Godfather Part II Killer
Man does not represent Robert De Niro
is an Academy Award nominated 1995 crime drama film
directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the non-fiction
book of the same name by Nicholas Pileggi, who also
co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Scorsese.
Robert De Niro stars as Sam "Ace" Rothstein,
a Jewish top gambling handicapper who is called by
the Mob to oversee the day-to-day operations at the
fictional Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. The story
is based on the late Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal,
who ran the Stardust, Fremont and the Hacienda casinos
in Las Vegas for the Chicago Outfit from the 1970s
until the early 1980s.
Joe Pesci plays Nicky Santoro, based on the real-life
Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro, an intimidating
enforcer and psychopath. Nicky is sent by the Chicago
Outfit to Vegas to make sure that money from the Tangiers
is skimmed off the top and that the casinos and mobsters
in Vegas are kept in line. Sharon Stone plays Ace's
wife, the self-obsessed, spoiled, devious and sly
Ginger, a role that earned her a Golden Globe Award
for Best Actress and an Academy Award nomination for
When released, Casino had the most uses of the word
"fuck" (398) in a feature length film ,
but was outdone two years later by the film Nil by
Mouth although it remains the highest number of uses
of the word in an American film excluding documentaries.
Casino has been considered a companion piece to Scorsese's
earlier film, Goodfellas (1990), which also starred
De Niro and Pesci, and was written by Pileggi and
the opening sequence, Sam "Ace" Rothstein's
(Robert De Niro) narration explains: "When you
love someone, you've got to trust them, there's no
other way. You've got to give them the key to everything
that's yours. Otherwise what's the point? And for
a while I believed that's the kind of love I had."
His car then explodes into a ball of fire. The story
then cuts back in time, showing Sam to be a talented
sports handicapper for the mob. Due to his handicapping
prowess, Sam is entrusted by four Midwest mob bosses
in Kansas City, Missouri to oversee the management
of the Tangiers Hotel's casino in Las Vegas. Since
they were skimming (taking a "cut" before
income is reported to the authorities)off the top
of the casino's profits, they wanted someone in charge
who would make them the most amount of money. The
backstory of how the mob actually ran the casinos
at that time is told, revealing that although people
may have seemed legitimate that they were all chosen
solely for their role in allowing the skim to work.
Sam is very happy to be offered the job, but is afraid
to take it due to his past as a bookmaker getting
in the way of his getting the license needed to work
in the casino. Once he is assured that he only needs
to APPLY for a license to be able to work and that
no one will interfere with how he choose to run the
casino, he takes the job.
Once at work, he almost immediately doubles the casino's
profits. As he builds the Tangiers into a legitimate
force to be reckoned with in Vegas and in doing so
leaves his illegal past behind, it is revealed that
Nicky has been up to his old tricks "back home".
Sam meets and falls in love with an attractive hustler
named Ginger (Sharon Stone), whose driving force is
money. She is respected as a hustler due to her ability
to take care of the people that she needed to carry
on her business (of keeping wealthy men awake for
days at a time, gambling and spending money), but
had an Achilles' heel in Lester Diamond, her old pimp
boyfriend. Due to Sam's success in bringing in massive
amounts of cash, the bosses send his boyhood friend,
Nicholas "Nicky" Santoro (Joe Pesci) (who
is famous for his violent temper) to protect their
interests. When faced with the reality of Nicky moving
to Vegas, Sam immediately warns him that Vegas is
no joke for even "the coppers aren't afraid to
bury people out in the desert here". Nicky responds
by making his intentions of breaking free of the bosses'
control known as well, which can only mean trouble.
After finally getting the hotel and casino just he
way he wants them, Sam decides to propose to Ginger.
She tells him that she does not love him (added to
the fact that they have only known one another for
a few months), but he convinces her that he is fine
with her respect, since in time it can turn into love.
He clinches the deal by reassuring her that if anything
should go wrong between them that he will take care
of her financially for the rest of her life. Always
the handicapper, after Ginger had their child, Sam
married her. He finds her on the phone with Lester
Diamond in the middle of their reception, in which
she claims that she is simply saying goodbye since
she had known him for most of her life. Sam accepts
this and then tells her that since she is with him
now, that part of her life is over. He sets her up
exactly as he promised, with a large, lavishly appointed
house in the best neighborhood, closets full of the
best clothes and furs, $1 million in cash and jewels
just for her and $2 million in shakedown and bail
money that only she had access to in case he was in
jail or kidnapped.
Over time, Nicky got more and more carried away. As
Sam remarks early in the movie, Nicky enjoyed being
a gangster and didn't care who knew about it. Almost
since the day he hit town, he had been involved in
all kinds of illegal activity, activity that the bosses
would not have approved of especially since it involved
employees of the Tangiers. Since most of his security
personnell were ex-cops, Sam was privy to information
that heat was coming down on Nicky. He warned him
that he was close to being put in the (Black Book)(which
would mean he was banned from EVERY casino in Vegas),
but Nicky kept right along believing he was untouchable
since there were only 2 names in the book, one of
which "was STILL Al Capone". However, Nicky
isn't as untouchable as he thinks an he is indeed
placed in the book. Once this happens, Sam can't be
seen with him anywhere near Vegas for the sake of
the casino's reputation (and more importantly, money).
Since Nicky refuses to go back home, he forms his
own crew and hits Vegas with a whirlwind that it's
never seen before with some "desperadoes from
back home": Jack Hardy (Jed Mills), Sal Fusco
(Clem Caserta), and Bernie Blue (Bret McCormick) his
brother Dominick (Philip Suriano) and Frankie Marino
(Frank Vincent). He sets up some legitimate businesses
to spread some money areound, such as a jewelry store
and a restaurant, but he and his crew mostly rob anything
they can : other jewelery stores, hotels, apartments,
and private homes. Nicky sends Frank back with money
for the bosses to keep them happy, but since most
of what he is doing he isn't supposed to, he can only
send so much.
Since running the casino takes up to 18 hours a day
and Ginger isn't used to being a kept woman, she ends
up spending time (and money) with Lester Diamond.
Since she has been with him since she was a child,
she seems to change into a completely different person
when he is concerned and she takes money out of her
account to give to him. Sam finds this out(she had
asked him for the money and he questioned her as to
what it was for) and follows her when she goes to
a diner to meet Lester. Sam confronts Ginger after
Lester leaves (with the money she brought)and reminds
her that when she told Lester they were to marry that
he didn't stop her or profess his lover for her. That
he let it happen. Lester is then beaten up outside
and Ginger witnesses part of it.
keeps the bosses happy when they send him instructions,
including killing a long-forgotten business partner
of the head of the Tangiers' gaming corporation and
finding out who shot up one of Remo's bars. The issues
with the casino force Sam to become more visible and
he starts to give interviews. However, at the same
time he is forced to fire one of his employees, who
is "juiced" in, as he is the relative of
the County Commissioner. When the Commissioner asks
Sam to take his nephew back, he refuses, and makes
an enemy that he doesn't need.
has gotten worse and worse with the drugs and alcohol
and as a capper has turned to Nicky as a confidante.
At this point Nicky and Sam barely speak since Sam
is upset that Nicky's wild wild west antics bring
heat on him. Things come to a head after Sam is misquoted
during an interview claiming to be the boss of the
Tangiers and his new enemy the Commissioner goes to
the gaming board asking about his license. Nicky arranges
a meeting with Sam's banker, Charlie Clark at Sam's
house, wanting some money back. When the banker tells
him it's not that easy jsut to give it back, Nicky
threatens to kill him if he doesn't get it back the
next day. Sam warns Nicky that the banker will run
to the FBI messing up his chance's with his license.
Nicky tells Sam that once he makes his moves, that
he won't NEED a license. It is then that Sam realizes
that Nicky plans on going after the Midwest bosses
AND the skin, which he wants no part of.
Meanwhile, the skim is starting to get lighter and
lighter and the bosses realize that the people they
put in to pull of the skim are taking from THEM. Underboss
Artie Piscano is sent to handle the situation, which
involves alot of flying back and forth on his part.
He is also unhappy with how he is being compensated
for his trips, and threatens to begin keeping track,
which he is warned against. Ginger is again hooked
up with Lester Diamond and this time under guise of
a vacation to Los Angeles with their daughter and
runs off with him. Sam finds this out when he calls
to speak to his wife, only to find out that both Mr
and Mrs Sam Rothstein have checked out. Lester is
in the middle of discussing their flight to Europe
and elaborate plastic surgery plans when Sam (having
called back home to have someone track them down)
calls. Nicky comes by to offer his help, telling Sam
that no matter what their business issues may be,
that the disappearance of his daughter is family and
he will help. Ginger calls Sam and he instructs her
to send Amy (their daughter) home. When Ginger asks
if she can come as well, Sam relents and sends a plane
for them. Once home, the two go out for dinner to
talk things through and he grills her about what they
did while they were away and what she spent the money
on. Ginger would rather forget anything happened,
but Sam is enraged not only that she took their daughter
but by the knowledge that Ginger has sex with Lester.
Ginger complains to Nicky about Sam's behavior since
her return and it is revealed that she came back under
HIS instruction. It is during this talk that they
begin their affair. No one back home is happy since
both Nicky and Sam are on tv. Nicky is constantly
questioned for anything illegal that goes on in Vegas
and Sam has created his own talks how to air his grievances
over his license. Not only that, but on one trip while
Frank Marinso goes home to take some money, Remo Gaggi
questions him about the rumblings of an affair between
Ginger and Nicky.
that even HIS life could be in danger if he tells
the truth, Marino lies and denies it.
Everything begins to crumble one night when Sam calls
the house to speak to Ginger and no one answers. Since
Nicky has eyes on Sam, when he informs his number
2 Billy Sherbert (Don Rickles)that he is going home,
a call goes out to Nicky. Sam gets home to find Ginger
gone and his young daughter locked in her room and
tied to her bed by her mother. The phone miraculously
rings and it's Nicky calling. When Sam states that
he's looking for Ginger, he tells him that she's a
his restaurant with him. Sam speeds over there to
find an inebriated and high Ginger sitting in a booth
smoking a cigarette. Nicky warns him to be f_ckin'
nice" before speaking to his wife, and Sam, almost
ready to burst tells his wife to go home and be a
mother. Ginger doesn't budge until Nicky gives her
the ok to leave, which even further infuriates Sam.
Once home, Ginger and Sam argue, with her accusing
him of cheating as well. She goes back to the restaurant
and tells Nicky to have Sam killed. When he refuses
to kill his friend of more than 30 years, she becomes
enraged and attacks him physically. He throws her
out and laments to Marino that he made a mistake ever
getting involved with her.
The next morning, Ginger turns up at their family
home to collect her possessions. Getting access into
the house, she steals the key to their safety deposit
box, which contains a near two million dollars in
emergency money (earlier it was revealed that she
had skimmed some of it for Lester). Sam and Billy
head for the bank to try to stop her. They are too
late, and see her leave the bank with the cash, but
she is arrested by the FBI about a block away for
aiding the mob (she is later released when they decide
that she knows nothing). The FBI and media, most of
whom were already onto Nicky, gain enough information
to track down all the players of the skimming operation,
getting even more information when they find detailed
records of how the skimming actually worked along
with dates, names and addresses from mobster Artie
Piscano's expense reports. Piscano, an incomptent
underboss sent by the Kansas City bosses to weed out
those who would steal from the mob's cut of The Tangiers's
profits ("skim the skim") is ultimately
responsible for destroying the mob's hold on the casino.
FBI investigators, having bugged Piscano's Kansas
City grocery while investigating crimes apparently
unrelated to the casino, overhear the underboss rant
in detail about the mob's involvement in The Tangiers.
Piscano, unhappy that he'd been forced to pay his
own expenses while in Vegas, and against the orders
of the bosses, kept all records of his trips in a
notebook. Now tipped off to the existence of the notebook,
and having the names of the mob's contacts in The
Tangiers, the FBI moves in.
Executing a search warrant in his home, the FBI immediately
find Piscano's notebook, making sure to thank him
for his cooperation. In shock, that he has now basically
handed the mob's Vegas operation to the FBI, Piscano
suffers a fatal heart attack. The Tangiers temporarily
shuts down, and Nicky takes off after his restaurant
and jewelery store get closed down, allowing Dominic,
Frankie, and the rest of Nicky's crew to get arrested.
The bosses are also arrested and taken into court.
While together in the courthouse, the bosses hold
a meeting during a recess and decide which witnesses
should be eliminated. Those executed include Andy
Stone (head of the Teamsters Union and Pension Fund),
three casino executives, and John Nance (the money
courier, whose son was in trouble with the FBI for
drug-related charges). At this point, the film reverts
to bombing, and apparent murder of Sam in his car,
the explosion shown at the beginning of the film.
Despite the seemingly instantaneous and complete explosion,
Sam is now seen narrowly surviving the blast - largely
due to a special plate inserted in the car, and unknown
to almost everybody. Despite his brush with death,
Sam dismisses the effort which he and the bosses suspect
was made by Nicky. This is probably true, as earlier
in the film Nicky talks to Marino about the possibility
of having Sam whacked before he "starts a war
back home", due to Ginger's affair with him.
Months later, the bosses bail Nicky's crew out, and
Nicky himself holds a meeting with them in an Indiana
cornfield, apparently to send Dominic out to Vegas.
His crew turns on him, with Frankie clubbing him in
the leg. Nicky is forced to watch as Frankie and the
crew savagely beat Dominic to a pulp with aluminum
baseball bats. Nicky is gruesomely beaten by Frankie
as well, and the men bury the Santoro brothers alive
in a freshly dug grave in the dirt. Sam narrates that
the bosses have had enough of Nicky's antics, and
ordered Marino and his crew to "make an example"
of him and his brother. Ginger leaves, and dies of
a drug overdose in an L.A. after falling in with a
bad crowd. The cash she has taken is almost all but
spent, with only valuable coins left from the thousands
The Tangiers gets demolished. In a montage, all the
famous hotels of the Vegas strip are shown being demolished,
replaced by oversized, 'family-friendly' resorts that
have become the staple of the modern-day city, built
by large corporations and financed withjunk bonds.
Sam remarks that "today it looks like Disneyland,"
and that "in the old days, dealers knew your
name, what you drank, what you played, and that today,
it's like checking into an airport." Echoing
Henry Hill's complaint about having to stomach bad
take-out once he entered Witness Protection in Goodfellas,
Sam says that in the modern Vegas, if you order room
service "you're lucky if you get it by Thursday".
As Nicky's narration from the beginning of the film
puts it, "It turned out to be the last time street
guys like us were given anything that fucking valuable."
The final scene shows Sam being reduced to what he
started from, making bets for the mob and watching
sporting events on multiple televisions from his home
in San Diego, still able to make money at will. The
film slowly fades out as the audience see his face
looking straight at the camera as he takes his glasses
off, older but wiser from his experience. As he proclaims
in the last line of the film, "And that's that.".
Happens In Vegas