Hollywood has a thing for mobsters. Not because they love violence, but because the audience is just drawn to these fearless characters. It is just more exciting to watch a movie about individuals who risk their lives to achieve their agendas—especially when the film is based on real-life events. But even when the story might have happened in real life, movies like Scorsese’s Casino sometimes twist the story for dramatic effect and compress it to become watchable in one sitting.
Sometimes movie fans are so blown away by a movie that is a work of fiction, inspired by actual events, that they are propelled to know more about the movie’s history. The movie Casino hit the big screen over two decades ago and managed to capture the Las Vegas mobster culture of that time. However, like any movie, what you see is not exactly what happened. That is why we will reveal the real history behind the film.
The movie is based on the story of how Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro dominated the Las Vegas gambling scene. For a start, in the movie, the names of the main characters were changed. Frank Rosenthal was named Sam “Ace” Rothstein, and Anthony Spilotro was turned into Nicky Santoro. However, the roles of these two mobsters were accurately portrayed by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.
Scorsese is popular for showing the dark side of the New York mobster life in the movie Goodfellas. However, in this movie, Scorsese managed to perfectly represent the decadent reality of a part of American high society, which involuntarily contributed to favouring the advent of online casinos. Even if the public continues to admire the glitz of land-based casinos, more and more love to entertain themselves at specialised online portals that know how to attract game lovers, such as ukcasino.xyz. He also managed to show the audience the lives of the men who ran the lucrative gambling industry, as well as how everything went downhill.
The movie accurately manages to portray the violent capabilities of the group of stone-cold mobster killers that the real-life Chicago Outfit had at its disposal. However, unlike what happens in Casino, the Spilotro brothers were not battered with baseball bats and thrown alive into a shallow grave. The real-life events are detailed in journalist Jeff Coen’s 2009 book, Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob. Some facts surrounding the exact circumstances behind the movie only came out into the public domain after the 2007 murder trial that resulted in multiple conviction. This was more than a decade after the film was released.
In the trial, there was no forensic evidence to prove that the brothers had been beaten with baseball bats or buried alive. Nick Calabrese, who was one of the hitmen, testified that the Spilotros had been strangled using a rope in the basement of a building. Anthony and Michael had been lured into the house on the pretext that they were being promoted within the Chicago Outfit. They were suspicious, but could not refuse the invitation. When they got into the basement, they were ambushed by a group of mobsters. Michael had been armed with a .22-caliber handgun. However, he failed to get to it and defend himself in the melee. According to the testimony, Anthony also asked if he could say a prayer, but was swarmed before he could do so. A forensic pathologist confirmed that the bruises that the brothers had were most likely a result of kicks and punches. The men were then discovered in a shallow grave by a farmer who assumed that someone had buried a deer in his cornfield.
How these mobsters die is not the only factor where the movie fails to hit the factual mark. In another one of the many scenes from Casino, a mobster from Kansas City runs his mouth in a grocery store about how the Las Vegas operation works. Federal law enforcement agents record his boorish tirade using a bug that they had planted in a ventilation duct. How the federal agents learnt about the Las Vegas operation in real life was by bugging a back table at the Villa Capri Pizzeria in Kansas City. They ended up being able to eavesdrop on a conversation between Civella crime family members. Also, unlike in the movie, there wasn’t any comical mother scolding the mobster about his profanity at the Villa Capri.
Inl life, there is never any audience to add a bit of colour for—and the only people at the table were dangerous, real-life conspiratorial gangsters.