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Bugsy Malone Film Review

Updated on January 14, 2018

About the film

Set in New York in the 1920's and 30's, this film is unique in the fact that the cast are all children, generally around the age of 12 years old. It is very loosely based on the prohibition era when booze was banned and you had the gangs. The film begins with Roxy Robinson being chased through the streets of New York by a rival gang. When asked if he works for Fat Sam, they shoot him with their all new splurge guns.

Fat Sam runs Fat Sam's Speakeasy and he is worried that his rival, Dandy Dan, is trying to take control of his speakeasy. When Sam is in meeting with his gang, Blousey Brown knocks on the door asking to see Sam. She wants to become a dancer in the club and asks for an audition. But he doesn't have the time and shoo's her away. This is when she meets Bugsy Malone, and as she drops her suitcase, he helps her picks her things up and becomes smitten with her. It is during one of Fat Sams shows, aptly named Fat Sam's Grand Slam, that Dandy Dan's gang raid the club and start firing their splurge guns at everyone. After a number of attacks on Sams gang, he tries to locate where the guns are and finds they are hidden in a laundrette. So, throughout the film we see these 2 rival gangs at war and these kids trying to display their manhood by way of shooting cream at each other out of a gun and take control.

As a sideline, we also have the romance between Bugsy and Blousey. Tallulah, played by Jodie Foster, is the main act and singer on the stage, and is also an old flame of Bugsys. It is when Blousey walks in the room that Tallulah plants a kiss on Bugsys cheek, causing tension between Bugsy and Blousey. Tallulah is a bold, brassy young lady and don't take no mess from no-one, even Fat Sam. It is quite comical seeing these young kids acting so adult like in a crime ridden time with gangsters and splurge guns that fire cream.

Throughout the film we see how these 2 gangs compete for power and how they fight it out. Dandy Dan, although a gangster, is very different to Fat Sam as he rides his horses, plays polo and listens to a live orchestra as he is having his hair trimmed. But both gangsters and their men are dangerous and in a war for power. With this being a musical, there is also plenty of music and songs throughout the film, which I personally enjoy.

Songs in the film

  • Bugsy Malone
  • Fat Sam's Grand Slam
  • Tomorrow
  • Bad Guys
  • I'm Feeling Fine
  • My Name is Tallulah
  • So You Wanna Be Boxer
  • Ordinary Fool
  • Down and Out
  • You Give a Little Love


My Thoughts

I've seen this film many times over the years, and still enjoy watching it. Although I have it on DVD, I still watch it when it comes on the telly. Though it's generally on TV over the Christmas period. Although this film is made up entirely of children, I think they do a very good job of playing adult roles. Clearly Jodie Foster plays her part of Tallulah well, and comes across on screen as a confident young lady.

The storyline itself was very good. Though there's a lot of clichéd moments when it comes to the sterotypical roles of gangsters, ie, the lifestyles of the gangsters, the cars they drove and the pretty girlfriends etc, I still think it's an excellently made film. I particularly love the cars they drive. The cars are delightful and are typical for the era. The only difference with these cars are that they are peddled. It's wonderful to see these kids peddling them along. And of course there's the splurge guns which fire out cream. There are some funny scenes in the film with these guns!


The cast of Bugsy Malone

Jodie Foster
Scott Baio
John Cassisi
Fat Sam
Florrie Dugger
Sheridan Russell
Martin Lev
Dandy Dan

The Special Features on the DVD

  • Director's commentary by Alan Parker - promotional trailers.
  • Character biographies - Photo gallery
  • Art gallery - 'From sketch to screen' feature
  • Trivia notes - Exclusive 12 page booklet written by Alan Parker.

Just to note that the DVD I got is a special edition. Although I've had the DVD for some years now, it still plays well, which I'm glad of as I still enjoy watching the film!

Bugsy Malone Trailer

© 2018 Louise Powles


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    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      24 months ago from U.S.A.

      Superb review, Louise. I recall this movie with fond memories. Foster was fabulous and the rest of the cast was stellar. Thanks for a wonderful article that took me back to my childhood and I'll be watching it again.



    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Thanks Frank. This is one of my favourite films. =)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      2 years ago from Shelton

      wow, what memories this film stirred in me just now.. I loved that film, Foster was fantastic... the acting was so good for a bunch of youngsters.. thanks for sharing your review

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Yes, I love Jodie Foster singing My Name is Tallulah. Great song that is.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      2 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I enjoyed this film a lot when I first watched it in the ‘70s!

      It was just amusing to watch a gangster movie with kids in the cast.

      I loved the young Scott Baio as Bugsy! And Jodie Foster’s “My Name is Tallulah” scene was most memorable to me.

      I have downloaded this movie and included it in my home video library.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I remember the first time I watched this, I loved it! Excellent review.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Oh I'm not sure of any other film where the entire cast are children, but I'm sure there must be, I don't honestly know. Yes, I love Bugsy Malone, it's a classic.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      2 years ago

      Another great review. I told my wife and both of us are looking forward to seeing it. I love the creativity. Are there any other movies where the kids act like adults ? Was this the first movie to do this? Have a pleasant night.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      2 years ago from Tennessee

      I've heard of this movie but never seen it and had no idea all the characters were played by children. I'd especially like to see Jodie Foster in this role. Thanks for the review.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Yes I agree, with children playing the part, it does have to be cliched. Thankyou for reading. =)

    • Lauren Flauding profile image

      Lauren Flauding 

      2 years ago from Sahuarita, AZ

      I agree about the cliches of the stereotypes of gangsters, but when they’re played by children, they kind of have to be! Love this movie. Your review makes me want to watch it again.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the review. At least, when I hear the name of the movie, I'll have some information about its content. Would also like to watch this one.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Ooh really? I used to love watching Diagnosis Murder. I love Scott Baio. I bet that was an interesting job.

    • Dean Traylor profile image

      Dean Traylor 

      2 years ago from Southern California/Spokane, Washington (long story)

      I remember seeing this film when I was a kid. Hard for to grasp that the two leads are now over 50. Here's something interesting, back in 1994, I worked on the set of Diagnosis Murder with Scott Baio.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'm very glad that I read this article. I've heard of the Bugsy Malone film but didn't know that the characters were children. I'm looking forward to seeing the film now that I've read your review.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Oh it's a classic. Yes, it's amazing seeing Jodie Foster especially such a young girl in it, considering the amazing career she has now.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      I had no idea this was made with children. Now I'll have to see it. Thanks for the head's up!

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Oh I love it. Yes, watch it. I think you'll enjoy it. =)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      2 years ago from the beautiful south

      Have heard about this plenty too in the past, but no personal knowledge. Thanks for the info.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      I’ve never seen this but have heard of it. I sure didn’t know the entire cast was kids. Thanks for reviewing it.

    • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Thankyou Skyron. Blessings to you too.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      I am going to have to see this, it sounds great.

      Blessings my friend


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