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‘Casino’ at 25: A guide to its protagonist and Hollywood’s other Jewish mobsters

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JTA — “Casino,” Martin Scorsese’s examination of the mob’s control of Las Vegas in the 1960s and 70s, debuted in theaters on November 22, 1995 — 25 years ago this past week.

It may be a tick below “Goodfellas,” which came out just five years earlier, in terms of its reputation in the eyes of film historians. But the three-hour epic remains one of Scorsese’s most ambitious and gorgeously realized films. It also may be the best crime film with a Jewish protagonist at its center.

That was Sam “Ace” Rothstein, the character played in the film by Scorsese mainstay Robert De Niro. Rothstein is depicted as a Jewish associate of the Chicago Outfit, an expert bookmaker and sports handicapper who is sent to Vegas to run the Tangiers, one of the largest casinos on the Strip. The character is based on Frank Rosenthal, a real Jewish gambling expert from Chicago who had ties to the Chicago Outfit and eventually headed to Vegas to run casinos for them.

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While the film is somewhat fictionalized, Rosenthal really did pioneer the idea of sports........

© The Times of Israel

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