Billy Bathgate 1991 R CC

Amazon Instant Video

(32) IMDb 5.9/10
Available in HD

The rise and fall of notorious mobster Dutch Schultz as seen through the eyes of his young protégé. Will the power, money and glamour of crime prove to be the ultimate seduction?

Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman
1 hour 47 minutes

Available in HD on supported devices.

Billy Bathgate

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Action
Director Robert Benton
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman
Supporting actors Loren Dean, Bruce Willis, Steven Hill, Steve Buscemi, Billy Jaye, John Costelloe, Timothy Jerome, Stanley Tucci, Mike Starr, Robert F. Colesberry, Stephen Joyce, Frances Conroy, Moira Kelly, Kevin Corrigan, Noel Derecki, Josh Philip Weinstein, Danny Zorn, Rob Kramer
Studio Touchstone Pictures
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Horner on July 5, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
"Billy Bathgate" had the misfortune to be released the year after "Goodfellas", Scorsese's great gangster film which revived interest in the genre. True, "Billy Bathgate" is also about gangsters, but if you know the works of its director, Robert Benton, and those of Scorsese, you know they are not similar directors at all. While both men are fascinated by interesting characters, Benton is more intellectual and less visceral. Even in his most famous early screenplay, "Bonnie and Clyde", the characters spend a surprising amount of time sitting around and talking prior to the movie's infamous and violent climax. So, "Billy Bathgate" does not provide as much action or as many gut level situations as a typical gangster film. What is has is great atmosphere, a literate script by Tom Stoppard, brilliant cinematography by Nestor Almendros, and some interesting performances.
Billy [Loren Dean] is a bright kid growing up in New York in the 1930s. The son of impoverished immigrants, he is getting most of his education in the streets. In his neighborhood, the heroes are gangsters like Dutch Shultz [Dustin Hoffman] and his men because they represent a way to climb out of poverty and to earn respect. One day Billy catches Shultz's eye and is soon working for him. The kid's not violent but he witnesses many acts of violence. These obviously unnerve him, but the lure of a fast buck is strong. Things get complicated when he is put in charge of looking after a rich society dame [Nicole Kidman], who has a sham marriage to a gay but powerful New Yorker. She gets her kicks by dating gangsters. She's in terrible danger because of something she saw, but she doesn't seem to be aware of it, though Billy is. He's also aware that she's the most beautiful and desirable woman he's ever met.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Fred Gress on July 12, 2002
Format: DVD
"Billy Bathgate" charts the seemingly charmed path of a resourceful street kid (Loren Dean) who latches on to the Dutch Shultz gang in Dewey-era New York City. Shultz (Dustin Hoffman) has a gang which has seen the zenith of its power; its fighting to hold his place in a world where Irish and Italian politicians and mobsters are on the ascendancy.
The movie opens with an initial act of betrayal, and the moll (Nicole Kidman) is thrust upon both the man and the boy. The movie is blessed with strong performances by secondary characters played by Steven Hill, Steve Buscemi, Stanley Tucci, Bruce Willis, and a number of other actors whose faces you know but might not be able to name.

Since seeing this movie originally at the theatre and several times on cable tv, I've wondered why it didn't have a bigger following. I'll offer up a few reasons, all of which may explain why a great and touching movie is under-appreciated. First, the ostensible lead character--Loren Dean's Billy--is not really the lead character, he's the witness (and possible catalyst) to the arc of the Shultz gang; Mr Dean, who's turned out to be a terrific and underutilized character actor, alas, does not seemed to have had the kind of star power to give the movie a higher profile. The film's erstwhile "star", Dustin Hoffman, plays a character that doesn't have the dominating screen time to make this his story or the film Hoffman's. Finally, the film doesn't really follow the standard arc of a Hollywood hero's journey: the Shultz gang is on the decline, and its not clear that the boy is on the ascent.

This is a quieter version of Mob-America and yet to me otherwise like the Godfather not a single frame is wasted, and the direction is flawless. I hope you like it.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer on June 26, 2005
Format: DVD
Based on IMDb, I'm evidently one of the few people, critics or public, who likes this movie. It's got some flaws, but on balance I think it tells an intriguing story, has a great look and features some first class performances. It also, admitedly, comes to a slow walk in the last third of the movie and only barely recovers.

Billy Bathgate (Loren Dean) is a young kid, not quite a punk, who is ambitious and wants to make money. The easiest way is to become a gangster, and he figures out a way to be noticed by Dutch Schultz (Dustin Hoffman). The movie is told from Billy's perspective, but it's dominated by Schultz's cunning, violence and loss of power. Dutch Schultz controls the numbers racket, liquor and gambling. He has judges in his pocket with bribes. He has never had anything pinned on him, but now he's facing a tax evasion rap. He moves upstate to find a friendly jury. Although he beats the rap, the prosecutors won't stop coming at him. And more and more of his fellow sharks are circling closer as they realize that one way or another Schultz is becoming history. When he loses the confidence of Lucky Lucciano, his career comes to a violent halt. Billy survives, barely.

Hoffman, in my view, gives a fine performance of a cunning, uneducated, suspicious and violent gangster. Schultz's way of dealing with a problem is to eliminate it as directly as possible. He's unpredictable; he may pat your face one minute and put a bullet through your open mouth the next. Steven Hill as Otto Berman, Schultz' long time operations manager and money man, gives an outstanding performance. Berman is getting a little old and tired, but he remains loyal to Schultz. Make no mistake; he's just as much a crook as Schultz. He develops a liking for Billy that saves Billy's life.
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