6.8/10
24,218
69 user 57 critic

Bugsy (1991)

The story of how Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel started Las Vegas.

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writers:

James Toback, Dean Jennings (book)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Warren Beatty ... Bugsy Siegel
Annette Bening ... Virginia Hill
Harvey Keitel ... Mickey Cohen
Ben Kingsley ... Meyer Lansky
Elliott Gould ... Harry Greenberg
Joe Mantegna ... George
Richard C. Sarafian ... Jack Dragna (as Richard Sarafian)
Bebe Neuwirth ... Countess di Frasso
Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi ... Count di Frasso
Wendy Phillips ... Esta Siegel
Stefanie Mason Stefanie Mason ... Millicent Siegel
Kimberly McCullough ... Barbara Siegel
Andy Romano ... Del Webb
Robert Beltran ... Alejandro
Bill Graham ... Charlie Luciano
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Glamour Was The Disguise.

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 December 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bagsis See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$140,358, 15 December 1991

Gross USA:

$49,114,016

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,114,016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended edition)

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | Dolby (as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie that George Raft (Joe Mantegna) is making while Siegel visits him on the set, is Manpower (1941), which co-starred Edward G. Robinson. The scene being filmed where Raft gets into a bar fight and hands a broken chair to an actress (Virginia Hill (Annette Bening)) really appeared in the actual movie. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Mickey Cohen: Hey, this conversation is beneath me.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2006 DVD features fifteen minutes of extra footage that Barry Levinson had to cut from the 1991 theatrical version. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Doug: Doug Pumps Up/Doug Goes Hollywood (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

ON A SLOW BOAT TO CHINA
(1947)
Written by Frank Loesser
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Impressive Fiilm, Yet Not Without Some Flaws
3 August 2005 | by jcanettisSee 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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