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Product Details

  • Actors: Eric Roberts, Illeana Douglas, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Lapaglia Richard Dreyfuss
  • Directors: John Mcnaughton
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: HBO
  • DVD Release Date: August 23, 2012
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JGHJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,749 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lansky" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A new version of an old story - the great American dream. LANSKY tells of a young emigrant's rise from poverty to riches through hard-edged business sense ... and a ruthless ability to murder anyone who gets in his way. Richard Dreyfuss is LANSKY - the man who organized organized crime.

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Meyer Lansky, along with Bugsy Siegel and Lucky Luciano, helped mold organized crime in America into "the Syndicate," a business run as efficiently and ruthlessly as any corporation. Richard Dreyfuss plays Lansky (as do Max Perlich and Ryan Merriman). Starting out with Lansky as an aging, ill, cranky man taking refuge in Israel, the film tells his life in a series of flashbacks, starting out as a young Jewish tough trying to hold his own against Irish gangs in New York. Lansky and his associates climb the ladder of crime over the years, turning Las Vegas from a quiet desert town into a swank gambling hot spot, eliminating any rogue elements or competition that could hurt the cause. Senator Estes Kefauver came along to put a dent in the Mob's activities by the l950s, but Lansky and company came through fairly unscathed. With direction by John McNaughton and a pungent David Mamet screenplay, this should be top-drawer stuff, but, oddly, it comes across as only average. The movie's chronological structure, jumping back and forth in time, becomes a little confusing, then irritating. Three actors playing the same man over the years make it a bit difficult to nail down his real essence, while several other characters are barely more than window dressing. Also, the Judaism of Lansky, Siegel, Rosen, and Rothstein is given short shrift in the story. With tighter editing and firmer direction, Lansky could have been very good, but as is, it's just what it is: a made-for-cable biopic. --Jerry Renshaw

Customer Reviews

This film is a waste.
James J. Varela
He may not be an American hero, but Lansky cannot be ignored if you truly desire to comprehend the difficulties of many to assimilate into our national culture.
David Thomson
The truth is that he was a murderer and did far more harm than just helping organized crime with his "financial Wisdom".
Kendall L. Martin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David Thomson on August 19, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The overall production quality of "Lansky" is barely adequate. This HBO TV special comes across as a film made under severe time and financial constraints. Nonetheless, the acting talent of Richard Dreyfuss is utterly fantastic. The now middle-aged star gives a performance that ranks among his very best. Dreyfuss clearly understands this low keyed Jewish gangster who lead much of American organized crime in the previous century. The character actor Max Perlich also does a splendid job of portraying Lansky during his earlier years. Perlich is a skillful thespian who deserves greater respect and attention. He ought to have received at least an Academy Award nomination for his splendid supporting work in "Rush."
Meyer Lansky was something of a highly intelligent mob boss who essentially perceived himself as a misunderstood polite business man; neither better nor worse than the titans of that era's capitalist business organizations. Lansky rationalizations conveniently ignored the fact that murder and other forms of violence are not everyday realities of conventional American capitalism. Lansky, though, was probably correct to conclude that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Senator Estes Kefauver hounded him mostly out of less than noble reasons.
"Lansky" accurately depicts the Jewish gangsters as far more intelligent than those generally found in other ethnic groups. Also, the Meyer Lanskys, "Bugsy" Siegels, and Alfred Rothsteins were the only generation of that ethnic tradition that chose careers in organized crime. Their progeny did not follow in their father's footsteps! Meyer Lansky, for instance, made sure that his own son attended West Point and became a U.S. military officer. "Lansky" earns four stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Inger Watts on February 20, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
I found the film interesting because it portrays a mafia boss of another origin than those I have seen in other movies. Lansky is a Jew of Russian origin. This is during the pogroms in Russia, and Meyer's parents decide to escape when the rabbi is being killed while the mob put houses on fire. The Lansky family emigrates to the USA.

It is here Lansky meet up with other children in one of the ghettos where immigrants live. It starts with gambling among children, and gradually it goes from there to big crime.

I found the film interesting, and mainly so because I find Lansky's story a bit different than most other Mafia films I have seen. Lansky was not of Italian descent (on the contrary to other people I have seen portrayed), and he seemed quieter than other Mafia characters in films.

Still, in this movie it is obvious that he is intelligent and one of the leaders of the cartel.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Chieck Kongo on October 28, 2004
Format: DVD
The price reflects the quality of this film. Too many things are wrong with this movie to name. First of all, the script is HORRID, and most of the acting is HORRID, its very boring. Secondly, the actor looks nothing like Lansky. The best part of the movie was the beginning when they showed Meyer and Bugsy as kids. It was all downhill from there. I recommend the BONANNO movie instead of this crap, THAT even had more details and interesting bit about Lansky than this flick.
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Format: DVD
For nearly six decades, Meyer Lansky was the brains behind the mafia, and is credited for their rise to power in Las Vegas. While being one of the more interesting criminals to ever live, his role was mainly behind the scenes and the film about his life turned out to be much less interesting than the man himself. Meyer Lansky (Richard Dreyfuss) was a Europen Jew, who fled to America in the early 20th century. Living on the streets of New York, he quickly fell in with the wrong people and started laundering money and bootlegging alcohol for some of New York's biggest gangsters. Lansky along with Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Siegel, formed one of the most profitable organizations in the history of the Mob, and are credited as the first group to officially be refereed to as organized crime. I've always loved mafia movies and did genuinely want to learn more about Meyer Lansky, but the truth is, what he did really wasn't that interesting. He wasn't a boss, he wasn't a hitman, he was basically an accountant, trying to make money for all kinds of nasty people. The film was basically a behind the scenes look at the mob and I found it to be very long and boring. Reclusive veteran, Richard Dreyfuss, takes on the role of Lansky and fits the character like a glove. Dreyfuss even mirrored Lansky's mannerisms and was really very good. From an artistic stand point, Lansky was worth watching, as Dreyfuss wasn't the only one to turn in a powerhouse performance. I went into this film looking for an intense, fast-paced thriller, but what I got was more like some documentary on the mob, that put me to sleep. Everything was as it should be for an epic drama, but the truth is, the man they chose to feature, just wasn't the type of guy that needed to have a film made about his life.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I've been waiting for a new gangster movie that has some class to it. Unlike these past few movies where there is nothing but crack sells up in the projects. This movie shows the life of a real La Coasta boss who took a great part in the history of the Mob. I recommend this movie to any body who knows what the MOB is about!
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