7.3/10
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118 user 64 critic

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
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where the game is never over. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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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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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ricky Jay is a sleight-of-hand artist and an acknowledged authority on the art of the con. In an NPR interview, Jay related that when David Mamet needed a short-change scam to be explained in "House of Games", he asked Jay for details of an authentic short-change hustle. However, Jay did not want to betray the confidence of the hustlers he knew who still used various short-change cons for their "livelihood". The envelope switch you see in the final film is an original switch invented by Ricky Jay specially for the film. Later, it was reported that an amateur thief had been caught attempting to use the switch as he had learned it from the film. See more »

Goofs

When Margaret first shoots Mike, a hole appears in his upper right pant leg; however, he grabs the part of his leg just behind his knee (well below the hole). See more »

Quotes

Mike: You can't bluff someone who's not paying attention.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shade (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

This True Love Stopped For You (But Not For Me)
by Rokko Jans
Sung by June Shellene
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User Reviews

The art of the grift exposed
29 March 2001 | by See all my reviews

HOUSE OF GAMES is one of those David mamet films I see and I sit in the theatre and say to myself I wish I could write like that. He uses hustles and con artists as a backdrop on the art of the lie and theft. lie the person who blows you a kiss and tells you they love you and behind your back is plotting your destruction. The film stars JOE MANTEGA and LINSAY CROUSE as hustlers trying to eek out a dishonest buck, Mantenga teachers Crouse the art of the grift, or the quick buck lie. The film uses a noir art house look which is refreshing. I haven't seen a good movie in a longtime. I remember ones like this and I smile, at least this was worth the price of admission as something enjoyable. There are very few films I go see now, most are pre-packaged teen skewing crap. (To each their own)I still find jewels in foreign cinema and tv. I keep hoping for a beakthrough. This film will not appeal to everyone but has a quality to it in prose and style and characterization lacking from most movies.


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