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Atlantic City (1980)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Romance  |  3 April 1981 (USA)
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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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Title: Atlantic City (1980)

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 27 wins & 14 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


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)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Michel Legrand wrote an entire score for the film that was never used. See more »


In the beginning of this film we see a shot of a very large hotel being demolished, presumably to make way for the construction of a new hotel and casino. The imploded hotel is the old Traymore hotel one of Atlantic City's largest and most famous pre-casino resorts. The movie portrays the hotel as being demolished in 1979-80 so that it can be replaced with a new hotel/casino, gambling just being legalized in Atlantic City in 1978. However, the Traymore was closed and demolished in 1972 six years before gambling was legalized in AC and seven to eight years before the film was made. See more »


Lou: Yes, it used to be beautiful - what with the rackets, whoring, guns.
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 »


La Marseillaise
Music by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
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 (Petersburg, Virginia) – 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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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