Cab Driver: That's Bugsy Siegel's house.
Harry Greenberg: He doesn't like that name.
Cab Driver: Everybody calls him that.
Harry Greenberg: Not to his face, they don't.
A great mob story about the Gangster who created Vegas, made in a style that romanticizes this cold-blooded killer.
Warren Beatty is very good as this charismatic gangster. Although Siegel was a murderer with a short temper, he is also shown to be a dreamer and a generally nice person, who falls in love with west coast living.
The movie involves this mob boss coming to California, where he immediately loves the life there, moves into a big mansion, and tries to make it into show business. Siegel eventually gets involves with the two loves of his life, a movie starlet, Virginia Hill played by Annette Bening, and the idea of building a giant, legitimate casino resort setting in the desert city Las Vegas.
Siegel eventually trade's in his marriage for Hill and uses more money than the mob would have possibly wanted on his big casino plan.
During this time we learn of Siegel's ways, I say Siegel and not Bugsy because he would kill anyone who called him that name. We learn of Siegel's desire for great vanity, which includes fixing his hair, his strive for good grammar, and the fixation he has on why the newspapers portray him so harshly.
The film also boasts an impressive supporting cast including Ben Kingsley as fellow mob boss Meyer Lansky, Harvey Keitel, Joe Mantegna, and Elliot Gould in one of his best and saddest roles.
Director Barry Levinson does a great job handling this film, keeping the tone mostly light-hearted, despite some of Siegel's violent rages. It also looks great thanks to the art direction and costume design. And there's a very good score by Ennio Morricone, which is very fitting.
While the story ends in a tragic way from a certain point of view, it still has many humorous moments, and is very entertaining throughout.
The movie has a great supporting cast as well, providing what is needed. It is very stylish and gives a good perspective of how things were/could have been.
Virginia: Do you always talk this much before you do it?
"Bugsy" Siegel: I only talk this much before I kill someone.