Bugsy Malone (1976): Alan Parker’s Oscar-Nominated Gangster Musical Spoof, Starring Jodie Foster

This original movie, a gangster musical spoof, written and directed by Alan Parker, boasts the novelty of children playing the leads and machine guns shooting whipped cream.

Chief among the cast, which includes mostly Brits but also a few Americans, is Tallulah, played by Jodie Foster.

Foster had made a splash in the same year in Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, playing yet another adolescent hooker.

Also making a mark is Scott Balio, as Bugsy Malone, who later appeared in some TV shows.

The children and teenagers deliberately play cliché characters of the gangster genre, evoking classic crime movies that had starred Cagney, Bogart, Edward G. Robinson.

The production values, especially cinematography by Peter Biziou and Michael Seresin and art direction by Geoffrey Kirkland, are polished, but the narrative is flawed.

The movie was a commercial flop, after which Paul Williams decided to do the material on stage in London as a live musical.

But, again, the concept failed to attract audiences.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Original Song Score: Paul Williams

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Scoring Oscar was Leonard Rosenman for the biopic, Bound for Glory.

Running time: 93 Minutes