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Customer reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Gangster No. 1 [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£3.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 11 February 2016
McDowell, Bettany & Thewliss - a great cast offering grim and ritualistic gangster-crime from 1968 - as perhaps director Paul McGuigan really wished to reveal. The film was brutal, earthy and perhaps excessively realistic - indeed its rather gratuitous violence (mainly one scene) was the sole cause of me not awarding it 5 stars. However, it is the very dark, no-holds-barred nature of this powerful British film that won't easily let you forget it once you've viewed it. The plot is obvious right from the start, so therefore it is the amoral and psychotic characterisation of each individual who come together in a tale that witnesses the full spectrum of human emotional tone - awe, admiration, envy, hate, love, retribution and contrition - that simply grips the viewer from the beginning to the end. McDowell & Bettany are so convincing, whilst Thewliss singularly offers the viewer two genuine faces of the criminal mind and phase of life. Watch it, perhaps in parts with fingers splayed over eyes, but watch it if you can.
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on 16 September 2016
The transfer is 1080i (interlaced) not 1080p (progressive)... yes it d-o-e-s make a difference, yes the transfer is the worst I've seen on BD yet. Avoid unless a staunch fan and keep your fingers crossed someone like Arrow (unlikely) or Second Sight (slightly less unlikely) will pick it up imbuing it with the red carpet it deserves. Maybe Film4 will put out an updated disc? Not going to happen. Ghosting, combing, artifacts... every uninvited (unwanted) glitch and caveat is present. Even the 'de-interlacing' mode of my high end Oppo BDP-105D player can do nothing to mask this abomination, at least it is relative so the progression of home cinema enthusiasts; 8mm, 16mm, Super 16; Betamax, VHS, Laserdisc. DVD, BD, and BD UKHD / BD4K... whatever. The point is we've reached t-h-a-t point where there's no excuse whatsoever for putting out a washed out transfer on a Blu-ray. I've no idea where they culled this from but it wasn't the R2 English DVD. Evidence comes quickly in the opening minutes when Gangster (Malcolm McDowell) makes use of the urinals in the opening scene. Watch him closely before he exits and you'll see parts of hims literally disappear giving way to visuals of the urinal plumbing that should be right behind him but can be seen clearly through his torso.
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on 6 June 2017
Classic british gangster movie
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on 21 July 2017
Very happy
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on 3 October 2017
Good film as I have seen this film before but when it arrived it was in Italian with no subtitles. I ordered the English version! No freepost to return - not happy
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on 29 January 2017
Fantastic character study of the gangster genre. Excellent delivery service as usual.
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on 25 July 2017
Loved it.
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2003
This film should be given A LOT more recognition than it does. It's one of the best British films I've seen in recent years. Stylishly directed, it shows one man's determination to become the top dog in the underworld. Not exactly an unfamilier scenario, but where this differs from a lot of other gangster flicks is with the cold-blooded portrayal of the central character. He doesn't even appear to be human at times. He has no name, no family (no Violet Kray-style mum to fawn all over him), no apparent personal life whatsoever, (it comes as a bit of surprise to find he's actually got a flat to live in!), he seems to exist solely to wreck brutality, murder and mayhem. This could so easily have been ridiculous, making him a pantomime villain, but the superb acting of Paul Bettany and Malcolm McDowell, as the younger and older gangster, never allows this to happen. Both are quite chilling in the role. David Thewlis has a good go at playing Freddy Mays, the butcher of Mayfair, but he always comes across as far too decent a bloke to be a gangland overlord!
There are some highly memorable scenes in this, most particularly the gruesome blood-splattered part where Bettany literally butchers a rival mobster, and then takes a shower afterwards with his weapons! And the scene where McDowell rages about still being top dog, after letting it slip that he's effectively tired of living a completely loveless life and wants done with it all, is top quality stuff. There is no hero-worshipping nonsense about gangsters in this film. Bettany's idolising of the gang-leader is shown to be as immature and pathetic as any schoolboy crush. The erotic undertones to his "crush" on Freddy Mays are done with great subtlety. And the gangsters in old age are shown to be nothing more than clapped-out old has-beens still fighting yesterday's battles. This is one of those films that you see more in each time you watch it. Highly recommended.
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on 19 February 2010
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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on 25 November 2004
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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