Bugsy

1991

Bugsy (1991)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Stylishly scattered, Bugsy offers cinematic homage to the infamous underworld legend, chiefly through a magnetic performance from Warren Beatty in the title role.

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Movie Info

Bugsy is a character study of mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel wrapped up in a gangster movie. Siegel (Warren Beatty in a flashy performance) arrives in California in the Forties, assigned to oversee the L.A. rackets. He is quickly seduced by both the glamour of Hollywood and actress Virginia Hill (Annette Bening), whom he romances despite being unable to leave his wife and children. Siegel soon has a vision to transform a barren stretch of Nevada desert into an oasis of gambling and entertainment -- the seeds from which Las Vegas was sown. Funded by his gangster bosses, including Meyer Lansky (Ben Kingsley), the flamboyant Siegel sees his budget soar past its original $6 million, a problem compounded by the fact that Virginia has embezzled $2 million of it. In trouble with his superiors, Siegel flies back to L.A. to face the music, telling Virginia to keep the money. He would not live to see his dream of Las Vegas come true. The film is fast-paced and well-directed by Barry Levinson, with an intelligent script by James Toback and excellent support from Kingsley and Harvey Keitel as gangster Mickey Cohen.

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Cast

Warren Beatty
as Ben Siegel
Annette Bening
as Virginia Hill
Harvey Keitel
as Mickey Cohen
Ben Kingsley
as Meyer Lansky
Elliott Gould
as Harry Greenberg
Joe Mantegna
as George Raft
Bebe Neuwirth
as Countess di Frasso
Wendy Phillips
as Esta Siegel
Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi
as Count di Frasso
Stefanie Mason
as Millicent Siegel
Kimberly McCullough
as Barbara Siegel
Andy Romano
as Del Webb
Robert Beltran
as Alejandro
Bill Graham
as Charlie Luciano
Lewis Van Bergen
as Joey Adonis
James Toback
as Gus Greenbaum
Don Carrara
as Vito Genovese
Albina Boccicchio
as Ciro's Singer
Carmine Caridi
as Frank Costello
Don Calfa
as Louie Dragna
Bryan Smith
as Chick Hill
Ray McKinnon
as David Hinton
Eric Christmas
as Ronald the Butler
Joe Baker
as Lawrence Tibbett
John C. Moskoff
as Sulka's Salesman
Ralph Tabakin
as Elevator Operator
Debrah Farentino
as Girl in Elevator
John Moskoff
as Sulka's Salesman
Anthony Russell
as Jerry the Bookie
Wendie Malick
as Woman on Train
DeVera Marcus
as Fan at Train Station
Ksenia Prohaska
as Marlene Dietrich
Peter Giuliano
as `Manpower' Assistant Director
Paul Austin Kelly
as `Manpower' Maitre d'
Michael Kenner
as `Manpower' Clapper Boy
Bruce E. Morrow
as District Attorney McWilde
Clive Rosengren
as Deputy District Attorney Hartman
Gary McGurk
as Tony the Waiter
Bruce Morrow
as District Attorney McWilde
Gerard Joseph McKenna
as Ciro's Photographer
Paul Roache
as Taxi Driver
Tommy Townsend
as Federal Marshal
Steven D. Maines
as Federal Marshal
Traci Lind
as Natalie St. Clair
David H. Hebble
as Cadillac Driver
Michael Sollenberger
as Bond Rally Speaker
Jamie Angell
as Courthouse Guard
Julie Christensen
as Ciro's Singer
Susan Rumor
as Ciro's Singer
Lloyd Baskin
as Ciro's Singer
Hal Melia
as Ciro's Singer
Fred Lehto
as Ciro's Singer
Kal David
as Ciro's Singer
Albina Bocchicchio
as Ciro's Singer
Cathleen Crone
as Ciro's Singer
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Critic Reviews for Bugsy

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (16)

From James Toback's crackling script to Warren Beatty's electric performance as gangster Ben Siegel, Bugsy is so engrossing that you feel uncharitable mentioning that while splendid in individual scenes, Barry Levinson's movie lacks propulsion.

Oct 29, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

What finally distinguishes Bugsy from other mob movies is its ever-present sense of the absurd.

Oct 29, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Insouciant and flashy, co-producer Beatty is at his best when evoking the narcissistic, show-business side of Siegel.

Oct 29, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A great deal of the fun of watching this very assured film is seeing with what energetic panache the actor takes on the mantle of the mobster J. Edgar Hoover once called "the most dangerous man in America."

Oct 29, 2014 | Full Review…

The picture belongs, in every sense of the word, to Beatty.

Oct 29, 2014 | Full Review…

Most actors give more contained performances as they get older or else they risk self-parody. Beatty, who has always seemed larger than life, gets even larger with age -- and on him it looks good.

Oct 29, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bugsy

½

A true American classic. A masterpiece, plain and simple. One of the most entertaining and exhilerating gangster films ever made. A bold, stylish and remarkable portrait of a criminal. Director, Barry Levinson crafts an astonshing piece of work that will be remembered for years. It`s slick, thrilling, funny and wildly entertaining. A spectacular movie. A tremendouse all-star cast. Warren Betty is absolutely incrediable, he gives one of the greatest performances of his career, he gives a harsh, violent, charming and senational prtrayel. Annette Bening is wonderful. Bening and Betty set the screen ablaze with their thrilling chemistry. Ben Kingsley is brilliant. Harvey Keitel is excellent. Joe Mantegna is terrific.

Al S
Al S

Super Reviewer

Stylistically impressive but overlong portrait of the famous gangster. The supporting roles are filled with great actors doing fine work but the film rests on Beatty's performance and for the most part he delivers. As most biopics do this one plays with the facts but still tells an interesting story that's well directed it just could have used a little pruning.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

½

Warren Beatty as a vain egotistical, self-centered, womanizer? Hmmmm...

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

½

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. [they kiss]

Aaron Neuwirth
Aaron Neuwirth

Super Reviewer

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