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From start to finish, it's a story of friendship between 4 street-wise males who don't mind using violence to achieve the lives that they want. They trust no one but each other which is vital to their success as mobsters.

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(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Joey
...
...
Jeremy Schoenberg ...
Crapshooter
Miles Perlich ...
Crapshooter
...
Rabbi
...
Anto Nolan ...
Irish Cop
Andy Romano ...
Antonio Luciano
Bianca Rossini ...
Rosalie Luciano
Stevie Restivo ...
Little Brother
Caroline Gillette ...
Little Sister
...
Rocco
...
Don Faranzano
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Storyline

The story of a group of friends in turn of the century New York, from their early days as street hoods to their rise in the world of organized crime. As their crime empire expands, they have to deal with many problems, including their own differing opinions on how to run their business, the local Godfather, and the psychotic Mad Dog Coll. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They had what it took to build an empire...They just built it on the wrong side of the law. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 July 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gangsters  »

Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$20,246,790 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lara Flynn Boyle's character of Mara is loosely based on the real-life Gay Orlova, a chorus girl and escort whom Lucky Luciano dated while in New York. See more »

Goofs

The results of Rothstein's first card deal on the table are not visible subsequently. See more »

Quotes

Lucky: [after being set up by Don Faranzano and surviving] ... When Tommy Reina went with Faranzano, Don Masseria made Tommy pay a price: me.
[to Lansky]
Lucky: ... Meyer, from now on, you and me gotta agree. So if I start getting a swelled head, just shoot me. It'd be a lot less painful.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Men Named Milo, Women Named Greta (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

nice decor, pity about the blood on the rug
10 July 2001 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This movie is based on the rise of four leading organised crime figures, from the end of WW 1 to the early thirties. The central character, Charles (Lucky) Luciano (Christian Slater)is credited, if that's the right word, for introducing modern corporate governance to a group of organisations previously based on ethnic affiliation and loyalty to a chief. So, in the movie he and his associates Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello and Bugsy Siegel works to bring down two aging Dons whose time has come. The Dons, played by Anthony Quinn and Michael Gambon, are certainly ruthless, but their imaginations are limited. The young turks on the other hand see new markets and new alliances. In the new mafia, Irishmen, Russian Jews and others work alongside Italians.

The period is evoked beautifully in shades of brown and cream. Unfortunately many scenes have a certain sameness to them - a couple of hoods meet in some office or hotel for a delicate business chat, each armed to the teeth. When an impass is reached the guns blaze away. This gets boring after a while and you start to wonder why they don't use the phone sometimes. It isn't because the FBI are after them (the IRS was a bit more successful) and they have the New York cops in their pocket. There are some very bloody scenes depicted with gratuitious graphicness.

Luciano and to a lesser extent Lansky are quite sympathetically depicted, with many of the killings being of "let's kill them before they kill us variety." Poor old Tony Quinn is put down not even able to remember the guy whose death is being avenged. One thing that does come out is that organised crime was in the US long before the prohibition era, but the money made then financed the mob into many other areas, pre-eminently gambling in Cuba and Las Vegas. Meyer Lansky was the biggest investor in the early Vegas casino the "Flamingo", opened I think, by Bugsy Siegal.

This is a moderately interesting account, though with some substantial departures from the historical record. Apart from all the gore my objection to it is that it glamourises some very nasty people who did a great deal of damage to American public life. The FBI, and all its attacks on civil liberties, justified its existence by reference to organised crime, yet did little to stop it. After the time covered by the film Luciano was imprisoned not through the efforts of the FBI but through those of NY prosecutor Thomas Dewey. Luciano was eventually deported to Italy, after assisting the OSS, forerunner of the CIA, in their wartime dealings with the Sicilian mafia. Al Capone, a bit player here, was famously imprisoned for tax evasion. Meyer Lansky was charged with tax evasion in the early 1970s, but beat the rap. He died peacfully at 81 in retirement in Florida. His family not only maintain his grave, but also a web site about him.


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