Dang Bireley's and Young Gangsters

Dang Bireley's and Young Gangsters (Thai: 2499 อันธพาลครองเมือง or 2499 Antapan Krong Muang; literally: 2499 Gangsters Rule the City) is a 1997 crime drama film about young Thai gangsters in 1950s Thailand. Featuring John Woo-style heroic bloodshed, it was the debut film from director Nonzee Nimibutr and was the first screenplay by director and screenwriter Wisit Sasanatieng.

Dang Bireley's and Young Gangsters (2499 Antapan Krong Muang)
The Thai movie poster.
Directed byNonzee Nimibutr
Written by
Produced byVisute Poolvoralaks
CinematographyWinai Patomboon
Edited bySunit Ussavinikul
Music byOrange Music
Distributed byTai Entertainment
Release date
April 11, 1997
Running time
110 min

The 2499 in the Thai title refers to the year in the Buddhist calendar when the story starts, corresponding to the Gregorian year 1956.


Dang, the son of a prostitute, growing up in 1950s Thailand, compensates for his inferiority complex by boosting up his ego. At the age of 13, he killed a man who was beating his mother. By age 16, he had dropped out of school and started his own protection racket. With his right-hand man Lam Sing, Dang is highly protective of Piak, and is also friends with Pu Bottle Bomb and Pu's sidekick Dum.

Dang attracts the attention of a young night club singer named Wallapa, who pressures Dang to stop being a gangster and live a normal life. Dang's mother also wishes that he would stop being gangster and ordain as a Buddhist monk.

Dang carves out more territory by killing the local crime boss Mad Dog. Meanwhile, Piak is caught up in a fight between rival school gangs, instigated by Pu and Dum. The fight leads to a falling out between Dang and Pu the beginning of a feud between the two. Following a military coup all the gangsters must leave Bangkok for the countryside, Dang, Lam Sing and Piak go to work for Sergeant Chien, a former policeman turned gangster, at Chien's bar and gambling den next to an American military base. Chien needs more muscle to go against a rival operator, Headman Tek, and brings in Pu and Dum against Dang's wishes. Pu and Dum stir up trouble in the gambling den and reignite their feud with Dang's gang although Sergeant Chein tries to calm them. However Sergeant Chien is killed by a motorcyclist gunman and Pu and Dum go to work with his rival Headman Tek forcing Dang's gang out of the town.

Dang returns to Bangkok, where he plans on fulfilling his mother's wishes and taking his oath as a monk. However Pu and Dum show up during the ceremony and gun battle ensues. Lam Sing is killed, and Dang and Piak are wounded, but Pu and Dum are killed.

In an epilogue, narrated by an older Piak, it turns out Dang survived his wounds, but continued as a gangster seemingly unable to become a monk, and then died in a car accident at age 24, just like his idol James Dean.


Popularity and talk of the townEdit

When this film was released it was immediately popular. Because it is different from other Thai films in the same era, due to it was made realistically and met international standards. It has been recognized as a film that truly opens a new era for the Thai film industry. It was adapted from Suriyan Saktaisong's crime fiction Sen Tang Mafia (เส้นทางมาเฟีย; literally: Mafia Way). Every character is a real person. When released, it became a debated topic in Thai society about the historical truth and the scene that appeared in the film. Which many people who confirm themselves to know Dang Bireley insist that Dang does not have individuality like in the film at all including many scenes did not actually happen.[1]

Awards and nominationsEdit

The film won Best Picture and Best Director at the Thailand National Film Association Awards.[2] At the 1997 Vancouver International Film Festival, it was nominated for a Dragons and Tigers award.


  1. ^ Kasetsiri, Charnvit (2012). กาลานุกรมสยามประเทศไทย 2485-2554 [Thailand Timeline 1942-2011] (in Thai). Bangkok: Post Books. p. 249. ISBN 9789742280703.
  2. ^ "2499 อันธพาลครองเมือง = Dang Bireleys and young gangsters [or, 2499 antapan krong muang]". Films Database. Mae Jo University. Retrieved 31 August 2017.

External linksEdit