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Bugsy Malone Film Review
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
- 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
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
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
Bugsy Malone DVD
© 2018 Louise Powles