7.4/10
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65 user 53 critic

Atlantic City (1980)

Atlantic City, USA (original title)
In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer find themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs and danger.

Director:

Louis Malle

Writer:

John Guare

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 25 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Burt Lancaster ... Lou
Susan Sarandon ... Sally
Kate Reid ... Grace
Michel Piccoli ... Joseph
Hollis McLaren ... Chrissie
Robert Joy ... Dave
Al Waxman ... Alfie
Robert Goulet ... Singer
Moses Znaimer Moses Znaimer ... Felix
Angus MacInnes ... Vinnie
Sean Sullivan ... Buddy
Wallace Shawn ... Waiter (as Wally Shawn)
Harvey Atkin ... Bus Driver
Norma Dell'Agnese ... Jeanne
Louis Del Grande Louis Del Grande ... Mr. Shapiro
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Storyline

Atlantic City is a place where people go to realize their dreams, the promise of the future manifested by the demolition of the old crumbling buildings to be replaced by new hotels and casinos. Someone who recently came to Atlantic City for that promise is native Moose Javian (Saskatchewan) Sally Matthews, who currently works as a waitress at a hotel oyster bar, but who is training to be a black jack croupier and wants to be more cultured, such as learning French, in order to work at the casinos in Monte Carlo. Another dreamer who came to Atlantic City decades ago is Lou Pascal, who has long worked as a numbers runner and who claims to have been a cellmate and thus implied confidante of Bugsy Siegel. Although Lou still dresses to the standard to which he is accustomed, his dream long died as he only works penny ante stuff for Fred, most of his current income from being the kept man of widowed recluse, Grace Pinza. Grace too came to Atlantic City to fulfill her dreams - most ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She made him become what he always wanted to be - a lover, a hero, a rich man...and a killer! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Arteboutique [France]

Country:

France | Canada | USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

3 April 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Atlantic City See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,200,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,729,678, 9 March 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lou mentions thousand dollar bills. The Federal Reserve began removing these and other high-denomination bills from circulation in 1969. They are now worth far more than their face value because of their rarity.. See more »

Goofs

Lancaster spies on Sarandon as she squeezes lemon juice on herself. He is obviously looking across a courtyard or open space between apartment buildings. However, as revealed later, the two characters live next door to each other. The only way the spying could be possible is if Sarandon had a gigantic apartment that wrapped around a side of the building to have living space across from Lancaster's apartment. Interiors of her apartment did not make such a large apartment seem possible. See more »

Quotes

Sally: Why are you doing this for me?
Lou: Hey, it's nothing, Sinatra gives wings to hospitals. We all do what we can.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the end credits roll, an old building on the boardwalk is demolished to some of the tunes that appear earlier in the film. Each time the wrecking ball hits, we hear a cymbal crash and the soundtrack jumps to a different song. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Casta diva
from "Norma"
Music by Vincenzo Bellini (as Bellinis)
Libretto by Felice Romani (uncredited)
Performed by Elizabeth Harwood with London Philharmonic Orchestra (as the London Philharmonic)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Grainy, Gritty And A Great Story
23 March 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This is a little bit on the seedy side but it's well-done and Burt Lancaster, once again, provides us with a wonderful character study. This time he's "Lou Pascal," an old-time small hood playing out his days in pathetic manner in a dingy Atlantic City. In fact, "seedy" describes Atlantic City in this picture.

There's nothing seedy about the opening scene, however. It's an attention- grabber, at least if you're a male. We see Susan Sarandon, squeezing lemon juice over her breasts at the kitchen window. Later, we see her do the same thing.

The film is no lemon, however. It's an excellent film and Lancaster, Sarandon ("Sally Matthews") and her husband "Dave" (Robert Joy) comprise most the early going. Joy's role as Sally's loser druggie husband was ugly but he doesn't last long in the film.

The second half of the film features mostly the two stars, both of whom were up for Academy Awards for their performance (and lost out in a sentimental vote for the On Golden Pond crowd). Not only do Lancaster and Sarandon excel, but so does director Louis Malle.

Malle makes this almost a modern-day film noir with the grittiness of the characters and the setting, when Atlantic City looked its worst. It's just solid film-making all-around, and few people could play intense characters, young or old, as well as Lancaster.

My only regret is the transfer on the DVD. It's a little grainy and this film deserves better treatment. although, come to think of it - the grain is appropriate considering it's a gritty story.


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