American Gangster

Watch American Gangster

  • TV-14
  • 2006
  • 3 Seasons
  • 7.9  (311)

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.

American Gangster
Filter by Source

Mutulu Shakur
10. Mutulu Shakur
January 22, 2008
Mutulu Shakur, former leader of the Black Liberation Army and step father of the late Tupac Shakur, is featured in the finale for season 3.
Romper Room Gang
9. Romper Room Gang
January 15, 2009
The Romper Room Gang are a group of bank robbers in the San Fransisco/Bay Area suburb of Vallejo region of California, who are guilty of dozens of robberies in the mid-90's. Mac Dre was a convicted rap artist who's tracks are inspired by the gangs robberies. Other Romper Room gang members became major players on the music scene and made the Vallejo area a hot bed for rap.
The Jamaican Shower Posse
8. The Jamaican Shower Posse
January 8, 2008
A profile of a Jamaican gang which is involved in politics on the island.
Willie Lloyd
7. Willie Lloyd
December 11, 2008
The profile of a Chicago gang lord, Willie Lloyd, who became involved in anti-violence programs after he was released from prison.
Guy Fisher
6. Guy Fisher
December 4, 2008
Guy Fisher is profiled in this episode, who was the original black owner of Harlem's Apollo Theater and a convicted drug dealer.
J. Edgar Hoover & COINTELPRO
5. J. Edgar Hoover & COINTELPRO
November 20, 2008
An examination of a government counterintelligence program established by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the 1950's known as COINTELPRO, as a means of disrupting dissident political organizations, including those champion civil rights and Communism.
Cornell Jones
4. Cornell Jones
November 13, 2008
Cornell Jones, a former inmate and founder of nonprofit organization Miracle Hands is profiled.
Midget Molley
3. Midget Molley
November 6, 2008
A profile of Robert "Midget" Molley, an Atlantic City drug lord who was well known for making $1 million a month, his small stature and wearing a gold crown. Molley, who was sent to prison in 1989, now is fighting for the rights of the Muslim prisoners after claiming he has been abused by guards for his beliefs.
2. "Monster" Kody
October 30, 2008
Monster Kody Scott (aka Sanyika Shakur) who is the author of the book "Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gangster" is profiled.
Larry Davis
1. Larry Davis
October 23, 2008
A profile of Larry Davis, the controversial convicted murderer. Having gained notoriety in 1986 after a shootout with policemen wounded six of the officers and later charged the police department with corruption by dragging him into the drug trade.
Where to Watch American Gangster
American Gangster is available for streaming on the BET website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch American Gangster on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    November 28, 2006
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (311)