Boardwalk Empire: Season 1, Episode 1

Boardwalk Empire (19 Sep. 2010)

TV Episode  |  TV-MA  |   |  Crime, Drama, History
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 2,482 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 10 critic

In 1920 Atlantic City, politician Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson makes arrangements to operate a liquor smuggling business during the early days of Prohibition. His driver, Jimmy Darmody, wishes to prove is usefulness.



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Title: Boardwalk Empire (19 Sep 2010)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:


Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson, entertainment tycoon at the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, has gathered some of the most important members of the city council to a dinner at his nightclub Babette's Supper Club. It is two hours before the Prohibition will come into force on midnight January 17, 1920. At the dinner they discuss how to organize the distribution and selling of illegal alcohol. Next day Nucky makes an agreement with the smuggler Bill McCoy to buy 500 crates with Canadian whiskey for 35 grand. At a meeting at Nucky's restaurant the crime bosses Johnny Torrio and Big Jim Colosimo from Chicago, Arnold Rothstein and Lucky Luciano from New York, and Nucky himself discuss common interests. Outside Nucky's chauffeur Jimmy Darmody befriends Torrino's chauffeur Al Capone, both being veterans from World War I. Jimmy is frustrated with his inferior position in Nucky's new organization. He and Al Capone decide to rob the trucks that transport the 500 crates of illegal whiskey that Arnold ... Written by Maths Jesperson {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | History



Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 September 2010 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Sophie Tucker recording of "Some of These Days," which plays over the scene where Nucky looks in on the baby incubator store front, would have been nine years old at the time the events in this episode take place (it was recorded in 1911). See more »


Music featured the tune "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" which was not produced until 1938. See more »


Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson: First rule of politics, kiddo: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
See more »


References The Godfather (1972) See more »


An Old Fashioned Garden
Written by Cole Porter
Performed by Olive Kline
See more »

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User Reviews

Masterful acting, conflicted protagonist, exquisite dual visuals, immersive production, intriguing and exciting story, irresistible bitter candy jar, mythical universe
21 September 2010 | by (France) – See all my reviews

Boardwalk Empire's pilot aired, the first leaf of autumn fell. Scheduling it at the end of summer was a bright idea. The show won't change your life but its potential is undeniable. It has most of the materials required by a top notch entertainment production.

Steve Buscemi is a viewer magnet and when I read he would portray the protagonist, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, I was instantly hooked. From his unique voice to his strange physical attributes the man is a pool of natural talent to himself. As expected his performance was the enlightenment of the episode. His palette of emotions painted the scenes with so many different colors and shapes that at times it was almost like watching René Magritte's surreal work in motion. Moreover it was almost perfectly integrated to well polished and designed studio sets. A few minor issues but nothing to prevent the immersion. Who's responsible ? Not Tom Jones obviously so I suspect the usual creative freaks, from the confirmed executive producers to the artistic director. But beside these visual considerations Nucky is also a deep, conflicted and intriguing character. Covering the prohibition era is not original but following one of its puppet master can only be exciting. It's the eternal battle between good and evil. If you had his power, what would you do ? Who would you be ? An incorruptible politician or an evil persona motivated by easy money and obsessed with tainted silk ? Buscemi's ambivalent acting blurred the lines between the possible answers to these questions. One minute he touches your heart and soul like a crying man, the next he parades with the devil and succumbs to temptation of the flesh.

Like a twister Buscemi & Nucky dragged with them an impressive amount of superlatives. First the editing was both original and well executed. Forget the over used reverse order concept and enjoy a puzzling sequence of scenes brilliantly blended together. Second the mix between superficial and authentic elements is fascinating. It's even mesmerized by the duality and charisma of the characters. Third the cast is charming, convincing and eclectic. My only regret is that most women are young and beautiful. In my humble opinion it made the story less credible so I hope the minor and unexploited roles will blossom. Fourth beside the drama it was also a lot of fun. The shadowing scene is already cult and was just hilarious. Let's also not forget the funny and sexy ride involving Nucky and his "friend" Angela Darmody, sweatily portrayed by Aleksa Palladino. Fifth you should also be shocked by the violence of some scenes. Faint-hearted audience, pass out.

Last but not least between these questionable and brutal moments one can only be moved by the poetry and creepiness of a few ideas. They actually reminded me of Carnivàle and its mesmerizing mythology. From the delicate babies to the girl corpse it's almost like if they were trying to send us a subliminal message. Are we the pedestrian behind the window ? Knock, knock, Nucky !

12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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