‘Lansky’ Summary & Ending, Explained – Did Feds find Lansky’s Hidden Fortune?


Based on actual events, Eytan Rockaway’s biopic drama follows the life of the notorious American Mafia, Meyer Lansky. The story narratively investigates a famous rumor circled around him. The feds suspected Meyer Lansky of hiding 300 million dollars of untaxed money from the government. The film inspects the rumor as well as takes a brief look at the Mafia’s life.

Plot Summary

In 1981, a faded writer, David Stone, met Meyer Lansky in Miami. Lansky wants David to write a book about Meyer Lansky, the absolute truth uninfected by rumors and gossips. A struggling David is willing to take any writing gig. And Lansky’s story may turn out to be his big thing. David takes the job, and Lansky describes his story.

Born in Russia, Meyer Lansky was a Jew who came to America with his family. As a kid, he had an interest in numbers that later became his profession. In 1918, he started a bootlegging and gambling racket with his friend/associate, Ben “Bugsy” Siegel. Together, they were known as the bugs and Meyer Gang. Meyer met Charlie Lucky Luciano, the father of the modern organized crime. Lucky created the governing body of the Mafia known as the Commission and the National Crime Syndicate. With the help of Lucky’s council, Meyer became the most prominent casino operator in 1946. His income was unaccountable and unimaginable.

While he narrates his story to David, FBI Special Agent Frank Rivers tracks David to find the rumored fortune. The chase between the gangster and the copper continues while the writer finds himself filling the gap.

‘Lansky’ Ending Explained

Frank Rivers planted an informer, Maureen, next to David’s hotel room. He was obsessed with Lansky and would have gone to any length to find out the hidden 300 million dollars. When Maureen disappeared without a trace, Frank approached David directly. He threatened David and his family to extract information from the faded Mafia.

Through a former prisoned hitman, Frank found out about a money manager Pinkus in Geneva. Before Frank could reach Pinkus, he was already dead in a car accident. Frank warned David to stay away from Lanksy because he might have discovered that David was working for the Feds. In the end, Lanksy forgave David and finished his story.

After Cuban Revolution in 1959, Fidel Castro dethroned the mafia strongholds from Cuba. Many of the casinos, including Lansky’s, were destroyed overnight. It was believed that Lansky left Cuba with the 3 million dollars he made there. The American government charged him for tax evasion, and to evade the charges, he tried to take Israeli citizenship. Israel’s Law of Return stated that any Jew can settle in the State of Israel. But he was deported to America due to his criminal history. The feds failed to procure 3 million dollars, and Lansky was acquitted in 1974.

At the end of the film, David asked the inevitable question, “where was the money?” Lansky didn’t answer it straightforwardly but rather took David to meet his handicapped son (down with Cerebral palsy). Unspokenly, Lansky hinted that he would have taken better care of his bed-ridden son if he had the money. He asked David to leave Miami and go back to his family. The Fed shut down the case, and Frank was helpless.

Robert Lacey, the real-life biographer of Meyer, did write a book on his life. Hence, the fictional David Stone could be Robert Lacey. Like the last sequence of the film, Robert commented on Lanksy’s financial instability and inability to pay for his son’s health care. Maybe, there was no hidden 3 million dollars. And if even it was real, it was never found.

Journalist Hank Messick laid down, “Meyer Lansky doesn’t own property. He owns people.” Maybe it was true, as the end “supers” of the film informed that the gambling industry pioneered by Lansky contributes 250 billion dollars to the U.S. economy and employs almost 2 million people. Meyer Lansky built his world around numbers, and profitable gambling became his prized invention.

Lansky is a 2021 Biopic Crime Drama about the famous American Mafia, Meyer Lansky. The film is directed by Eytan Rockaway.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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