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American Gangster: Complete First Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x99de7eb8) out of 5 stars 24 reviews
HASH(0x9a1c6864) out of 5 stars Unique material for the most part created, broadcast and intended for BET 25 July 2010
By Pork Chop - Published on
Format: DVD
American Gangster - First Season - at first glance may suggest a
repetition of content with the relatively large number of other
underworld documentaries, the only difference being much unique
material for the most part, explained from the series being
created, broadcast and intended for BET cable TV.

Each episode is 40 minutes, well edited with a decent audio
accompaniment. The historical narrative is sufficient, and the story
is backed up by direct face to face witnesses about events from days
gone by. Unlike some other series, there are no academicians or
historians, replaced instead with the versions of law enforcement
officers of the time and major public figures.

In the episode concerning South Central LA, the 1970's and 1980's
and Rick "Freeway" Ross, the entire controversy of CIA involvement
in the narcotics for cash for the Nicaragua Contra's is gone over
one more time. The CIA's asset and connection in the USA, Danilo
Blandone, orchestrated the import of cocaine from Colombia's
Medellin cartel, at disguised or CIA paid aerodromes, about the
length and size of a soccer field around many locations in South
USA. For the uninformed, Congress had cut off funding for USA
supported rebels attempting to overthrow the Nicaraguan Marxist
government, and so it is said, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North,
POTUS Ronald Reagan, VP GHW Bush, William J. Casey, Admiral John
Poindexter and others were said in the papers to either have
knowledge or went along with the operations at the time.

The footage of the series works well in accompanying the narrative,
albeit extremely selective in avoiding any offensive or
controversial content.

We hear that Ricky Ross was a charismatic yet bizarre choice for the
boss position in the organization, considering illiteracy, lack of
sophistication in clothes, lifestyle, and familiarity with taxes,
in the use of military equipment (rocket launchers, UZI, AK-47,
etc.) Despite all those shortcomings, Ross surrounded himself with
people who had all those skills, perhaps under suggestion of
Blandone. Admittedly, nobody could be jealous of the profits he made
and how he spent it as the paper he made didn't seem to go to his

The impact of a $25 piece of crack was immense in the community,
with sales of 100 kg worth $2 million per week. The devastation and
epidemic in Los Angeles was stunning ... 90,000 homeless people
began living in cardboard boxes on the streets, destroyed
emotionally and physically from substance abuse.

The CIA and Blandone, were hawks in maintaining their market share
by offering quantities and prices to dealers and consumers that no
other gang could beat, to the point that Ross was gave away $1 and
$5 bills and coins as "garbage" to cohorts, keeping only the big
bills ($20, $100, $1000 and above) for his money counting machines.

From a DEA standpoint (who had taken its marching orders from the
CIA in El Salvador operations and Colombia), and local police, the
chaos still required a public reaction, such as with APC's carrying
battering rams to knock down fortified rock-houses which were
dealer locations), all the while a number of UHF, VHF and radio
scanners were handed over to Ross, to monitor police frequencies.

Ross invested in motels, auto parts dealers and threw parties in the
community to gain a notoriety and acceptance, all the while
strawberries traded tricks for crack, and sentences were made more
severage in face of the calamity. Today, Blandone is under the
witness protection program, while Ross is serving his sentence.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a1c6a74) out of 5 stars What an Eye Opener! 31 Aug. 2008
By AS84 - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Not only do you get a real look into the lives of mostly high profile drug dealers and those people and large communities (often metropolitan cities) affected by the drug dealers' actions, you also get an look at the corruption within the United States government, FBI, CIA, and other government divisions which is far too often kept under the radar by the mainstream media. It is very sad to know how corrupt the government is, how free speech within the United States media is just an illusion (you'll notice a reoccurring true life theme of how those journalists who exposed government corruption were always blackballed in their media careers and harassed by the government), AND have a close up into what some people would do to their own neighborhoods and families for money.

Not only do I highly recommend both the 1st and 2nd season DVDs but I would want every single American to view it. I WOULD REALLY URGE PARENTS TO VIEW THESE DVDs WITH THEIR CHILDREN (probably ages 13-17). These documentaries are that important!

In addition to being an excellent educational tool both DVDs are intense, thrilling, and easily kept the attention of myself and my friends. It is worth every penny of its price!
HASH(0x9a1c6ea0) out of 5 stars A fair and balanced look at gangsters 27 Jun. 2009
By Andrew H. Smith - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
OK, I know the title sounds like a total paradox. After all, gangsters are murderous thugs who ruin lives and destroy communities. However, "American Gangster" does a great job at looking at all aspects of these people, as well as raising questions about the circumstances of their take-downs. The Freeway Ricky Ross is probably the best episode, as it demonstrates how the CIA allowed the Central and South American cartels to distribute crack into the inner city (in other words, the conspiracy theories are largely true about crack). I looked up a lot of the stuff that was in that episode, and apparently American Gangster did its homework because virtually everything stated in this episode was backed up by internal CIA memos and the late Gary Webb's excellent expose. However, all the episodes are excellent, and the show brings to light gangsters I never knew existed (the Chambers Brothers, et al). Ving Rhames may not be Morgan Freeman, but he is an excellent narrator and really sets the tone. Overall, BET did an excellent job telling the story of these gangsters without either over-villianizing them or overly-glorifying them (never thought I'd ever say something positive about BET).
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a1c6e4c) out of 5 stars TWO THUMBS UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 25 Oct. 2007
By Robert Gonzalez - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
american gangster gives you the insight of real american gangsters i highly recommend to anyone who likes gangster movies..
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a1c6e70) out of 5 stars American Gangster is GANGSTA! 12 Jan. 2008
By M. Hunt - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I can't wait for the next season to be available. This series features interesting and poignant, yet tragic stories of the great rise and fall of African American gangsters. These cautionary tales are entertaining, educational, funny, shocking, and sad all at the same time. American Gangster is a great new perspective on the bastardized American Dream that so many African American males fall prey to. Check it out, you won't be disappointed...and as Fat Albert used to say, you might learn something along the way! 5 stars!
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