Bugsy Malone (1976) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bugsy Malone (1976)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Here's the basic "shtick" of Bugsy Malone: it's a gangster picture enacted by children. Acted out before scaled-down sets, the film details the career of Bugsy Malone (Scott Baio), who rises to the top of the criminal ladder in 1920s New York. Whenever gunfire is called for, the kiddie crooks substitute whipped cream for bullets. Paul Williams contributes several songs, which are performed by adult singers and lip-synched by the pint-sized actors. The cast includes John Cassisi as diminutive Capone clone Fat Sam, and then-13-year-old Jodie Foster as the sultry nightclub thrush Tallulah.
Rating:
G
Genre:
Comedy , Drama , Kids & Family , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Cast

Scott Baio
as Bugsy
Jodie Foster
as Tallulah
Florrie Dugger
as Blousey
John Cassisi
as Fat Sam
Paul Murphy
as Leroy
Martin Lev
as Dandy Dan
Davidson Knight
as Knuckles
Paul Besterman
as Yonkers
Ron Melelu
as Doodle
Jorge Valdez García
as Bronx Charlie
Michael Kirby
as Angelo
Donald Waugh
as Snake Eyes
Jon Zebrowski
as Shoulders
Michael Jackson
as Razamataz
Andrew Paul
as O'Dreary
Helen Corran
as Bangles
John Lee
as Benny Lee
Dexter Fletcher
as Baby Face
Susan Baker
as Dancer
Kevin Reul
as Laughing Boy
Brian Hardy
as Jackson
Bonita Langford
as Lena Marelli
Mark Curry
as Producer
Lynn Aulbaugh
as Louella
Nick Amend
as Barman
John Williams (II)
as Roxy Robinson
Herbert Norville
as Sarsaparilla Man
Louise English
as Ballet Dancer
Kathy Spaulding
as Lorretta
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Bugsy Malone

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (1)

Parker's script is as sharp as a wiseguy's suit, his attention to period and genre detail a constant joy, and he coaxes scarily poised performances from his young performers.

Full Review… | April 18, 2014
Daily Telegraph (UK)

This original concept, a gangster musical spoof with all the roles played by children (Jodie Foster among them), never found its audience, but it's worth checking out.

Full Review… | August 3, 2011
EmanuelLevy.Com

Jodie Foster stars in goofy kid mobster movie.

Full Review… | December 18, 2010
Common Sense Media

The songs and set pieces are still fresh and infectious and most of the child cast are mesmerisingly good. I defy anyone not to be caught up in the charm and nostalgia.

Full Review… | November 30, 2006
Empire Magazine

There's little here that delivers even the bare minimum for a musical or a comedy

Full Review… | April 10, 2006
Filmcritic.com

Pretty goofy idea, but kids will probably be diverted by it.

April 14, 2005
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Audience Reviews for Bugsy Malone

Two rival gangsters battle for turf and a new, strategically important armament during the Prohibition Era -- a cliche if the entire cast weren't children. It's a great idea: children playing the parts of hard-hearted gangsters implies that many of plots of the classic gangster films depend upon adults' childish behavior. The idea spoofs gangster movies perhaps in the way that Prizzi's Honor intended, and making the film a musical only adds to the film's conceit. And the film deals with gangster violence creatively: director Alan Parker couldn't have a child version of Joe Pesci stabbing the hell out of somebody with his mother's kitchen knife without significant ethical problems with the depiction of children and violence. So he had the tommy guns fire cream pies. Genius. And fun. The problem, however, is that the plot falls apart in the second act. Fat Sam is losing his turf war, and he ends up recruiting the lower classes to stockpile his army, but these characters come out of nowhere. Blousey - a character who would've been better played by Jodie Foster - and Bugsy's courtship fails to compel because her rejection of him comes off as entitled and bitchy. Also, the music is all lip syched with the voices provided by adults. This is the beginning of the film dropping its intelligent conceit, a denigration that is made complete during the final shootout. By the end of the film, it has broken all its own rules, and I couldn't help but feel quite disappointed. Overall, it's a great idea, but a great idea can only carry a film so far.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

½

A smartly made musical set at the time of absolute depression. All the cast are children and Bugsy Malone is one of the few films in which child actors I believe should win or at least be nominated for great acting achievment awards.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Good kiddie-gangster-musical flick as what I see is how do we show killing and brutal acts of violence - only bring out the custard pies and cream-firing splurge guns of course! Genius! This is a spoof of gangster films and film noir where all the roles of the gangsters, flappers, bartenders and hitmen are played by child actors at over aged 12. The outstanding presence though is that of post-Taxi Driver Jodie Foster, who swans through the film as showgirl Tallulah looking vastly more experienced and world-wise than her amateur co-stars. Writer-director Alan Parker should be applauded for creating such an accessible tongue-in-cheek take on the topic that usually makes for the murkiest, most un-child-friendly film. Definitely enjoyable for the young and old alike, and perfectly played out in period costume and setting.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Bugsy Malone Quotes

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