Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation

Beginning the Academic Essay

Drugs, money, smuggler, gangster, family man, father, and husband – what do all these words have in common? Frank Lucas. “American Gangster” is based on the true story of Frank Lucas’ life. It is the story of how he cut out the middleman in the heroin business and the story of how Ritchie Roberts caught him. In the opening scene of the movie we see Lucas’ character played by Denzel Washington. Right away we are shocked by his violence and see his power. He shows no mercy and kills a man by lighting him on fire and putting a couple bullets in his brain. We learn Lucas is a very dangerous man and will do anything to keep his power.
His heroin brand “Blue Magic” was known to be two times as potent than any other product on the market in Harlem.
The opening scene is Lucas and his mentor “Bumpy” in a old electronics store. Bumpy talks about the store cutting out the middleman to make more profit. This example of foreshadowing shows how Lucas will take over all sales of heroin, and then build his own monopoly. Buying the heroin straight from the source means he is able to sell it for half the price of rival mafias. Lucas had the best dope in the country. This is an example of an economic theme, because at the peak of his career he was making a estimated one million dollars a day. Lucas had control of all the heroin on the east coast. People became feens for his potent “Blue Magic” heroin. They were spending all of their money on this deadly drug.
Lucas realizes that buying heroin directly from it source in Vietnam would cut out the middleman and increase his profit. He flew to Vietnam without any hesitation and traveled two weeks across Thailand through dense jungle to the field

Frank Lucas was a businessman, and he knew he couldn’t do everything on his own. Lucas hired his family members for two reasons: they admired him and they would be hard working. He payed them enough to keep them happy and still wanting to work. He knew if he payed them too much that they wouldn’t need him anymore. Lucas brought a huge property in New York for his family to stay. He was seen as a man of the people; every year on Thanksgiving he would hand out turkeys. Lucas gave hundreds of people jobs, cutting or selling his “Blue Magic” heroin. Despite being a murderer and huge drug trafficker, people loved him and thought he was good for the community.
Lucas did not like dressing flashy or drawing attention to himself. He knew if he started showing his wealth people would question who he is and what he really did. He gave his little brother advice because he would wear flashy suits and hats. Lucas only surrounded himself with people who were not flashy dressers, so that attention would not be called upon. However Lucas decided to wear a fifty thousand dollar fur chinchilla coat and ten thousand dollar matching hat to a big celebrity fight. This display of flash, is what lead to his downfall. He had one of the best seats and had on a very flashy outfit, which lead to him drawing to police attention.

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