The Cotton Club

Cotton Club
In 1928 Harlem, white trumpet player Dixie Dwyer saves the life of mob boss Dutch Schultz and is taken into the gangster’s circle of henchmen. But Dixie aspires to a career in Hollywood, imitating Schultz on-screen. The musician also begins an affair with the mobster’s girlfriend. When the mafioso Lucky Luciano starts patronising the Cotton Club, Schultz’ empire is further threatened ... “Do I look like a boss in this suit?” – “Keep two thugs behind you and you do.” – “I want them to notice the suit!” Even gangster Dutch Schultz understood that clothes make a subtle difference. Milena Canonero costumed him and the Cotton Club’s white owners in the finest black apparel and hats with hatbands, while the black musicians wear rough fabrics in brown herringbone and soft caps. Hollywood star James Cagney appears in the film, visiting the club in a gangster look befitting his status, and Gloria Swanson wears an elaborate headdress; the Cotton Club showgirls show off their bare skin in glittering two-piece outfits. The designer came up with a dazzling diversity of looks for this film, which owes as much to Howard Hawk’s Scarface as it does to Busby Berkeley’s backstage musicals.
by Francis Ford Coppola
with Richard Gere, Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, Lonette McKee, Bob Hoskins
USA 1984 English 125’ Colour Rating R16


  • Richard Gere
  • Gregory Hines
  • Diane Lane
  • Lonette McKee
  • Bob Hoskins


Director Francis Ford Coppola
Screenplay William Kennedy, Francis Ford Coppola based on an idea by William Kennedy, Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo
Cinematography Stephen Goldblatt
Editing Barry Malkin, Robert Q. Lovett
Music John Barry
Sound Craig Lyman
Production Design Richard Sylbert
Art Director Gregory Bolton, David Chapman
Costumes Milena Canonero
Make-Up Craig Lyman
Producer Robert Evans

Produced by

Totally Independent

Additional information

Copy: Park Circus, Glasgow

Francis Ford Coppola


Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017