Mobsters (film)

Mobsters is a 1991 American crime film directed by Michael Karbelnikoff. It details the creation of The Commission. Set in New York City, taking place from 1917 to 1931, it is a semi-fictitious account of the rise of Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel. The film stars Christian Slater as Luciano, Patrick Dempsey as Lansky, Costas Mandylor as Costello and Richard Grieco as Siegel, with Michael Gambon, Anthony Quinn, Lara Flynn Boyle, and F. Murray Abraham in supporting roles.

Mobsters poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Karbelnikoff
Produced by
Written by
Music byMichael Small
CinematographyLajos Koltai
Edited byJoe Augustine
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • July 26, 1991 (1991-07-26)
Running time
104 minutes
Budget$23 million
Box office$20.2 million[1]


This highly dramatized film focuses primarily on Luciano and Lansky. They start as young men victimized by the current mafia. They rise from petty criminals and bootleggers to push aside the old guard of the Mafia and eventually establish The Commission, which set up the New York Mafia into five separate families. Bugsy Siegel (Richard Grieco) and Frank Costello (Costas Mandylor) control the physical elements of the operation, while Lucky Luciano (Christian Slater) and Meyer Lansky (Patrick Dempsey) bring up the business end.[2]



On Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 6% based on 32 reviews. The website's critics consensus reads: "Despite an abundance of style and some big names, Mobsters can't escape its empty plotting, numbing violence, and Gangster Movie 101 concepts."[3] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[4]

Variety wrote that "Mobsters resembles a cart-before-the-horse case of putting marketing ahead of filmmaking, as the seemingly can't-miss premise of teen-heartthrob gangsters gets lost in self-important direction, a shoddy script and muddled storytelling".[5] According to Roger Ebert, the movie's violence and bloodshed are so far over the top that "they undermine the rest of the film, and approach parody"; he gave it two and a half out of four stars.[citation needed]

Both Anthony Quinn and Christian Slater were nominated for Razzie Awards as Worst Supporting Actor for their performances, but lost to Dan Aykroyd for Nothing But Trouble.

Slater said he was hoping that the film would be like Bugsy but this didn't happen: "Our movie ended up in bits and pieces all over the world," he said. "They had different versions flying to Japan, Europe and every other place. There were extended versions, shortened versions; all kinds of weird versions. In my opinion, audiences never got to see a full film. Somewhere in all that mess, there was a legitimate story. It was there in the script."[6]

Box officeEdit

The film debuted at No. 2 behind Terminator 2: Judgment Day and failed to make a profit.[7]


  1. ^ "Mobsters (1991)". Box Office Mojo. 1991-09-03. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  2. ^ "Mobsters - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. 1991-07-26. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  3. ^ "Mobsters (1991)". Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  4. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Mobsters" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  5. ^ "Review: 'Mobsters'". Variety. December 31, 1990. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Hot Christian Slater enjoys 'Kuffs' role: 'I could just relax and play the character". The Baltimore Sun. January 13, 1992.
  7. ^ DAVID J. FOX (July 30, 1991). "Weekend Box Office: 'Mobsters' Is the Only Solid Opener". Los Angeles Times.

External linksEdit