Directed by Barry Levinson
Produced by Barry Levinson, Warren Beatty, Mark Johnson
Written by Dean Jennings (Book), James Toback
Starring Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould, Bebe Neuwirth, Bill Graham
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Allen Daviau
Editing by Stu Linder, Christopher Holmes (Extended)
Studio Baltimore Pictures
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) December 13, 1991 (Limited) December 20, 1991
Running time Theatrical cut: 137 minutesExtended cut: 150 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $30 million[1]
Gross revenue $49,114,016[2]


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Theatrical release poster

Bugsy is a 1991 American crime-drama film which tells the story of mobster Bugsy Siegel. It stars Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould, Joe Mantegna, Bebe Neuwirth, and Bill Graham.The movie was written by James Toback from research material by Dean Jennings (1967 book We only Kill Each Other). It was directed by Barry Levinson.


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Gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel (Warren Beatty), who works for the New York mob, goes to California and instantly falls in love with Virginia Hill (Annette Bening), a Hollywood starlet. He buys a house at Beverly Hills, planning to stay while his wife and two daughters remain in the New York suburb of Scarsdale.

On a trip to Nevada he comes up with the idea for a casino in the desert. He enlists the help of gangster Mickey Cohen (Harvey Keitel) and acquires funding from head mobster Meyer Lansky (Ben Kingsley) and other New York mobsters who approve the deal for $1 million. Bugsy puts Virginia in charge of accounting and begins construction of the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, but has no sense of control and the budget soon rises to $6 million. Bugsy tries everything to ensure it gets made, even selling his share of the casino and most of his belongings.

Upset about the costs, the fact that the casino is a failure, and that $2 million of the budget is unaccounted for, Meyer Lansky asks Bugsy to meet him in Los Angeles. Bugsy discovers that Virginia stole the money but tells her to "keep it and save it for a rainy day" rather than return it. He then calls Lansky and tells him never to sell his share of the casino and that he'll live to thank him someday.

While in his home back in L.A. later that night, Bugsy is killed by several gunshots (presumably from an assassin hired by Lansky or one of the other mobsters). Virginia is told the news back in Las Vegas and becomes upset, rushing out of the casino. The final text before the credits states that she returned the missing money a week later and committed suicide at some point after that. It also states that by 1991 (the film's release year) the $6 million invested in Bugsy's dream of Las Vegas had generated revenues of over $100 billion.


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  • Warren Beatty as Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel
  • Annette Bening as Virginia Hill
  • Harvey Keitel as Mickey Cohen
  • Ben Kingsley as Meyer Lansky
  • Elliott Gould as Harry Greenberg
  • Bebe Neuwirth as Countess di Frasso
  • Bill Graham as Charlie "Lucky" Luciano
  • Joe Mantegna as George Raft
  • Richard C. Sarafian as Jack Dragna
  • Giancarlo Scandiuzzi as Count di Frasso
  • Wendy Phillips as Esta Siegel
  • Ksenia Prohaska as Marlene Dietrich


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Bugsy won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Costume Design. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Warren Beatty), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Harvey Keitel), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ben Kingsley), Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Music, Original Score, Best Picture and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. It received eight (8) Golden Globe nominations and won for Best Picture - Drama. The Silence of the Lambs won many categories where Bugsy received nominations in 1991. The film was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival.


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Despite its good reviews, Bugsy faced criticism over its portrayal of Siegel. The film omits Siegel's long history of violent crime, including rape and murder, and glosses over his infamously short temper. It also shows Siegel closing the Flamingo at Christmas of 1946 for improvements and being murdered that night alone at Virginia Hill's house holding a newspaper and watching a projection of himself reading movie lines as Hill leaves for Paris. While Siegel did close the hotel that day, his murder and Hill's leaving did not take place until six months later in June 1947. Furthermore, he was with his associate, Allen Smiley, reading a newspaper on the sofa, not watching himself on a home movie screen.

The film also completely ignores the role of William Wilkerson ('The Man Who Built Las Vegas') in the building of the Flamingo; Siegel is shown gazing over an empty desert and deciding to build the Flamingo, but the hotel was conceived and constructed wholly by Wilkerson — Siegel only became involved as it neared completion (Wilkerson owned 48% of the Flamingo until selling out much later).

Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugsy

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