged in his community. Rhames notes that Johnson was a complex figure, both feared and respected by those who knew him.
Other notable gangsters featured on the show include Nicky Barnes, a flamboyant drug lord who was known for his stylish clothing and ostentatious lifestyle; Queen Pin Thelma Wright, a Philadelphia-based drug dealer who broke gender barriers in the male-dominated world of organized crime; and Larry Davis, a Bronx-based gangster who became infamous for his shootout with police in 1986.
Throughout each episode, the show displays real-life footage and photographs of the featured gangsters, as well as interviews with law enforcement officials, journalists, and family members. This approach lends an air of authenticity to the show and reminds viewers that the events being depicted are based on real-life events.
Overall, American Gangster is a gripping and in-depth look at the world of African-American organized crime. Rhames' commanding presence and the show's attention to detail make it a must-see for fans of true crime dramas.
American Gangster is a series that is currently running and has 3 seasons (26 episodes). The series first aired on November 28, 2006.