Paid in Full

Paid in Full

4.5 7
Director: Charles Stone III

Cast: Charles Stone III, Wood Harris, Mekhi Phifer, Kevin Carroll


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Paid in Full marks the feature debut of director Charles Stone III, who rose to fame after creating Budweiser's "Wassup" commercials. The urban gangster drama is loosely based on the true story of 1980s Harlem drug kingpins AZ, Rich Porter, and Alpo. (This story was also the basis for a documentary, Game Over (Part 1).) Ace (Wood Harris) works at a…  See more details below


Paid in Full marks the feature debut of director Charles Stone III, who rose to fame after creating Budweiser's "Wassup" commercials. The urban gangster drama is loosely based on the true story of 1980s Harlem drug kingpins AZ, Rich Porter, and Alpo. (This story was also the basis for a documentary, Game Over (Part 1).) Ace (Wood Harris) works at a laundromat, struggling to get by, while his friend Mitch (Mekhi Phifer) lives the high life selling heroin. His sister's boyfriend, Calvin (Kevin Carroll) also sells drugs, and looks down on Ace for struggling to earn a living. Out delivering laundry one day, Ace meets Lulu (Esai Morales), a big time coke dealer, who lives better than anyone Ace has ever known. When Lulu leaves some coke in the pocket of a coat he's having cleaned, Ace returns it to him, and Lulu rewards him for his honesty by letting him keep the drugs. When Calvin gets busted, Ace hesitantly takes his place in the neighborhood, and starts working for Lulu. As the crack business takes off, Ace finds himself making more money than he knows what to do with. Mitch goes to jail for a short time, where another inmate, Rico (rapper Cam'ron in his acting debut), defends him in a fight. By the time Mitch gets out of prison, Ace is running the neighborhood. Ace makes Mitch his right-hand man, and when Rico gets out of jail, he joins the crew. The drugs and money flow, and Ace tries to keep everyone happy, but there are some who want what's his, and will stop at nothing to get it. Paid in Full was shown at the 2002 Urbanworld Film Festival.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Commercial director Charles Stone III makes an impressive feature debut with Paid in Full. The film is based on a true story of three friends who rose to power as crack dealers in Harlem in the 1980s, only to have their lives shattered by betrayal and violence. Stone tells this violent urban tale with economy and grace. Wood Harris (Remember the Titans) as the levelheaded Ace, Mekhi Phifer (Soul Food) as his loyal friend, Mitch, and rapper Cam'ron, making his acting debut as the volatile Rico, deliver very solid performances, allowing Stone to root the materialism and brutal violence and of the film in strong, compelling characters. There's a surprising warmth to the film, as when Ace's girlfriend (Mitch's sister) calls the practical and decidedly un-flashy crack dealer "boring," then softens the blow by telling him, "I'm with you because I'm boring, too." Stone also handles the violence in the film well, by not diluting its impact. At one point, the film asserts the impact of Brian DePalma's Scarface on the lives of these drug dealers, and in the end the story comes full circle by showing how the flashy lifestyles of these tragic characters has influenced contemporary entertainment. The film doesn't convey a specific sense of time and place as well as it might have, but the fine performances, the strong characters, the appropriately gritty treatment of the subject matter, and the trenchant thematic undertones of Paid in Full make it an exceptional crime drama.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; ; Director Commentary

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Wood Harris Ace
Mekhi Phifer Mitch
Kevin Carroll Calvin
Esai Morales Lulu
Chi McBride Pip
Cam'ron Rico
Remo Green Sonny
Cynthia Martells Dora
Elise Neal Aunt Jane
Regina Hall Kiesha
Angie Martinez Girl in Car

Technical Credits
Charles Stone Director
Maher Ahmad Production Designer
World Famous Brucie B Musical Direction/Supervision
Brucie B. Musical Direction/Supervision
Kerry Barden Casting
Jesse Berdinka Executive Producer
Patricia Bowers Editor
Shawn Carter Producer
Matthew Cirulnick Screenwriter
Suzette Daigle Costumes/Costume Designer
Damon Dash Producer
Thulani Davis Screenwriter
Rich Dickerson Musical Direction/Supervision
Jermaine Dupri Score Composer
Steven Essam Set Decoration/Design
Frank Fitzpatrick Score Composer
Brandt Gordon Art Director
Billy Hopkins Casting
Ao Loo Sound/Sound Designer
Lisa Niedenthal Co-producer
Bill Pankow Editor
Cha-Ka Pilgrim Associate Producer
Brett Ratner Producer
Vernon Reid Score Composer
Ron Rotholz Executive Producer
Paul Sarossy Cinematographer
David Schulhof Musical Direction/Supervision
Suzanne Smith Casting
David Vaughan Asst. Director
Abram Waterhouse Costumes/Costume Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Pain in Full
1. Feelin' The Love [:02]
2. Waz Up, Ace? [6:07]
3. A Hundred A Pop [6:33]
4. Lulu [4:37]
5. Livin' the Life [5:23]
6. Don't Call Me Lucky [5:07]
7. In The Game [6:35]
8. A Matter Of Time [7:36]
9. Good Times [7:31]
10. Everybody Eats [4:30]
11. Money-Makin' Mitch [2:32]
12. Bling Bling [3:41]
13. Bang Bang [4:45]
14. Sonny [2:02]
15. Busted [10:02]
16. 25 To Life [6:47]
17. Credits [5:45]

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Paid in Full 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I grew up in New York in the mid80's and if you were there like I was you know the film is very accurate.This is a true story and everything from the wardrobe to the cars to the dialogue are very accurate.Wood Harris is a very underated actor that silently dominates the screen with his presence.For producer Dame Dash this film is a great improvement from a terrible garbage film''State Property''starring rapper Beanie Seagal that features some of the worst acting and writing ever seen in the history of modern film.I give this movie a B- or 3 stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Paid In Full is the best movie since Scarface. This movie is beatifully wrote and directed. Cam'Ron, making his acting debut, brings the best performance from rapper ever. The story will keep you on the edge of your seat with numerous twist and turns in the plot. This based on a true story film is a must have for anyone who is a fan of a good drug trade movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was good from beginning to the end. It described the urban community and their neighborhoods. It also shows what can happen for the love of the almighty dollar !!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'It's the best movie i seen ina long time.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this movie a lot it's the best movue i've ever seen since scarface. If i could i would give this movie six or seven stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In a mood that deemphasizes the sex and violence in favor of the moral cost of the drug trade, this film has the easygoing persona of a soap opera with a bite that hits you afterwards.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago