6.8/10
23,253
68 user 56 critic

Bugsy (1991)

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

Director:

Barry Levinson

Writers:

James Toback, Dean Jennings (book)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Won 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 December 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bagsis See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$140,358, 15 December 1991, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Cinematographer Allen Daviau lit the scenes like the Hollywood movies of the 1940s. See more »

Goofs

The cars in this film were very authentic except for the 1948 black Lincoln continental in 1944 See more »

Quotes

"Bugsy" Siegel: We are gonna build a garden of Eden in the desert! A hotel! But not a hotel! You know what it is? It's an oasis. It's an oasis with a casino. It's legal, it's Nevada. We're gonna have palm trees and pools, we'll have rose gardens more beautiful than Versailles, and we're gonna design them all ourselves!
Virginia: Get away from me!
"Bugsy" Siegel: We're gonna have the greatest entertainers in the world! We'll have Jolson, Kantor, and Durante, we'll have Gary Cooper, Victor Mature, all of 'em, honey, we'll have Dana ...
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

Referenced in Honest Trailers: Beauty and the Beast (1991) (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

LONG AGO (AND FAR AWAY)
(1944)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Jo Stafford
Courtesy of Capitol Records
By Arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
'Bugsy': Destined to be a gangster classic.
13 January 2001 | by mkruscSee all my reviews

Barry Levinson's film 'Bugsy' should be considered one of the greatest gangster movies ever made. Combining a moving plot, first-class acting, superb directing, and an award-worthy score, 'Bugsy' rises above both period-piece movies and pointless gangster flicks.

The plot of the film follows the events in mobster Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel's life that culminated in both the founding of Las Vegas and his own death. As the plot includes Siegel's relationship with Virginia Hill, it also shows his deteriorating relationship with his family (wife Esta and children) and associates (including Meyer Lansky and Charlie Luciano), and it also looks at Siegel's fascination with becoming a celebrity. Most prominently, though, is his dream of creating something: that something which was the hotel and casino Flamingo. And it is this plot, which artfully switches back and forth between Siegel's personal and business lives, that sets the film upon a pedestal (so to speak). It is this blending of personal and professional which sets Bugsy apart from other gangsters by making him human. Yes, he may be a heartless killer, a faithless philanderer, remorseless criminal, hopeless dreamer, but those very characteristics are the same which make him more than the run-of-the-mill gangster. The myth dissolves as the man emerges; and the audience sympathizes with Siegel, even if they do not approve of him.

To say that the acting is excellent hardly does the actors justice. Beatty is a complex and intense Siegel, driven by his passions, weighted by his faults, and, ultimately, just another flawed individual and not (as Siegel once thought) indestructible. Played by Bening, Virginia Hill is Siegel's strong counterpoint whose own ambitious and self-interested exterior is underscored by a caring and sincere interior. Mickey Cohen is very understated of character, sometimes communicating more than just his words, a feat performed flawlessly by Keitel. Kingsley, as Meyer Lansky, is touchingly caring of his friend Siegel, torn between their friendship and his own professionalism. And the rest of the supporting cast--including Mantegna, Gould, Sarafian, and Graham--is talented, and each has an irreplaceable role in the film.

Barry Levinson's directing makes the film all the more special. The shots and angles are all completely appropriate. The style even seems to lend itself to the feel of the era (with the help of great lighting and costuming). At times, the action moves staccato and sharp: all business. And then the flow slows down to a more leisurely pace (like the era). At times, the directing is even elegant, as in the scene at Siegel's house with Virginia, where the camera pans to show the two's silhouettes on a projection screen; or during their love scene, where the time progresses as the camera follows the trail of clothing to the bed, when it has become morning; or two of the final scenes outside the Flamingo (one of Siegel waiting for patrons who do not arrive, the other of he and Virginia united for a final time) as the rain pours down from a night sky. Levinson covers a tremendous amount of ground (due to the numerous sub-plots) while keeping the momentum. And the score of the film, (deserving more awards than it received) of 1940's songs (including 'Why Don't You Do Right (Get Me Some Money Too!)' and 'Candy')and Ennio Morricone's original compositions, not only sets the tone, but the time period. 'For Her, For Him' and 'Act of Faith' in particular are simply captivating, but the entire score is truly a masterpiece.

For such reasons, 'Bugsy' is a pleasure to watch over again, and is destined to become a classic.


23 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 68 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed