New York magazine’s Mark Jacobson referees a fascinating phone conversation between former Harlem heroin dealer Frank Lucas and Lucas’s onetime rival Nicky Barnes. Denzel Washington plays Lucas as a flamboyant but tightly disciplined businessman in American Gangster, and Cuba Gooding plays Barnes as a full-of-himself superfly.
Jacobson: “Which one of you guys had the best dope?” Lucas: “Mark, here you go! Stirring shit up. Man, I had the best dope in the world. I had 98 to 100 percent pure.” Barnes: “Frank had a nice package, no doubt. I had to get a pen and a pad and mediate my stuff. But when you took the mix out, my thing was close to his. Close enough for somebody not to wait on one when they could get the other. Frank, you were mostly on 116th Street, right?” Lucas: “Yeah.” Barnes: “Well, I had powder in all five boroughs. Not just uptown.” Lucas: “You were big, Nick, all over.”
Denzel Washington as Lucas; Cuba Gooding