7.5/10
108,556
314 user 107 critic

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera..

Director:

Mike Figgis

Writers:

John O'Brien (based upon the novel by), Mike Figgis (screenplay by)
Reviews
Popularity
2,077 ( 301)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 31 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Ben Sanderson
Elisabeth Shue ... Sera
Julian Sands ... Yuri
Richard Lewis ... Peter
Steven Weber ... Marc Nussbaum
Kim Adams Kim Adams ... Sheila
Emily Procter ... Debbie
Stuart Regen Stuart Regen ... Man at Bar
Valeria Golino ... Terri
Graham Beckel ... L.A. Bartender
Albert Henderson Albert Henderson ... Man at Strip Bar (as Al Henderson)
Shashi Bhatia Shashi Bhatia ... Hispanic Prostitute
Carey Lowell ... Bank Teller
Anne Lange Anne Lange ... Business Colleague
Thomas Kopache ... Mr. Simpson
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Storyline

Because his wife left him and took his son with her, screenwriter Ben Sanderson has started drinking, a lot. He's getting more and more isolated and he troubles women in bars because he wants to have sex with them. When he gets fired, he decides to leave everything behind and move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. In Las Vegas he meets Sera, a prostitute with some problems as well who he moves in with. Written by Marco van Hoof <k_luifje7@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality and language, violence and pervasive alcohol abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM [United States]

Country:

France | UK | USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

9 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Leaving Las Vegas See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$70,864, 29 October 1995

Gross USA:

$32,029,928

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,029,928
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (Digital)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Ben doesn't eat a single thing during the entire film. This reinforces his dependence on alcohol as chronic alcoholics usually forget to eat or can't force food down. During the restaurant scene he puts spaghetti on his fork but doesn't eat it. And when Sera fixes him rice, he eats an ice cube instead. See more »

Goofs

When Sera is performing oral sex on Ben in his motel room after he first meets her; you can clearly see her back visible with no scars on it. There's another scene with the two of them in bed after Ben's drunken rage at the casino - where he slides up her top to see the scar on her back (Which is not possible to be there at this spot). See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Sera: I think the thing is, we both realized that we didn't have that much time. And I accepted him for who he was, and I didn't expect him to change, and I think he felt that for me, too. I liked his drama, and he needed me. And I loved him. I really loved him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits do not appear until fifteen minutes into the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

LaserDisc version is unrated and contains more sexually explicit footage. First pressings of the VHS versions also contained this footage but later pressings did not. The Unrated Edition has also been released on DVD and runs 112 min. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: 2012 Teachers Tournament Semifinal Game 3 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Rain Or Come Shine
Written by Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen
Performed by Don Henley
Courtesy of Geffen Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The dignity of love and the depths of despair
3 June 2005 | by mstomasoSee all my reviews

If Mike Figgis never made another film, and Nick Cage and Elizabeth Shue retired after making Leaving Las Vegas, they would have done so with impunity. Both actors are superb, and bring the excellent screenplay to life with the help of some masterful dramatic cinematography.

Cage plays a suicidal alcoholic who has come to Las Vegas to drink himself to death, and Shue plays the unexpected problem - a prostitute who falls in love with him. The only reason this film did not receive a ten from me is the voice-over technique which was tastefully minimal, but, in my opinion, the only mistake the director made. It does help to provide closure, but I felt that closure was an unnecessary compromise here.

This is not an entertaining film, and in truth, I am surprised by its popularity among typical audiences. It is a serious film, and a work of art, but fun is not to be found here. DO NOT see this film if you dislike feeling emotionally drained and ethically challenged, and DO NOT see it if you are very prone to boredom, or easily offended by sexual violence, substance abuse and the horror of daily life on the street.

This is an intensely sad film about love shared by people who are caught in the gravity of their lives and can not escape. It is also a story of redemption and respect, found in improbable places. It is NOT a fun-filled frolicking romantic comedy, but rather, the opposite, and it achieves a beauty, dignity and power almost unique among films treating such starkly real and disturbing subjects.


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