When alcohol was outlawed, outlaws became kings. From Terence Winter, Emmy Award-winning writer of The Sopranos
, and Academy Award Winning Director Martin Scorsese, Boardwalk Empire
is set in Atlantic City at the dawn of Prohibition, when the sale of alcohol became illegal throughout the United States.
The Great War is over, Wall Street is about to boom and everything is for sale, even the World Series. It is a time of change when women are getting the vote, broadcast radio is introduced, and young people rule the world.
On the beach in southern New Jersey sits Atlantic City, a spectacular resort known as "The World's Playground," a place where rules don't apply. Massive hotels line its famous Boardwalk, along with nightclubs, amusement piers and entertainment to rival Broadway. For a few dollars, a working man can get away and live like a king--legally or illegally.
The undisputed ruler of Atlantic City is the town's Treasurer, Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, (Steve Buscemi) a political fixer and backroom dealer who is equal parts politician and gangster and equally comfortable in either role. Because of its strategic location on the seaboard, the town is a hub of activity for rum-runners, minutes from Philadelphia, hours from New York City and less than a day's drive from Chicago. And Nucky Thompson takes full advantage.
A. Audio Commentary (E1) w/ Terry Winter
B. Audio Commentary (E4) w/ Terry Winter, Steve Buscemi, Michael Williams
C. Audio Commentary (E6) w/ Tim VanPatten, Howard Korder
D. Audio Commentary (E8) w/ Terry Winter, Brian Kirk
E. Audio Commentary (E11) w/ Howard Korder, Allen Coulter, Michael Shannon
F. Audio Commentary (E12) w/ Terry Winter, Tim VanPatten
G. Making Boardwalk Empire (25:00 appx.)
H. Creating the Boardwalk (8:00 appx.)
I. Atlantic City: The Original Sin City (30:00 appx.)
J. Speakeasy Tour (25:00 appx.)
K. Character Dossier (available in English only from the English menu set)
L. Previews & Recaps
M. Enhanced Viewing
In fine (and bloody) style, HBO's Boardwalk Empire
returns to 1920 when the ban on booze led to a syndicate of bootleggers and smugglers. Created by Sopranos
scribe Terence Winter and coproduced by director Martin Scorsese, the story centers on Atlantic City treasurer Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (Steve Buscemi), who schemes in private while preaching temperance in public (Mark Wahlberg and Tim Van Patten also serve as producers). Jimmy (Michael Pitt, Buscemi's Delirious
costar), a war veteran, acts as his right-hand man, while zealous Agent Van Alden (Michael Shannon) and refined mobster Arnold Rothstein (A Serious Man
's Michael Stuhlbarg) represent significant threats to his enterprise.
Nucky's other associates include his sheriff brother Eli (Shea Whigham), sexpot girlfriend Lucy (Paz de la Huerta), and distributor Chalky (The Wire's Michael K. Williams). If Nucky has little regard for law and order, his soft side emerges in his dealings with Irish immigrant Margaret (Kelly Macdonald, excellent), who segues from abused wife to kept woman. As Nucky puts it, "I try to be good. I really do." After he sends Jimmy away a spell, his sidekick joins forces with Al Capone (Stephen Graham, Public Enemies) and disfigured vet Richard Harrow (Jack Huston), abandoning his son, common-law wife Angela (Aleksa Palladino), and mother Gillian (Gretchen Mol), who has a fling with Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza).
Inspired by Nelson Johnson's book, Boardwalk Empire takes a Deadwood-like approach to history by combining characters both factual and fictional with blue language and ladies without brassieres. Winter, who won an Emmy for The Sopranos episode Pine Barrens, takes liberties with the historical record, but the series never claims to represent the truth and nothing but--which is only fitting when everyone's hiding secrets. If the entire ensemble deserves praise, Buscemi rules the show as thoroughly as Nucky rules the city. --Kathleen C. Fennessy