Atlantic City (1980)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  3 April 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 10,872 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 44 critic

In a corrupt city, a small-time gangster and the estranged wife of a pot dealer finds themselves thrown together in an escapade of love, money, drugs, and danger.



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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hollis McLaren ...
Al Waxman ...
Moses Znaimer ...
Sean Sullivan ...
Waiter (as Wally Shawn)
Bus Driver
Louis Del Grande ...
Mr. Shapiro


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. Written by Dale O'Connor <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Laugh, Cry and Dream . . . [Australia Theatrical] See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

3 April 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atlantic City  »

Box Office


$7,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Uncredited first film of actor Elias Koteas who worked as an extra. See more »


Near the end of the film Grace tells Chrissie that they'd both lost their men to a shooting. But Chrissie's man was stabbed, not shot. See more »


Lou: I'm a lover!
Grace Pinza: Numbnuts!
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 »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


Flat Foot Floogie
Music by Slim Gaillard and Slam Stewart
Lyrics by Bud Green
See more »

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User Reviews

2 November 1998 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

ATLANTIC CITY is one of those perfect little movies in which writing, direction, acting, and setting all come together seamlessly. The story is a subtle and wistful blending of comedy and drama that is both true to life and touching. There is great resonance between the characters' situations and the mood of Atlantic City, beautifully captured at a pivotal time in its history. Burt Lancaster gives one of the great performances of all time and really should have won the Oscar. Susan Sarandon is also superb, and their scenes together are unforgettable. Kate Reid as a faded gangster's moll is a standout in the fine supporting cast. This is perhaps Louis Malle's finest movie, and, in my opinion, one of the 10 best movies of the 80s.

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