Atlantic City (1980)

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

Original Title : Atlantic City
Director : Louis Malle
Writer : John Guare
Genre : Crime
Country : USA
Producer : Joseph Beaubien, Gabriel Boustiani, Denis Héroux, Justine Héroux, John Kemeny, Larry Nesis, Jean-Serge Breton
Music : Michel Legrand
Photography : Richard Ciupka
Distributor : CBS Television, Cine Saison, LMP, LW Editora, Paramount Home Video, Paramount Home Video, Paramount Pictures, Roadshow Home Video, Video Film Express
IMDB ID : 0080388
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poster for "Atlantic City" by Louis Malle (1980)
Atlantic City (1980) - Louis Malle


Burt Lancaster Lou Pascal
Susan Sarandon Sally Matthews
Michel Piccoli Joseph
Hollis McLaren Chrissie
Robert Joy Dave Matthews
Moses Znaimer Felix
Robert Goulet Singer in hospital (special guest star)
Al Waxman Alfie (special appearance by)
Kate Reid Grace Pinza
Angus MacInnes Vinnie
Sean Sullivan Buddy
Wallace Shawn Waiter (as Wally Shawn)
Harvey Atkin Bus driver
Norma Dell'Agnese Jeanne
Louis Del Grande Mr. Shapiro


Lou is a small time gangster, who thinks he used to be something big. He meets up with a younger girl, Sally, who is learning to be a croupier. Her husband turns up with drugs he has stolen from the Mafia. The husband gets Lou to sell the drugs, but is killed before Lou can give him the money. Later, the owners of the drugs turn up and threaten to kill Sally if she doesn't return them... Dreams. Becoming an Atlantic City croupier will help Sally realize her dream of going to Monte Carlo, a symbol of the glamorous life that has been evading her since escaping from Saskatchewan a decade ago. Lou dreams that he was a great mobster in the old days. Grace came to Atlantic City for a Betty Grable look-alike contest and stayed to become the wife of a mobster. A brief visit to Atlantic City by Sally's estranged husband will change the course of the lives of Sally and Lou.


The setting and the characters are just right for each other. Atlantic City is undergoing a transformation, with new casinos and hotels dotting its shoreline while a few blocks in, out of the tourists sight, the full time residents live in what's left over from the past. Louis Malle captures it all with this story about a retired small time member of the local organized crime syndicate (Burt Lancaster) who comes into a small fortune worth of stolen cocaine when the guy that stole it (Robert Joy) is killed by the dealers who meant to buy it in the first place down in Philadelphia, and are now hot on his heels as well. Back in the life, though unwittingly, he sells the coke to an ongoing poker game in one of the suites in a new hotel, bit by bit, and falls into the romance of his dreams with young Susan Sarandon, whom he watched every night from his hotel room as she bathed her breasts with lemon juice in her room across the way. Like the refurbishing city its set in, he feels rejuvenated and in one instance even fearless in the face of the ruthless Philly dealers. The film put Lancaster back in the limelight for a while, and refreshingly so. Its gritty realism and characters, especially Joy, who makes an excellent hippie con-man, marked the end of an era of that realistic 70's urban crime drama genre that deftly mixed romance with drugs and violence, and portrayed the underworld, mostly minus the cops, so well.
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Atlantic City (1980) - Louis Malle
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Atlantic City (1980) - Louis Malle
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Atlantic City (1980) - Louis Malle
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Atlantic City (1980) - Louis Malle
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Atlantic City (1980) - Louis Malle