Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) takes over the Harlem drug racket by smuggling heroin in the caskets of dead soldiers coming back from Vietnam. Meanwhile, New Jersey cop Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) plays Serpico. Along the way the mostly conventional plot takes a few unexpected turns, helped along by first-rate performances.

It’s one of Ridley Scott’s better movies in some time, despite its 157-minute running time. He packs the scenes and keeps it moving.

Extras: Commentary with Scott and screenwriter Steve Zillian, feature-length documentary.

Grade: A-

American Gangster is currently available.