What this movie is basically about is a Jewish-American gambler named Sam 'Ace' Rothstein called out to Vegas to oversee day to day workings of the fictional Tangiers casino. This movie was based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Pileggi and directed by Martin Scorcese. This movie is based on Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal, who ran the Stardust, Fremont and Hacienda casinos for the Chicago Outfit from the 1970s until the early 1980s. Joe Pesci plays Nicky Santoro, based on real life mob enforcer Anthony Spilotro. He's sent to Vegas to make sure no one messes with the casino and that no money is skimmed off the top and that everyone is kept in line.
This movie is mostly narrated by Sam, and it starts out with Sam leaving a reastaurant and getting into a car which explodes, luckily not killing him. Occasionally other people narrate, like Nicky and others. It starts out in 1983 and rewinds back 10 years to show Sam 'Ace' Rothstein(De Niro) being a sports handicapper for the mob. In the movie, they make numerous references to Detroit and Kansas City. He is hesitant to run the casino because of his checkered criminal record, but is able to do it through relaxed game laws which require that people only apply for a gaming license and work there while waiting for one. When the bosses become impressed with Sam's work, they send mob enforcer Nicholas 'Nicky' Santoro(Pesci) to protect everything. But before long, Nicky becomes more of a hindrance than help and with his brash behavior and short temper, lands himself in the black book, which means his name had been grilled into the mind of every police officer and FBI agent around. The 'black book' is a nickname to refer to a list of unwelcome people in casinos. And to make few extra dollars, he decides to start robbing and opens his own restaurant and jewelry store, the Gold Rush. Meanwhile, Sam falls in love with a hustler named Ginger McKenna(Sharon Stone). They soon marry and have a daughter, Amy. But their relationship starts to crumble when Sam finds Ginger and Nicky helping her old friend, con artist Lester Diamond(James Woods). He makes an enemy as well, County Commissioner Pat Webb(L.Q. Jones) by firing his brother in law Donald Ward(Joe Bob Briggs). Despite pressure from Webb to hire him back, Sam refuses and then things come down bad. Webb pulls up Sam's application in the backlog, forcing him to have a license hearing which he made sure was rejected by State Senator Harrison Roberts(Dick Smothers). He gets back at everyone, by accusing the government of corruption. The bosses don't like this and they want Sam home and he blames Nicky's problems for his mess.
The bosses hire Kansas City mobster Artie Piscano to oversee things and reduce amount mobsters are keeping. But his problem is he keeps incriminating ledgers with everyone's names, dates of payoff, etc., and is caught on an FBI bug discussing everything. Ginger finally ticks off Sam so badly that she and Lester are in L.A. planning to run away with daughter Amy. With her being a drug addict, Sam kicks her out of the house, and she returns, and Sam lets her in on one condition that she wear a beeper at all times. She starts seeing Nicky for help and they begin a sexual affair and according to mob rules, you never go near another man's wife basically, and this could get Nicky and them killed along with Nicky's crew for covering it up. One night when Sam gets home, he hears screaming and he discovers to his horror it's his daughter Amy. Ginger tied her to the bedposts just so she could go out with Nicky. He goes to Nicky's restaurant The Leaning Tower and he publicly humiliates her and disowns her.
The morning after, with Amy at a neighbor's house, Ginger creates a domestic disturbance and uses to distraction to get the key to their joint account. After she leaves the bank with her money, she is promptly pulled over and arrested by FBI agents. After the discovery of Piscano's ledgers, everything crumbles apart and everyone is either killed or arrested to keep them from testifying. During a meeting, the bosses discuss what should be done. They decide anyone involved must die. Andy Stone, leader of the Teamsters Pension Fund dies, so does John Nance, the money courier, and 3 casino execs. Ginger, meanwhile has run away to L.A. and is shacked up in a seedy motel with druggies, bikers, sinking deeper into drug and alcohol abuse. She stumbles down the hall and falls dead onto the floor from a drug overdose, completely penniless. During the short narration, Sam mentions that a doctor did a 2nd autopsy on her and that she died from a hot dose, meaning she was deliberately killed. As for Nicky, his friends have had enough. After everyone got out on bail, the men who were once his friends have become his assassins. They take Nicky and his brother Dominick and arrange a meeting in a cornfield. They take Nicky and his brother and beat them severely with aluminum bats. They hold Nicky and practically make him watch them beat his brother unconscious, and then it's his turn. After they are beaten senseless, they are stripped and thrown into a grave while they are still breathing.
Towards the end it shows Sam in San Diego, a little older, doing sports handicapping, saying "right back where I started." And basically he talks about the new family friendly Vegas lacking charm it once had.
|Robert De Niro||Sam "Ace" Rothstein||Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal|
|Joe Pesci||Nicholas "Nicky" Santoro||Tony "The Ant" Spilotro|
|Sharon Stone||Ginger McKenna Rothstein||Geraldine McGee Rosenthal|
|Frank Vincent||Frankie Marino||Frank Cullotta|
|Don Rickles||Billy Sherbert||Murray Ehrenberg|
|Pasquale Cajano||Remo Gaggi||Joseph Aiuppa|
|James Woods||Lester Diamond||Leonard "Lenny" Marmor|
|John Bloom||Donald "Don" Ward||Slot Machine Manager|
|L. Q. Jones||Pat Webb||A Clark County Commissioner|
|Kevin Pollak||Philip Green||Allen Glick|
|Alan King||Andy Stone||Allen Dorfman|
|Bill Allison||John Nance||George Vandermark|
|Philip Suriano||Dominick Santoro||Michael Spilotro|
|Vinny Vella||Artie Piscano||Carl "Tuffy" DeLuna|
|Nobu Matsuhisa||K. K. Ichikawa||Akio Kashiwagi|
|Richard Riehle||Charlie "Clean Face" Clark||Morris Shenker|
|Dick Smothers||Nevada State Senator Harrison Roberts||Harry Reid|