Gangster No. 1

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Released 2000

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Movie Summary

Director:
Paul McGuigan
Released:
2000
Rating:
R
Gangster No. 1 is a 2000 crime film about the rise of a gangster in London. As a young man, the Gangster (Paul Bettany), comes to idealize the head of the London underworld, Freddie Mays (David Thewlis). Hoping to impress Mays, the Gangster becomes his deadliest weapon, killing anyone who threatens his boss. Ultimately, though, the Gangster decides that he actually wants to be Mays and take his place as the head of the crime world. When the Gangster learns that Mays is to be assassinated by rival Lenny Taylor (Jamie Foreman), he makes no effort to prevent it from happening. After Mays and his girlfriend, Karen (Saffron Burrows) are attacked by Taylor, the Gangster swoops in and kills Taylor himself. However, Mays did not die during the attack, but does go to jail after the Gangster frames him for Taylor's murder. Years later, a much older Gangster (Malcolm McDowell) awaits Mays' release from jail, expecting that he will have to battle his old boss for control of the underworld once again.moreless

Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    Taut, corrosive and compelling, Gangster No. 1 has the galvanic appeal of "Little Caesar" and "Scarface" in its full-sized portrait of a brilliant but twisted and savage criminal.

  • 70

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    The psychological underpinnings give this picture a charged emotional atmosphere. The dizzying unspoken feelings between the two men mesh so well that the movie seems to have been ...

  • 40

    Variety Derek Elley

    Often nastily violent, and defiantly foul-mouthed in a realistic but dramatically unnecessary way, this portrait of a ruthless young hood in '60s London has several fine qualities ...

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    Themes

    Thrillers, Historical, Mobsters, Crime