The story of how Bugsy Siegel started Las Vegas.
Release Year: 1991
Rating: 6.8/10 (12,479 voted)
Stars: Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel
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.
Writers: James Toback, Dean Jennings
Richard C. Sarafian
(as Richard Sarafian)
Countess di Frasso
Count di Frasso
Glamour Was The Disguise.
Release Date: 20 December 1991
Filming Locations: 425 S Plymouth Blvd, Los Angeles, California, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $140,358
(15 December 1991)
Did You Know?
While the film suggests that Bugsy Siegel and Virginia Hill first meet on the movie set, they had actually met several years earlier in real life. At the time, Hill was dating Joe Adonis (portrayed as Joey A. by Lewis Van Bergen in this film) when she and Bugsy had an affair, thus explaining the animosity Bugsy and Joey have for one another throughout the film.
After Bugsy's house has been sold to finance the Flamingo Club, he takes another look at his "screen test". He's at Virginia Hill's mansion, but he looks at the film in the projection room of his old house.
Hey, this conversation is beneath me.
A fascinating portrait of a superficial man
In his career as a mobster, Benjamin Siegel acquired the nickname Bugsy, a
name he detested. Barry Levinson's 1991 film, "Bugsy," never explains how
Siegel came to be known as Bugsy, but it does portray his annoyance at being
addressed as such. Several folks get their faces smashed after using the
offending title, but though Bugsy, er Ben Siegel, is not above violence, he
is more concerned with self-improvement. He repeats non-sensical phrases
meant to improve his diction, and applies cold creme to his face and
cucumber slices to his eyelids to promote a more youthful appearance. And,
who knows, like his buddy George Raft, Bugsy, er Ben, thinks that maybe he
has what it takes to be a movie star.
Whether it's meant to report the truth or simply to inflate the legend,
"Bugsy," named best picture of 1991 by the Los Angeles Film Critics
Association, is a fascinating portrait of a superficial man, one for whom
money was "dirty paper" that could be acquired as easily as it could be
spent, and mug shots were shameful only if they didn't show off a tan. As
played by Warren Beatty, Siegel's preoccupation with glamour and general
politeness come across more effectively than his occasional brutality, but
Beatty finds a proper fit all the same. Also effective is Ben Kingsley as
Meyer Lansky, Annette Bening as Virginia Hill, the woman for whom Siegel
falls hard, Elliott Gould as a dim-witted and ill-fated friend, and, above
all else, Harvey Keitel as Mickey Cohen. Less impressive is Joe Mantegna,
miscast as George Raft. Mantegna is too soft in both voice and appearance
to accurately convey the street origins of the silver screen's coin flipping
tough guy, but this otherwise fine actor's poorly etched portrayal is too
minor a flaw to damage the movie.
Like Hitler, Siegel's insecurities led him to build monuments to his own
ego, as if intent on finding some kind of immortality. For Siegel, the
monument was the Flamingo Hotel in the barren Nevada desert. Siegel's
vision ultimately led to his death at the hands of his financiers who were
enraged at the escalating costs of his oasis in the desert, but it also, if
the film is to be believed, led to the birth of the gambling and
entertainment capital that Las Vegas would become. There are those who
challenge this view, but, fantasy or fact, "Bugsy" is top-notch