15. Frank Lucas, American Gangster (2007)
Portrayed by: Denzel Washington
We always appreciate when a movie crafts an original story with vile drug dealers plucked from the twisted mind of a tortured screenwriter, but sometimes it’s nice to get a dose of reality as well. In American Gangster, director Ridley Scott brought us the story of Frank Lucas, one of the most notorious drug kingpins in New York history, played by Denzel Washington.
Lucas is famous for cutting out the middle-man and getting his drugs directly from the source, rather than go through a complicated system of dealers. This is genius in terms of profit maximization and it led to Lucas making a fortune in the 1970s. Somehow Washington’s performance makes it hard to root against him, and when you find yourself connecting with a man who's poisoning his community, he’s done his job.