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House of Games (1987)

A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men.

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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Margaret Ford
...
Mike
...
Joey
...
Dr. Littauer
...
The Businessman
Willo Hausman ...
Girl with Book
Karen Kohlhaas ...
Prison Ward Patient
...
Billy Hahn (as Steve Goldstein)
...
Bartender / House of Games
...
George / Vegas Man
G. Roy Levin ...
Poker Player
Bob Lumbra ...
Poker Player
Andy Potok ...
Poker Player
Allen Soule ...
Poker Player
Ben Blakeman ...
Bartender / Charlie's Tavern
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Storyline

A famous psychologist, Margaret Ford, decides to try to help one of her patients get out of a gambling debt. She visits the bar where Mike, to whom the debt is owed, runs poker games. He convinces her to help him in a game: her assignment is to look for "tells", or give-away body language. What seems easy to her becomes much more complex. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

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Taglines:

Nothing is as it seems. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 October 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bordet fanger  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,585,639 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene outside with Margaret and Dr. Littauer was filmed in front of the main entrance to the iconic art deco PacMed Building on Seattle's Beacon Hill. At the time the PacMed Building was a medical facility, but would later become the headquarters (until 2010) of Amazon. See more »

Goofs

Margaret asks the House of Games's barman to call Mike out. Then he enters in the game room and closes the door. We don't see him comes back. So Mike opens the door and comes to talk her. During the conversation we don't see the barman behind the counter. But after Mike went to the game room, the barman appears behind the counter. See more »

Quotes

Mike: Wait, wait, wait. What is this? What are you gonna do to me? What are you fronting off about? And if I'm this bad dude, why don't I just take out some gun, blow you to a billion parts?
Dr. Margaret Ford: I'll tell you why. Cuz I think you're just a bully.
Mike: [chuckles] Just a bully? What, you're not gonna let me carry your books? Aren't you a caution.
Dr. Margaret Ford: Let's talk turkey, pal.
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Soundtracks

Fugue from the Toccata in C Minor
(BWV 911)
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Warren Bernhardt, piano
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User Reviews

 
A Journey to the Dark Side
23 October 2016 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In Seattle, Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) is a successful psychiatrist and writer of a best-seller. When her client Billy Hahn (Steven Goldstein) tells that he owes US$ 25,000 to the gambler Mike (Joe Mantegna), he threatens to commit suicide with a gun. Billy also tells that Mike will kill him anyway and she is not helping him. Margaret feels powerless but she promises to help him if he delivers his pistol to her. Margaret goes to the House of the Games, a place where gamblers play pool in the saloon and poker in the rear, and she meets the cynical con man Mike. He tells that Billy owes him only US$ 800 and he would forget the debt if she helps him in a poker game. Margaret observes a player but she finds in the end that it was a scheme of Mike and his friends to take money from her. On the next morning, Margaret visits a patient and she feels that she cannot help her. Her friend and adviser Dr. Maria Littauer (Lilia Skala) suggests that she should give a break in her career and write another book. Margaret seeks out Mike and asks to see how he operates since she wants to study the confidence games to write a book. He agrees and Margaret begins her journey to her dark side.

"House of the Games" is the directorial debut of the writer David Mamet with an intelligent thriller. The story of a psychiatrist that feels powerless to help her patients and befriends the con man Mike and his friends to write a new book is a powerful characters study. Mike' scheme is predictable but the plot keeps the attention of the viewer until the last scene. In addition, the cinematography is top-notch. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Jogo de Emoções" ("The Game of Emotions")


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