Gangster Movies: (ca 1991) Based loosely on the organized crime syndicates of the 20’s and 30’s, Billy Bathgate is the story of a young man’s rise from gopher to right hand man in Dutch Schultz’ gang. Having been impressed by the youth, Schultz takes him under his wing, educating him on the finer points of extortion, murder and racketeering, and general gang life in the 30’s. Billy soon finds himself in a world where wealth and fortune live next door to danger and death and he must risk all to save the woman he loves.
This film features a phenomenal cast, including the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman, Loren Dean, Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi, and Stanley Tucci. Nicole Kidman is particularly ethereal in her portrayal of Ms. Preston.
Then Disney head Jeffrey Katzenberg opted to produce this gangster epic instead of Warren Beatty’s Bugsy (1991) as he figured Beatty’s film was too expensive at $40 million. This movie ultimately came in at $50 million and grossed a mere $15 million on its American release.
At 54, Dustin Hoffman was more than 20 years older than the real Dutch Schultz was when he was killed.
To date, remains one of the most accurate recreations of the Chophouse Massacre that took the life of Arthur “Dutch Schultz” Fleggenheimer and several of his men.