Quotes from the Movie American Gangster

This is the problem. This is what’s wrong with America. It’s gotten so big you can’t find your way.

Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson

This is the problem. This is the way it is now: You can’t find the heart of anything to stick the knife.

Ellsworth Johnson

Forget it, Frank. There's no one in charge.

Ellsworth Johnson

It’s chaos. Every gorilla for himself.

Frank Lucas

The man I worked for, he had one of the biggest companies in New York City- he ran it for more than fifty years. Fifteen years, eight months, nine days- I was with him every day. I looked after him, took care of him, protected him... I learned from him. Bumpy was rich, but he wasn't white man rich, you see he wasn't wealthy. He didn’t own his own company. He thought he did, but he didn’t. He just managed it. White man owned it so they owned him. Nobody owns me, though. Because I own my company. And my company sells a product that’s better than the competition at a price that’s lower than the competition.

Frank Lucas

The most important thing in business is honesty, integrity, hard work, family, never forgetting where we came from. See, you are what you are in this world, that’s either one of two things: Either you're somebody ... or you’re nobody. I'll be right back

Frank Lucas

That basically the whole picture right there.

Frank Lucas

[To Trupo]'Detective. There are some things you don’t do. This is one of them. Not on a man’s wedding day.

Frank Lucas

Brand names mean something, Nicky. Consumers rely on them to know what they’re getting. They know the company isn’t going to try to fool them with an inferior product. They buy a Ford, they know they’re gonna get a Ford. Not a fuckin' Datsun. Blue Magic is a brand name; as much a brand name as Pepsi. I own it. I stand behind it. I guarantee it and people know that even if they don’t know me any more than they know the chairman of General Foods.

Frank Lucas

I do pay them, I pay them all. Cops, accountants, lawyers, who don’t I pay? Everybody. I pay them a fortune, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t satisfy them. The more you pay, the more they expect. You can’t start with them because they can’t stop. It’s like dope. They always want more.

Frank Lucas

This is my home. My country. Frank Lucas don't run from nobody. This is America.

Frank Lucas

The number one fear of people isn't dying, it's public speaking. Pick up the fuckin' glass!

Det. Richie Roberts

For a cop the uppermost thing is the arrest. For a prosecutor, the arrest is nothing without the evidence to convict. We don’t have any real evidence on anyone on this board, so they’re coming down. We’re starting over from the street.

Det. Richie Roberts

His name is Frank Lucas. Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. Couple of arrests years ago. Gambling, robbery, unlicensed firearm. For fifteen years he was Bumpy Johnson’s collector, bodyguard and driver. He was with him when he died. Five brothers, he’s the oldest, lots of cousins, all living here now, spread out around the boroughs and Jersey. The brothers are Eugene Lucas in Brooklyn, Earl Lucas in Newark, Lester Lucas in Queens, Turner Lucas, the Bronx and Teddy Lucas, in Bergen County. Except for the chinchilla coat, which no one can explain, Frank’s life seems orderly and legitimate. He gets up early. Five a.m. Has breakfast at a Midtown place, usually alone. Then goes to work. Meeting with his accountant, or lawyer, dropping in on one of the several office buildings he owns. Nights, he usually stays home. When he does go out, it’s to a club or dinner - with his new wife - friends, celebrities, sports figures - never O.C. guys. Sundays he takes his mother to church. Then drives out to change the flowers on Bumpy’s grave. Every Sunday, no matter what.

Det. Richie Roberts

Won’t get any informants. Not inside. It’s like a Sicilian family. Like he’s structured his own family the same way to protect himself. Being with Bumpy long as he was, he would have been around Italians a lot. Enough to learn that much.

Det. Richie Roberts

They seize it, arrest everybody, whack it up and sell it back to us. Our dope. They been living off it for years, these New York cops. They basically control the market with it. What the fuck has happened to the world, Frank?

Rossi

What’re you doing counting this in front of everybody? Are you out of your fuckin' mind? Take it into a room. Now.

Toback

I’m a leper. Because I listened to you and turned in a million fucking dollars. You know who’ll work with me after that? Same as you. No one.

Rivera

What’re you going to do, boy? Shoot me in broad daylight? In front of everyone?

Tango

When’s the last time I was in Jersey? Let me think. Never. What’re you doing coming over here without letting anybody know? You don’t know you can get hurt doing that? You got your money. Now, never, ever, come into the city again unannounced. You come in to see a fuckin Broadway show you call ahead first to see if it’s okay with me.

Trupo

I always wonder if people know when history’s being made. And what they’re doing at the time. This, for instance, could be a historic moment, and you’re sipping a glass of ice water.

Cattano

What are you saying? That because you were “honest” and didn’t take money like every other cop, I left you? You don’t take money for one reason: to buy being dishonest about everything else. And that’s worse than taking money nobody gives a shit about - drug money, gambling money nobody’s gonna miss. I’d rather you took it and been honest with me. Or don’t take it, I don’t care. But don’t then go cheat on me. Don’t cheat on your kid by never being around. Don’t go out and get laid by your snitches and secretaries and strippers. I can tell just by looking, she’s one of them. You think you’re going to heaven because your “honest.” You’re not. You’re going to the same hell as the crooked cops you can’t stand. US Attorney: No fucking nigger has accomplished what the American Mafia hasn’t in a hundred years!

Laurie

Success. It's got enemies. You can be successful and have enemies or you can be unsuccessful and have friends.

Cattano

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