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Lansky (1999)

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This is the telling of the life of organized crime boss, Meyer Lansky, as remembered by him as a very old man who is moving about the world looking for some country that will take him in ... See full summary »

Director:

John McNaughton

Writers:

Uri Dan (book), Dennis Eisenberg (book) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Biography

When the aging Meyer Lansky is investigated one last time by the Feds who suspect he has stashed away millions of dollars over half a century, the retired gangster spins a dizzying tale, ... See full summary »

Director: Eytan Rockaway
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Dreyfuss ... Meyer Lansky
Yosef Carmon ... Rabbi / Caretaker (as Yosi Carmon)
Mosko Alkalai ... Jewelry Shopkeeper (as Moscu Alcalay)
Fima Noveck Fima Noveck ... Hasid in Grodno
Joshua Praw Joshua Praw ... Meyer Lansky Age 8
Bernard Hiller ... Max Lansky
Jill Holden ... Yetta Lansky
Larry Moss ... Benjamin Lansky
Chris Marquette ... Jake Lansky Ages 9-11 (as Christopher Marquette)
Ryan Merriman ... Meyer Lansky Ages 12-14
Benjamin Kimball Smith Benjamin Kimball Smith ... Irish Gang Leader (as Benjamin K. Smith)
Brian Casey Brian Casey ... Irish Boy #1
Adam Hendershott ... Irish Boy #2
Daniel Sagal Daniel Sagal ... Irish Boy #3
Anthony Medwetz Anthony Medwetz ... Benny Siegel Age 11
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Storyline

This is the telling of the life of organized crime boss, Meyer Lansky, as remembered by him as a very old man who is moving about the world looking for some country that will take him in since the US courts have put out an extradition order for him to stand trial. It tells of a young man growing up in the Jewish ghettos of America's big cities at the turn of the century and of his bright intelligence which he used for moving into crime. "I'm only a gambler," he claimed, "just like most all Americans." When asked by a reporter to comment on the killings that occurred under his leadership he declined, thereby making this film's thrust that of personalities and relationships rather than of acts of violence or the workings of corrupt deeds. Written by BOB STEBBINS <stebinsbob@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Mind That Organized Crime. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A bűn királya See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

At the end of the film it stated that Lansky was born in 1903. In fact, he was born on July 4th 1902. See more »

Soundtracks

The Easy Winners
Written by Scott Joplin
Courtesy of Biograph Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Jewish Don
23 November 2017 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Certain friendships play a part in history in that without the relationship history itself might have been different. FDR and Winston Churchill for example. It works negatively too, just look at Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy.

In gangland lore and this was by no means easy in those clannish days the friendship of Italian Charles Luciano with Jewish Meyer Lansky. Crossing ethnic and religious lines was by no means easy then, but these two formed the national syndicate of organized crime that still is in operation.

Richard Dreyfuss and Anthony LaPaglia play the mature Lansky and Luciano characters. Eric Roberts is Ben Siegel otherwise known to those who didn't know him as Bugsy. You've seen parts of the story in Mobsters from Luciano's point of view and in Warren Beatty's film Bugsy. In Lansky the same story is now told from Meyer's point of view. The kid who saw pogroms in Poland and who fought with Ben Siegel's help on New York's mean streets to stay alive.

The main component of the Lansky Legend is that the man was never convicted of a major crime. As Dreyfuss says you keep it all in your head and write nothing down. You do have to have prodigious memory to do that and apparently Lansky did.

The story is told in flashback with an aging Dreyfuss in Israel hoping to settle there the rest of his days exercising the law of return. Politics intervened and he couldn't do it. He has some interesting explanations why.

It ain't exactly history but pretty close. These people fascinate us and will do so for the next century.


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