A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast-living and fast-loving socialite.
This Martin Scorsese film depicts the Janus-like quality of Las Vegas–it has a glittering, glamorous face, as well as a brutal, cruel one. Ace Rothstein and Nicky Santoro, mobsters who move to Las Vegas to make their mark, live and work in this paradoxical world. Seen through their eyes, each as a foil to the other, the details of mob involvement in the casinos of the 1970s and ’80s are revealed. Ace is the smooth operator of the Tangiers casino, while Nicky is his boyhood friend and tough strongman, robbing and shaking down the locals. However, they each have a tragic flaw–Ace falls in love with a hustler, Ginger, and Nicky falls into an ever-deepening spiral of drugs and violence.