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Billy Bathgate (1991)

In the year 1935, a teen named Billy Bathgate finds first love while becoming the protégé of fledgling gangster Dutch Schultz.

Director:

Robert Benton

Writers:

E.L. Doctorow (book), Tom Stoppard (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dustin Hoffman ... Dutch Schultz
Nicole Kidman ... Drew Preston
Loren Dean ... Billy Bathgate
Bruce Willis ... Bo Weinberg
Steven Hill ... Otto Berman
Steve Buscemi ... Irving
Billy Jaye Billy Jaye ... Mickey
John Costelloe ... Lulu
Timothy Jerome Timothy Jerome ... Dixie Davis (as Tim Jerome)
Stanley Tucci ... Lucky Luciano
Mike Starr ... Julie Martin
Robert F. Colesberry ... Jack Kelly
Stephen Joyce ... Mr. Hines
Frances Conroy ... Mary Behan - Billy's Mother
Moira Kelly ... Rebecca
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Storyline

Based loosely on the organized crime syndicates of the 20's and 30's, Billy Bathgate is the story of a young man's rise from gopher to right hand man in Dutch Schultz' gang. Having been impressed by the youth, Schultz takes him under his wing so to speak. Billy soon finds himself in a world where wealth and fortune live next door to danger and death. Written by Michael Silva <silvamd@cleo.bc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A seductive look at a notorious gangster's dazzling and decadent empire about to crumble. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 November 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bilis Batgeitas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$48,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,051,590, 3 November 1991, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$15,965,919
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (DuArt)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Loren Dean (Billy Bathgate) was twenty-one-years-old at the time of production, six years older than the character in the novel. In the film, people still always call him "a kid". See more »

Goofs

When Drew Preston is walking with Billy Bathgate and takes his hand, the close-up shows her hand is on the front. In the next shot, her hand behind his and facing to the rear. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Bo Weinberg: [being tied up] What do you think, Irving? Makes this cheap dago move on me, Bo Weinberg. The man who took out @Vincent Coll. The man who held Jack Diamond's ears so he could put the gun in his mouth. Who found the rackets he was to *stupid* to find for himself, who made him something more than the lowdown fucking guy that he is! The schmuck, I should expect something else. He pulls me off the the street right in front of my girl, like he don't know no better. Schmuck!
Dutch Schultz: Don't talk to...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 49th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

I Only Have Eyes for You
Music by Harry Warren
Played on the phonograph
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"An Ordinary Man, Your Mr. Schultz"
2 June 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Billy Bathgate is based on E.L. Doctorow's historical novel about New York in the Thirties. Doctorow also authored Ragtime and while this film isn't as gaudy and expensive as Ragtime, Billy Bathgate is an accurate recreation of the times of post Prohibition New York City.

The main reason to see Billy Bathgate is the mesmerizing performance of Dustin Hoffman as Arthur Fleigenheimer better known as Dutch Schultz. It's a harrowingly accurate portrayal of Schultz who was every bit the hot tempered homicidal maniac Hoffman shows him as. It's very much along the lines of Vic Morrow's performance as Schultz in Portrait of a Mobster, but Hoffman is better. If you do a search on the web about Schultz and see a film, you'll find Dustin Hoffman looks quite a lot like him in real life.

The film is seen through the eyes of its title character who is a young man from the Bronx played by Loren Dean. Schultz reigned supreme in the Bronx of the Jimmy Walker early Fiorello LaGuardia days. One can't forget that this was the Depression, there were no jobs to be had for young Billy of Bathgate Avenue and his gang. It's the reason we see them hanging around on the subway tracks outside Schultz's headquarters when Billy's juggling act catches the Dutchman's attention.

Doctorow is true to gangland lore about why and how Schultz was done in. As you watch Hoffman's performance, these sudden fits of violence you can certainly understand why Lucky Luciano wanted to rid themselves of this problem.

Part of Schultz's temper might have been bedroom performance. As heiress Nicole Kidman so aptly puts it to Billy, he's quite an ordinary man your Mr. Schultz. Also look for some really good performances in this excellent cast from Steven Hill as numbers cruncher Otto Berman, Tim Jerome as lawyer Dixie Davis, and Bruce Willis as the luckless Bo Weinberg. Kidman's not bad either as the immoral heiress who has affairs with gangsters for kicks.

But Billy Bathgate really belongs to Dustin Hoffman, it's one of his best screen performances and should not be missed by anyone especially fans of Dustin.


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