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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. Maria Littauer
...
The Businessman
Willo Hausman ...
Girl with Book
Karen Kohlhaas ...
Prison Ward Patient
Steven Goldstein ...
Billy Hahn
...
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:

Human nature is a sucker bet. 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:

Dom gry  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,585,639 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The numeral 187 appears in the film in different instances. A license plate reads "HSX 187". Also it is the number of the airport locker used at the end. 187 is the police code for murder. 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

Joey: The bitch is a booster.
Mike: The bitch is a born thief, man.
Mr. Dean: So, you had her made from the jump?
Mike: I'm tellin' ya. A ton of fuckin' bricks! Show me some REAL con-men.
Joey: Yeah, we showed her some con-men.
Mike: We showed her some DINOSAUR con-men. Some old style.
Joey: Yes, sir.
Mike: Years from now, they're gonna have to go to a museum to see a frame like this.
Joey: That's right.
Mr. Dean: Took her money and screwed her, too.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in House of Games: Interview with Joe Mantegna (2007) 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

 
a con in itself
28 November 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Celebrated playwright David Mamet's debut as a film director may be, with all its stark formality and icy pessimism, too cool and detached for its own good. There's no disputing his talent as a writer, but he does little to adapt the rhythm of his stage dialogue to the screen, and his story of confidence tricksters is a con in itself, leading viewers to expect perhaps more than they'll get. Once the plot begins to take shape it reveals some fascinating details about the ways in which professional swindlers take advantage of human nature, as a noted psychiatrist (Lindsay Crouse) learns after being seduced by the games people play (on themselves and each other). The script sets up a clever dilemma without ever providing a clear solution but this isn't, after all, meant to be a caper. The film is more a character study, but with a hole in the middle: the characters all seem to exist in an isolated vacuum, almost as if, despite the natural settings, they were (surprise) performing on stage.


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