“Not the sarsaparilla racket!”
During a rival gang war in Depression-era Chicago, Bugsy Malone (Scott Baio) is recruited by mob boss “Fat Sam” (John Cassisi).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Alan Parker Films
- Depression Era
- Jodie Foster Films
- Satires and Spoofs
Response to Peary’s Review:
It’s easy to understand why, as noted by Peary, “opinion is sharply divided” on this “comical Depression Era gangster musical”, populated solely by kids — it’s a truly bizarre venture which, unfortunately, I don’t think quite works. Writer/director Alan Parker replaces bullets with cream pies (a clever twist), but is otherwise inconsistent in his use of child actors: if they’re meant to be “just kids”, then why does pre-pubescent crime boss Dandy Dan (Martin Lev) wear a pencil-thin mustache? Although I understand Parker’s satirical point that gangsters often act in a child-like fashion, these kids aren’t childlike — they’re mini-adults! The production values are fine, but most of the performances are unimpressive (Jodie Foster is a notable exception), and the majority of the songs are unmemorable. Nonetheless, this film is beloved by many — primarily those who fondly remember watching it as children themselves; and, as a kids’ film, perhaps it works.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Jodie Foster as Tallulah
- John Cassisi as “Fat Sam”
- Foster singing “My Name is Tallulah”
- The silly yet amusing use of cream pies as “deadly” weapons
No, but it’s recommended for its historical notoriety, for Foster’s (too brief) performance, and as a cult film for adults who remember watching it as kids.