The story of how Bugsy Siegel started Las Vegas.



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Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard C. Sarafian ...
Jack Dragna (as Richard Sarafian)
Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi ...
Stefanie Mason ...
Andy Romano ...
Bill Graham ...


New York gangster Ben Bugsy Siegel takes a brief business trip to Los Angeles. A sharp-dressing womaniser with a foul temper, Siegel doesn't hesitate to kill or maim anyone crossing him. In L.A. the life, the movies, and most of all strong-willed Virginia Hill detain him while his family wait back home. Then a trip to a run-down gambling joint at a spot in the desert known as Las Vegas gives him his big idea. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Glamour Was The Disguise.


Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bagzi  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)


$49,114,016 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended edition)

Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After working on this film, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening were married. See more »


After Bugsy's house has been sold to finance the Flamingo Club, he takes another look at his "screen test". He's at Virginia Hill's mansion, but he looks at the film in the projection room of his old house. See more »


"Bugsy" Siegel: Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet.
See more »


Referenced in Animaniacs: Video Review/When Mice Ruled the Earth (1993) See more »


Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Jo Stafford
Courtesy of Capitol Records
By Arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Impressive Fiilm, Yet Not Without Some Flaws
3 August 2005 | by (Athens, Greece) – See all my reviews

Having won 2 Oscars and 7 nominations, it is clear that "Bugsy" is no ordinary film. And yet, although it can be safely categorized as an impressive piece of work, it still has some distinct flaws which keep it back from getting into the "masterpiece" class.

First of all, one of the indisputable merits of the film is Barry Levinson's direction. Every scene is meticulously prepared, with no detail being ignored; one example of his fine work is the scene where Bugsy and Virginia make love for their first time, and we watch their shades behind the projector's curtain. Barry Levinson has come up with several other great directions throughout his career ("Rain Man" is a good example), but in "Bugsy" he definitely deserved the golden statute for his excellent work.

The performances are also generally good, although here my first objections start to appear: I completely agreed with the idea of casting Keitel as Bugsy's accomplice, and Kingsley as mafia boss; they both fit perfectly in their roles, and their performances were worthy of their respective legends. However, I cannot say the same about the idea of casting Beatty as the paranoid and erratic Bugsy, or Benning as his girlfriend Virginia; although they both tried hard, for some reason their performances didn't quite work out as they should. It seems as if they were the wrong people in the wrong roles. I do not say that Beatty and Benning acted terribly. I simply suggest that their roles should perhaps be awarded to two other actors that would fit more easily in them.

And finally let us come to the plot issue, which is where the most flaws of "Bugsy" appear. The story is basically quite interesting: This is the tale of Ben "Bugsy" Siegel, a strange and erratic mobster, who likes to cheat his committed wife at the first opportunity. His life changes completely when he is sent to L.A. for a job, as he becomes immediately attracted to the city's life, surroundings, and a woman, Virginia, to whom he becomes fixed. While being there, he envisions a great plan, to build a site to what will one day will become Las Vegas. Unfortunately, his vain and grandiose ways, his paranoia, and his erratic style, make things very difficult for himself and for the people around him.

Interesting the plot may be, but it suffers from major gaps; moreover, considering that the plot is based on a true story, the existence of implausibilities becomes more annoying. Even if one argues that they serve an artistic purpose, I would still like the film to be more rational and realistic.

Worse, the story sometimes gets into some great lengths, becoming somewhat tiring. Of course, one could argue that there are gangster movies such as "Once Upon A Time In America", that also get into great length, and still manage to remain masterpieces. Unfortunately, "Bugsy" fails to accomplish this.

And yet, despite its flaws, "Bugsy" is still a good 7/10, film. Pity it didn't manage to get an even higher grade, though...

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