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Reviews & Ratings for
Lansky (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

So, what does actually tell this movie?!

Author: Iva96 from Bucharest, Romania
5 May 2005

To put it in a few words: not enough real facts, not deep psychological analysis of the characters. The only good thing about the movie is the acting. But it does not make it for the movie length...

After seeing the trailer, I waited the movie with very high expectations. I mean, hello, this was a movie about Meyer Lansky, the brain behind the Syndicate, one of the most influent mob leaders ever. An ocean of opportunities... And, what did I get for the two hours spent in front of the TV? just a big mark of question: "what did it want from me?!" There was not the rush and the fascinating action from "goodfellas" or "casino", nor the sympathetic romantic retrospective from "bugsy", and it was far from stories like "once upon a time in America". The biography is romanced and extremely brief. If you do not know the real life of Lansky, for sure you will not understand too many things from this movie. If you know it, you will be disappointed. And if the intention was to analyze the feelings and emotions of the character, well then, it didn't do it deep enough.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie and Great Performance by Richard Dreyfuss

Author: Brendan Sun ( from Sydney, Australia
6 October 1999

Richard Dreyfuss's performance in this riveting gangster movie confirms Richards place as one of the greatest actors of all time. Lansky is a power packed true story of the famous Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky. It has a distinct advantage over many other gangster movies in that it isn't all violence. While there are several violent scenes, we really get to know Lansky and feel for him. This is because of Richards great performance. His presence commands the attention of the viewer in all of his scenes. Anthony La Paglia also stands out as Lucky Luciano. I highly recommend this movie if you are looking for a smart, entertaining film with some action thrown in. A BRILLIANT MOVIE

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

what happen to Anna?

Author: leda-9 from Brazil
31 July 2005

I saw the movie yesterday on HBO. Liked Robert Dreyfuss' performance very much. He is great! But didn't understand what happened to Lansky's first wife, Anna. She simply disappeared with no explanation and was suddenly "replaced" by Teddy. Did Anna die? Did the Lansky divorced? It seems that the producers made the movie only for the mob's admirers and/or experts, supposing that everybody would understand the story. There was a lack of some connections to make the movie understandable. Even so, I enjoyed it very much, especially because of Dreyfuss, who happens to be one of my favorite North American actors. Anthony La Paglia played well too and even Eric Roberts had a good performance.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

terribly executed biofilm

Author: Yonhap S from Philippines
10 April 2000

If done well, this would be a very interesting movie, but as it is, it's very marginal. The shift from his youth days, to his 30's and 1978 gets very confusing. There are times the issue of Meyer Lansky being Jewish is brought up in the film, but later it's simply forgotten. That's the scenes during his childhood and the 1978 scenes. Between that, nothing. All we see in the film is only about Lansky, but it would have been interesting to see what his friends and enemies think and mean about him. I'm losing faith in HBO movies.

The verdict: 1.5 of 5 stars.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Interesting, but overall average gangster film.

Author: Brad K. from Wisconsin
27 February 1999

I'd seen a preview for Lansky on HBO a couple of weeks ago and it looked like a fascinating movie. Too bad the film couldn't meet the expectations. Richard Dreyfuss (Mr. Holland's Opus, Night Falls on Manhattan) stars as Meyer Lansky a gangster from the early 1900's. The film deals with his character throughout the film going back and forth from different ages. Dreyfuss is not the only actor to play Lansky in the film. Dreyfuss plays him from his 30's on, Max Perlich (Beautiful Girls, Georgia) plays him in his 20's, and a child actor plays him at a younger age. The film deals with his dealings in the mob and his family life. Eric Roberts (Runaway Train, Most Wanted) plays Bugsy Siegel and Anthony LaPaglia (The Client, Commandments) plays Lucky Luciano. Both of these actors do well, especially LaPaglia, but aren't given enough screen time. Richard Dreyfuss is very good in the lead, but is out-acted by Max Perlich playing Lansky in his earlier years. I know the film probably wanted a big name (Dreyfuss) but I would have preferred to see Perlich play him the whole time instead of Dreyfuss. The film takes some good choices on how to tell the story, but the story itself is kind of boring. It's interesting at times, but nothing special.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Enough already

Author: Doctor_Bombay from Lucas Buck, NC
28 February 1999

Made for HBO movies (particularly the ones with only one-word titles) have become the ‘in' thing these days. They carry a lot of prestige, and certain EMMY nomination for the lead (think Gary Sinise/Truman, Ving Rhames/Don King, Angelina Jolie/Gia). In fact, I'd venture a guess that most stars with a little forethought ask their agents ‘why can't I get one of those deals?'

They can be career builders, or a career jump-start, and suffice it to say there is incentive by many in the creative community to continue this lineage of quality programs.

But perhaps now the guild is off the rose. I mean, Meyer Lansky? The guy was boring in real life and even more so in the reincarnate. At least Gia was a lesbian drug addict.

Gangsters from Al Capone to Don Corleone have been romanticized quite successfully in films-but we know all that stuff. The made-for-HBO GOTTI should have foreshadowed to most that this genre has been overused, and abused.

Probably everything we need to know about Meyer Lansky we found out in fifteen minutes of BUGSY anyway.

Mamet's script is derivative and plodding, Richard Dreyfuss is not only unconvincing but over-the-top in his portrayal of Meyer Lansky. And the musical score is so retro-Godfather it's laughable.

Don't waste your time.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

This is no "Once upon a Time in America"

Author: janet-55 from United Kingdom
3 March 2006

This film succeeds in portraying Meyer Lansky as a victim in the whole procedure. This has to be rubbish - wasn't he allegedly the brains behind most of the mobster operations and died with millions of dollars of his ill-gotten gains stashed away somewhere in Switzerland? The constant leaping backwards and forwards in time, while expertly handled in "Once Upon a Time in America" was clumsily handled in this film. Dreyfuss, though a good actor, was miscast and therefore seriously out of his depth here: this only served to increase my dissatisfaction with the film. And what did happen to Anna? Why was it assumed that everyone watching the film was as au fait with the story as David Mamet? The only times the film lit up was when either Eric Roberts or Anthony Lapaglia were on the screen. It's a pity it wasn't the story of "Lucky" Luciano. Lapaglia dwarfed Dreyfuss both physically and metaphorically every time they were on screen together. All in all if you like gangster movies fact or fiction, I'd advice you to miss this one.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Pretty much a waste!

Author: John-320
10 September 2000

This movie could have been alot better. Meyer Lansky was to me far more interresting then both Siegel or Luciano. David Mamet is a great writer, but his script here just isn't that good. A few simple details were changed and the editing isn't all that good either. They should have told the audience which period we were looking at during certain times of Lanskys life. The movie begins around 1972 in Israel then we go back to the early 1900's in Russia and then to like 1912 in Manhattan, but you don't see that. You also don't hear about the 400$ million dollars that Lansky had in Sviss banks at the time of his death which is a fact by now. His Florida operations were also very known and he was the one who gave orders to both Santo Trafficante Jnr. and Carlos Marcello. Despite the lack of storytelling the acting is great. Richard Dreyfuss is extremely good as Lansky and Perlich also, but Roberts and LaPaglia somehow didn't fit in there. I give this movie *1/2 stars out of four.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One of my Favorite Films but I wanted it to be longer.

Author: rikbloom-115-127800 from United States
24 September 2014

When I first heard HBO was putting out a film on the life of Myer Lansky starring Richard Dreyfuss, who I really admire, my initial reaction was can he pull this off? I totally underestimated his abilityas an actor. Part of my thinking was within the look-a-like department.But with Ricard Drefyuss, along with Joshua Praw and Ryan Merriman (who both play the younger Lansky) I felt that director John McNaughton,along with Richard Dreyfus' ability to clone the movements and essential dramatic aspect, for his portrayal of Myer Lansky made this film work for me. With Anthony LaPaglia (as Charles "Lucky "Luciano),and the incomparable Eric Roberts (as Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel), as the frosting on the cake. While I really admired Warren Beatty's version of Siegel (Bugsy 1991) Robert's performance will grow on you in a different positive way. The fact that Myer Lansky outlived all of his contemporaries, without ever getting convicted of a crime, is an amazing thing in of itself. His ability to constantly evade, truth in life, was enough to get me interested in his story, along with the fact that I had read the books by Uri Dan and Dennis Eisenberg piqued my interest even further. Some have said the screen writers miss a lot the factual points of Myer Lansky's life, but how can we truly argue this point, when we have no concrete idea of what these points were? I watched the original airing of Lansky on February 27th, 1999 on HBO. I do not take to a lot of movies right away but the more I watched "Lansky" the more it grew on me. I now consider it one of my favorite films. On the negative side I wish the film could have been much longer, with more dramatic detail (whether these details were true or not) While the film does show Lansky's initial meeting with Anna Citron, the film does not extrapolate on her eventual outcome. Another thing to consider is if dramatic films covered all the absolute truths,they would lose some of their entertainment value (for me) I have documentaries for that area. The cinematography, along with the orchestral soundtrack, along with the popular hits of that time period are also superb." Lansky" also does a credible job of capturing the period settings (e.g. turn of the century lower east side) I highly recommend the film "Lansky"

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Ultimate Movie Review! - - @tss5078

Author: Tss5078 from United States
17 August 2014

For nearly six decades, Meyer Lansky was the brains behind the mafia, and is credited for their rise to power in Las Vegas. While being one of the more interesting criminals to ever live, his role was mainly behind the scenes and the film about his life turned out to be much less interesting than the man himself. Meyer Lansky (Richard Dreyfuss) was a Europen Jew, who fled to America in the early 20th century. Living on the streets of New York, he quickly fell in with the wrong people and started laundering money and bootlegging alcohol for some of New York's biggest gangsters. Lansky along with Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel, formed one of the most profitable organizations in the history of the Mob, and are credited as the first group to officially be refereed to as organized crime. I've always loved mafia movies and did genuinely want to learn more about Meyer Lansky, but the truth is, what he did really wasn't that interesting. He wasn't a boss, he wasn't a hit-man, he was basically an accountant, trying to make money for all kinds of nasty people. The film was basically a behind the scenes look at the mob and I found it to be very long and boring. Reclusive veteran, Richard Dreyfuss, takes on the role of Lansky and fits the character like a glove. Dreyfuss even mirrored Lansky's mannerisms and was really very good. From an artistic stand point, Lansky was worth watching, as Dreyfuss wasn't the only one to turn in a powerhouse performance. I went into this film looking for an intense, fast-paced thriller, but what I got was more like some documentary on the mob, that put me to sleep. Everything was as it should be for an epic drama, but the truth is, the man they chose to feature, just wasn't the type of guy that needed to have a film made about his life.

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