American Gangster is an Academy Award nominated 2007 crime film written by Steve Zaillian and directed by Ridley Scott. The movie stars Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Washington portrays Frank Lucas, a real-life kingpin from Harlem who smuggled heroin into the US on American service planes returning from the Vietnam War. Crowe portrays Richie Roberts, a detective attempting to bring down Lucas' drug empire. Filming was done on location in New York City. American Gangster was released in the United States and Canada on November 2, 2007. The film has some shared cast members with The Wire and comparisons have been made between the two because of similarities in the story. Avon Barksdale has been compared to Luca and Jimmy McNulty has been compared to Roberts.