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  • Gangster No. 1 [VHS] [2000]
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Gangster No. 1 [VHS] [2000]

Price: £19.99
Only 1 left in stock.
2 new from £2.14 6 used from £0.01

Product details

  • Actors: Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany, Saffron Burrows, Kenneth Cranham
  • Directors: Paul McGuigan
  • Writers: David Scinto, Johnny Ferguson, Louis Mellis
  • Producers: Jonathan Cavendish, Karsten Brünig, Nicky Kentish Barnes, Norma Heyman
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • VHS Release Date: 8 July 2002
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005224S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 395,122 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

London, 1968. Gangster (Paul Bettany) is rising fast through the ranks of Freddie Mays' (David Thewlis) crime organization, his ruthless efficiency soon making him Freddie's right-hand man. But when Freddie falls for nightclub hostess Karen (Saffron Burrows), Gangster becomes jealous and begins to hatch a plot which will get rid of Freddie for good.

From Amazon.co.uk

Gangster No. 1 is without doubt the most stylish British violent crime thriller from the many produced at the end of the 20th century. For all the pop-video glamour of Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, neither have anywhere near as much a sense of danger as is shown here. Paul Bettany ignites the screen with a fury that explodes far more than it smoulders beneath his tautly kept temper. The tale concerns his ascent to the titular position of primacy in 1960s London, told in flashback by his present-day self (an equally riveting Malcolm McDowell). A lust for power won't allow anything to stand in either incarnation's way, especially the foppish posturing of established crime boss Freddie Mays (David Thewlis). What distinguishes this from many other tales of greed is that the never-named Gangster actually wants to be Freddie, not simply replace him. Saffron Burrows plays the suffering trophy moll in the middle of this personality clash and provides about the only level head and gentle tongue in what is otherwise a super-violent and super-profane script. This is what The Krays should have been, and therefore not for the squeamish. --Paul Tonks --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A. E. Marples on 10 April 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A true example of British film-making at it's best.
This film has some of the sharpest writing, mesmerising acting, stylish editing and unconventional cinematography I have ever seen.
Paul Bettany is actually frightening as young Gangster: in this film he seems to hold a rage within him that always remains just below the surface of his completely calm but fuming expression, but which occaisionally bursts out in short, sharp explosions, bordering on pure madness. When he forces his 'victims' (for want of a better word) to look at him - "Look at my eyes" - you find your gaze riveted to the screen.
Malcolm MacDowell is equally brilliant as Gangster's older self, displaying how truly unhinged the character is, how he has been damaged by his quest for power. And David Thewlis is, as usual, perfect in his role of Freddie Mays - sleek, smart, clever - the epitome of British gangster without becoming a cliche, as he brings something to his character which the usual No#1 Gangster in British films is almost always without.
An amazing film, I strongly suggest you watch it: it will broaden your mind and change your previous ideas of controversy.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Green Knight on 19 Feb. 2010
Format: DVD
This has to be one of the best films of its kind - and it's really rather difficult to classify. Perhaps it's better not to try - perhaps it's better just to revel in this wickedly unpleasant and often darkly amusing British tale of gangster rule by violence and menace.

While I am the first person to abhor violence and bad language in films (both ingredients are so often a compensation for a movie's inadequacies) GANGSTER No.1 gets away with murder. Many times over. Packed to the hilt with oodles of beating, stabbing, slashing and slaying, none of the violence or astonishing use of expletives is gratuitous. It's all driven with crazed logic by the oddball and psychopathic characters that inhabit the screen throughout this fascinating movie's horribly well-constructed 97 minutes.

From the moment it begins, the audience can't help but be riveted to these tough guys in sharp suits who rule the shadowy streets of '60s London. The excellent cast does the screenplay proud, obviously relishing every extreme moment. The gore is copious - as copious as the five-star swearwords, but the effect is never less than stunning, and for all the right reasons.

This film has great style, and ably survives its mildly disappointing - though somehow inevitable - finale, and is superbly directed and photographed. I can only wonder why it isn't better known, and I'm very glad to have discovered it. It's a worthy companion to classics like 'The Krays', 'Get Carter' and 'the Long Good Friday'.

Enjoy - if that's the right word - because you certainly won't forget it in a hurry.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sable Unadorned on 25 Nov. 2004
Format: DVD
Firstly - it's not actually that violent. As in 'Reservior Dogs', the director does a clever job of making us think we've witnessed violence when actually it's nuch more inferred than actual.
Secondly - superb camerawork makes the sixties flashback scenes look as though they were filmed at the time - there's a 'Get Carter' feel to the proceedings which is beautifully observed.
Thirdly - Paul Bettany's performance is truly chilling. A genuine monster, cold and emotionless expect at moments of great violence or, most scarily, when his face contorts demonically for a moment in the knowledge of something dreadful he's about to do.
Fourthly - it would be great, except for losing its way in the last half hour, when Bettany is replaced by McDowell. It's never realy possible to believe that Bettany and McDowell are playing the same character - the latter a tired, twisted criminal plutocrat, the former a psychopath with no real personality we can grasp. McDowell's performance is very good, if a bit by-the-numbers, but simply doesn't fit with Bettany's otherworldiness. The oddness really becomes apparent when he plays against David Thewlis' Freddie Mays, his betrayed former boss, who is (convincingly) aged up for the part - why not do the same for Bettany?
Very good, and at this price definititely worth the money. But a missed opportunity to be so much more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 Jan. 2012
Format: DVD
"And you, Mr. Freddie Mays, you had to go swimming in her eyes. Dancing in her hair. You had to slip into her mouth, slide over her tongue. Fall down her throat, deep down into her belly. Right into her blood. You had to fall asleep wrapped around her beautiful, beating heart."

You might assume, correctly, that in Gangster Nr. 1 our Gangster (played in middle age by Malcolm McDowell and as a young man by Paul Bettany) has major issues of envy, ambition, ruthlessness and violence. Is he psychotic? I wouldn't make the mistake of ever considering him a friend. Freddie Mays, rising London crime boss (David Thewlis) hired the Young Gangster by tossing him a roll of bills. Mays dressed well in slick suits, lived in stage set of an apartment with a long white sofa against a raised walkway. It wasn't long before Young Gangster dressed well, too. He was always next to Mays. Always armed. Always looked as capable of terrifying violence as he really was. He was envious of Mays' style and position. When Mays met Karen (Saffron Burrows), a nightclub singer, and fell for her, Young Gangster was more than just envious.

It isn't long before Mays is gunned down by Lenny Taylor, a rival, and Karen, next to him, has her throat slit. Young Gangster? He's seated in a car, watching the blood flow. And why not? He could have told Mays what was in store for him, but why? Young Gangster that night visits Taylor, and in the words of Wikipedia, whose description of what follows is better than anything I could come up with, "shoots Lenny in the leg, and then calmly turns up the HIFI to drown the resulting screams and removes his suit to avoid any ill effects of what he's about to do.
Read more ›
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