Bugsy Malone

  • Review Date: May 29, 2007
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1976
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Jodie Foster stars in goofy kid mobster movie.
  • Review Date: May 29, 2007
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1976
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Lots of kid-themed debauchery, including a bootleg sarsaparilla racket, stealing, and breaking the law.

Violence & scariness

Lots of comic violence with guns filled with cream. Instead of being shot with bullets, kids are "killed" with the help of semiautomatic "splurge guns." Scenes with these guns include a massacre at a speakeasy and pies in the face. Bugsy gets beaten up and robbed. Leroy boxes and punches someone out in the ring.

Sexy stuff

Lots of tween girls wearing sexy outfits, but no sexual behavior. Tallulah kisses Bugsy on the forehead.

Language

One use of "hell."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Only if you count bootleg root beer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while all the violence here involves cream pies and cream-loaded "splurge guns," there's still menace behind it and characters do "die" of their cream-filled wounds. There are cream massacres and cream-pie hits. There's also a great deal of sexualization of tween girls, with young girls saying that they watch their figures and dancing suggestively. Jodie Foster's character sings about how the men in the audience "don't have to be lonely."

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A pre-Happy Days, Charles in Charge, and Diagnosis Murder Scott Baio stars as Bugsy, a good guy who frequents a speakeasy and falls for ingénue Blousy Brown (Florrie Dugger). But when mobster Dandy Dan (Martin Lev) employs a new "splurge gun" that targets its victims with a steady stream of whipped cream, he threatens the life and livelihood of Blousy, Bugsy, and Fat Sam (John Cassissi), the head of a mob family that still uses old-school technology of pies in the face to vanquish his foes. Can Bugsy help save Fat Sam's empire and keep his promises to Blousy, without falling prey to the advances of chanteuse Tallulah (Jodie Foster)?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

As a spoof of serious mobster movies like The Godfather, Bugsy Malone is a delight, with some excellent performances by child actors. Sure, the plot is silly, but it's meant to be. After all, what could be less scary and threatening than a gun that shoots what looks like spit balls? And it's fun to watch the whole cast degenerate into the equivalent of a food fight at the end. These are just kids, the film makes clear.

Where the film seems less clear about the age of its stars is in its treatment of the tween girls in the film. Girls who have yet to develop any curves say they're "watching their weight," chorus girls perform slightly sexy dance moves, and Tallulah sings to the men that they "don't have to be lonely." Yikes. Kids watching it may not be aware of what that means, but parents may want to talk to their young children about it.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it means to act like an adult. Kids: How would you act if you were suddenly told you had to be a grown-up? Girls: What do you think about the characters who say they need to watch their weight? Parents: See our tips on talking to kids about body image.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 29, 1976
DVD release date:October 11, 2005
Cast:Florrie Dugger, Jodie Foster, Scott Baio
Director:Alan Parker
Studio:Panorama Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Music and sing-along
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Bugsy Malone was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old May 25, 2010
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
Violence (G): Kids use splurgers to freeze each other in time. Sexual Content (PG): Little girls wearing sexy stage outfits, little smoochings. Language (G): One use of hell.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byKlatu9 December 8, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Great movie, but be aware of simulated/implied adult situations and content.

I love this movie. It's an all kid cast probably averaging a cast age of about 13 years old. The writing is great, ALL of the songs are super catchy by 1970's - well known song writer/composer; Paul Williams. The kid cast all do a great job of acting (some more than others) and do a great job of pretending to be adults (Jodie Foster had a huge edge on the rest of the kids given her upbringing). Scott Baio does a fantastic job portraying a back street, opportunity seeking, slick talking, good hearted, street wise - wise guy. Other great and memorable characters include a chubby kid who plays Fat Sam, lanky Knuckles, Scott Baio's romantic pursuit; Blousey, and of course Tallulah played by Woman trapped in a kids body; Jodie Foster. All that being said, the entire movie is about these kids acting as adults would in gangster era New York or Chicago along with the vices, crime and violence - at leas all simulated. A lot of this movie consists of implied violence: The Splurge Gun - It shoots pastries, but the kids act scared of being shot and the ones that do seem to never to be seen again in the movie. Example, Fat Sam and his last remaining henchman; Knuckles, are testing their own version of a "Splurge Gun" when it explodes in Knuckles face and seemingly kills him. Fat sam cries unconscionably as Knuckles lays motionless on the ground, pastry splattered all over him simulating carnage. I can hear a little kid now upon seeing this scene ask his mom or dad... "is Knuckles dead mommy?". Yet, the end of the movie ends with a huge Splurge Gun and pie battle in where no one "dies", instead just get covered in pastry which leads to a happy ending sing along to "We could've been anything that we wanted to be". There is other violence such as Scott Baio's character being jumped and beat up by a group of bums in a dark alley and plenty of "pastry related deaths". Fat Sam owns a "bar" that simulates alcohol as being consumed there. There is a good amount of implied and apparent sexualization. Jodie Foster's character exudes a "woman of the world's" attitude even though she was about 13 when she did this movie. Scott Baio's character; Mugsy and his girlfriend Blousey are supposed to go away together to Hollywood... by themselves. The young chorus girls wear "short shorts" and heels, but they're not extremely sexualized. This will always be one of my favorite movies, but I would not really recommend this for kids to watch unless: they're over 10/11 years old and then only when you sit down with them to explain it to them first or watch with them to answer questions and explain that it was just meant to be make-believe. This movie should eventually make it to your movie library as it is a classic movie in my opinion.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byMy way of seeing it July 5, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Bugsy Malone = amazing!

The violence is just like cream pies and stuff, it is a wonderful family movie where the kids are adults.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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