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Three poor ghetto kids in turn-of-the-century New York City grow up to become feared gangsters.

Writer:

Richard DeKoker
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Nouri ... Charles "Lucky" Luciano
Brian Benben ... Michael Lasker
Joe Penny ... Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel
Richard S. Castellano ... Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria
Louis Giambalvo ... Al Capone
George DiCenzo ... Arnold Rothstein
Joseph Mascolo ... Salvatore Maranzano
Jonathan Banks ... Dutch Schultz
Robert F. Lyons ... Legs Diamond
Markie Post ... Chris Brennan
Chad Redding Chad Redding ... Joy Olser
Madeleine Stowe ... Ruth Lasker
Robert John Burke ... Officer Reardon
Robert Davi ... Vito Genovese
Jon Polito ... Thomas "Three Fingers Brown" Lucchese
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Storyline

Three poor ghetto kids in turn-of-the-century New York City grow up to become feared gangsters.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 1981 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Guerra de gangsters See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Second of only two cinema movies to feature the real-life character of mobster Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. The first being Lepke (1975). See more »

Connections

Edited from The Gangster Chronicles (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very poor editing
6 July 2008 | by madison-moosieSee all my reviews

This film was edited from at least a dozen episodes of a TV series. At the time of the series there was a public outcry in the USA because the makers 'glamorised' the subject. There was also the express intent advertised by the family of Meyer Lansky to sue the makers. You would never think so from this adaptation which, one assumes, must be the point of it.

By today's standards, due to the visual 'shorthand' now developed, the plot pace would appear slow but because the 'structure' of the story has mostly been lost in the cutting the viewer, who has no factual knowledge of the life & times of the gangsters depicted, won't know how the links organically developed between the many 'careers' presented. This condensation has produced a very disjointed and skewed picture of what these actually were.

The TV presentation was certainly glamorous; but the 1920's and early 30's was that kind of period with often stunning clothing for both men and women. It was faithful to it and, as the histories of the people involved have become more widely documented, to those also. The ragged and tattered remnants of the original series show more than anything else the duplicity, amorality and violence these people were capable of. Enough there to satisfy any lobbying crusaders against moral depravity.

What the film does however, is to massacre, to leach, the joi de vivre and the sheer enjoyment of the period out of the TV series and give the public a turgid, colourless product. Yes, these are bad people; their way of lifting themselves out of the gutter often despicable but why is it wrong they never loved, laughed or enjoyed themselves. Did they also stop being human and become one dimensionally wicked as depicted in the film? Perhaps it was impossible to edit the TV series into anything other than this improbable rendering in the running time they allowed themselves; being charitable this assumes the people responsible actually had some talent. In the event they should have left well alone.


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