Bugsy is a 1991 American crime drama film directed by Barry Levinson which tells the story of mobster Bugsy Siegel and his relationship with Virginia Hill. It stars Warren Beatty as Siegel and Annette Bening as Hill. The screenplay was written by James Toback from research material by Dean Jennings' 1967 book We Only Kill Each Other.
The film received acclaim from critics, including Roger Ebert, and was nominated for ten Academy Awards, winning two for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Costume Design.
A director's cut was released on DVD, containing an additional 13 minutes not seen in the theatrical version.
Gangster Bugsy Siegel, who works for Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano, goes to Los Angeles and instantly falls in love with Virginia Hill, a tough-talking Hollywood starlet. The two meet for the first time when Bugsy visits actor George Raft on a film set. He buys a house in Beverly Hills, planning to stay there while his wife and two daughters remain in Scarsdale.
Bugsy is in California to wrestle control of betting parlors away from gangster Jack Dragna. Mickey Cohen robs Dragna's operation one day. He is confronted by Bugsy, who decides he should be in business with the guy who committed the robbery, not the guy who got robbed. Cohen is put in charge of the betting casinos; Dragna is forced to admit to a raging Bugsy that he stole $14,000, and is told he now answers to Cohen.
After arguments about Virginia's trysts with drummer Gene Krupa and a variety of bullfighters and Siegel's reluctance to get a divorce, Virginia makes a romantic move on Bugsy. On a trip to Nevada to visit a gambling joint, Bugsy comes up with the idea for a hotel and casino in the desert. He obtains $1 million in funding from lifelong friend Lansky and other New York mobsters, reminding them that in Nevada, gambling is legal.
Virginia wants no part of it until Bugsy puts her in charge of accounting and begins construction of the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, but the budget soon soars to $6 million due to his extravagance. Bugsy tries everything to ensure it gets completed, even selling his share of the casino.
Bugsy is visited in Los Angeles by former associate Harry Greenberg. Harry has betrayed his old associates to save himself. He has also run out of money, from a combination of his gambling habits and being extorted by prosecutors who want his testimony. Though he is Harry's trusted friend, Bugsy has no choice but to kill him. He is arrested for the murder, but the only witness is a cab driver who dropped Harry off in front of Bugsy's house. The driver is paid to leave town.
Lansky is waiting for Bugsy outside the jail. He gives a satchel of money to his friend. "Charlie doesn't have to know about it," he tells Bugsy, but warns, "I can't protect you anymore." The Flamingo's opening night is a total failure, and $2 million of the budget is unaccounted for, whereupon Bugsy discovers that Virginia stole the money. He tells her to "keep it and save it for a rainy day." He then tells Lansky never to sell his share of the casino because he will live to thank him someday.
Later that night, Bugsy is shot and killed in his home. Virginia is told the news in Las Vegas and knows her own days could be numbered.
- Warren Beatty as Bugsy 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
- Bill Graham as Lucky Luciano
- Lewis Van Bergen as Joe Adonis
- Richard C. Sarafian as Jack Dragna
- Lewis Van Bergen as Joe Adonis
- Don Carrara as Vito Genovese
- Carmine Caridi as Frank Costello
- Wendy Phillips as Esta Siegel
- Giancarlo Scandiuzzi as Count di Frasso
- Bebe Neuwirth as Countess di Frasso