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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.




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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:
Moses Znaimer ...
Waiter (as Wally Shawn)
Bus Driver
Louis Del Grande ...
Mr. Shapiro


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


Where dreamers can be winners. 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)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert Goulet: The real life singer as himself singing at the opening of a hospital wing. See more »


The elephant-shaped building Chrissie sees in the opening sequence is Lucy the Elephant, a landmark in Margate, NJ. Margate is south of Atlantic City. The vehicle she is in is clearly traveling south, AWAY from Atlantic City. See more »


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

Kate Reid is credited as "Kare Reid" in the end credits. See more »


Referenced in Marseille (2004) See more »


On the Boardwalk of Atlantic City
©1946 - Twentieth Century Music Corp.
Administered World Wide by BREGMAN, BOCCO & CONN INC.
Music by Josef Myrow (uncredited)
Lyrics by Mack Gordon (uncredited)
Sung by Ann Burns (credited to cast list), Marie Burns (credited to cast list) and Jean Burns (credited to cast list)
See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty low key film, yet still a strong performance by Lancaster. I love squeezed lemon drops too!
9 February 2008 | by See all my reviews

"Atlantic City" is overall a well done film that's pays homage to the city itself and is somewhat a going away present for legendary Burt Lancaster. The film seems low key though even though drama is present it's not your typical gangster film of blood and violence and the plot is pretty simple and not to complex. Burt Lancaster is aging mobster Lou Pascal who takes care of an aging woman in fact a deceased mobsters wife, yet Lou is still in the business and collects at random on the boardwalk. Then enter Sally Matthews(Susan Sarandon) a waitress and card dealer in training for one of the casinos has her life turned up when her sister and ex show up from Philadelphia after finding a big bag of white powder! The paths of all the characters cross, yet as I said again it's mostly low key most important the relationship of escape routes develop for the lives of both Lou and Sally upon meeting. And the scenes of seeing Susan Sarandon wash and bath by rubbing lemon juice from squeezed lemons was very sexy! Clearly one of the more erotic memories in cinema history. Louis Malle wrapped it up well by being low key ending with both male and female lead characters getting what they wanted escaping to a new life. The scenes of A.C. was great and to top it all off Burt Lancaster was very classy and smooth in his performance.

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