In the 1960’s and 70’s, Frank Lucas was the king of drug trafficking in Manhattan. Denzel Washington portrays the infamous drug lord in the Ridley Scott directed film. Frank Lucas followed in the footsteps of his mentor Bumpy Johnson and established himself as the number one importer of heroin in the Harlem district of Manhattan by purchasing the substance directly from the source in South East Asia. He accomplished this by using U.S. military planes returning from the Vietnam War to ship the drugs into the country and selling them for a lower price than his competitors.
The newly formed FBI tries to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s. Johnny Depp plays John Dillinger who spent a majority of his life robbing banks and running from the law. As a result of all of the increased crime in Chicago, J. Edgar Hoover assigned agent Melvin Purvis, played by Christian Bale, the task of tracking down and bringing in John Dillinger and his gang of historical crime figures.