Down 140 this week

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  9 February 1996 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 89,513 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 279 user | 118 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.



(novel), (screenplay)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Won 1 Oscar. Another 30 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

8MM (1999)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A private investigator is hired to discover if a "snuff film" is authentic or not.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A fast-lane investment broker, offered the opportunity to see how the other half lives, wakes up to find that his sports car and girlfriend have become a mini-van and wife.

Director: Brett Ratner
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Téa Leoni, Don Cheadle
Adaptation. (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean for the screen.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A Chicago weather man, separated from his wife and children, debates whether professional and personal success are mutually exclusive.

Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Hope Davis, Nicholas Hoult
Snake Eyes (1998)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A shady police detective finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy at an important boxing match in an Atlantic City casino.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, John Heard
Moonstruck (1987)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Loretta Castorini, a book keeper from Brooklyn, New York, finds herself in a difficult situation when she falls for the brother of the man she agreed to marry (the best friend of her late husband who died seven years previously).

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Cher, Nicolas Cage, Olympia Dukakis
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Terence McDonagh is a drug- and gambling-addled detective in post-Katrina New Orleans investigating the killing of five Senegalese immigrants.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Russell M. Haeuser
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When a childless couple of an ex-con and an ex-cop decide to help themselves to one of another family's quintupelets, their lives get more complicated than they anticipated.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter, Trey Wilson
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A police officer promises to share his lottery ticket with a waitress in lieu of a tip.

Director: Andrew Bergman
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda, Rosie Perez
The Rock (1996)
Action | Adventure | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A mild-mannered chemist and an ex-con must lead the counterstrike when a rogue group of military men, led by a renegade general, threaten a nerve gas attack from Alcatraz against San Francisco.

Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A phobic con artist and his protégé are on the verge of pulling off a lucrative swindle when the former's teenage daughter arrives unexpectedly.

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Alison Lohman, Sam Rockwell
Face/Off (1997)
Action | Crime | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity of a ruthless terrorist. But the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the cop with the same method.

Director: John Woo
Stars: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen


Cast overview, first billed only:
Kim Adams ...
Stuart Regen ...
Albert Henderson ...
Man at Strip Bar (as Al Henderson)
Shashi Bhatia ...
Anne Lange ...


Because his wife left him and took his son with her, screenwriter Ben Sanderson has started drinking, a lot. He's getting more and more isolated and he troubles women in bars because he wants to have sex with them. When he gets fired, he decides to leave everything behind and move to Las Vegas and drink himself to death. In Las Vegas he meets Sera, a prostitute with some problems as well who he moves in with. Written by Marco van Hoof <k_luifje7@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prostitute | sex | alcoholic | bar | love | See All (102) »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality and language, violence and pervasive alcohol abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adiós a Las Vegas  »

Box Office


$3,600,000 (estimated)


$31,968,347 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In one scene near the start of the film set in a Los Angeles restaurant, two film producers (maybe agents) are having dinner with two actresses. One of the actresses, played by Emily Procter, says "I think the nicest thing about the film actually is that we get to handle guns, and I had never done that before". Years later, she would portrays a ballistics expert on CSI: Miami (2002). See more »


The toilet paper is folded when Sera first sits down to urinate. The next shot of her sitting on the toilet shows that the toilet paper isn't folded any more. See more »


Sera: [Ben has been on another binge] I want you to see a doctor.
Ben Sanderson: Sera... I'm not gonna see a doctor. Perhaps now would be a good time for me to move back to a motel.
Sera: And do what? Rot away in a room? We're not gonna talk about that. Fuck you, we're not gonna talk about that!
[starts to cry]
Sera: You're staying here! You could do this for me. I've given you gallons of free will around here.
[throws her chopsticks on the table]
Sera: You could do this one thing for me!
Sera: I have to go to work now.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits do not appear until fifteen minutes into the film. See more »


Featured in The Death of "Superman Lives": What Happened? (2015) See more »


You Turn Me On
Written by Jacques Merali and Alain Bernardin
Courtesy of The Crazy Horse Saloon, Paris
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Powerful Film About Loneliness And Acceptance
15 May 2005 | by (Seattle, WA) – See all my reviews

Remarkable. Touching. Riveting. Leaving Las Vegas is all of these and then some. I have not seen a film of this magnitude about loneliness and acceptance in such a while that I was in tears for much of the run time.

Nicholas Cage is Ben, a man who has lost his wife and child, throws his job away, and takes all of his remaining money to buy as much liquor as possible and "drink himself to death" in the city of Las Vegas. He has given up all hope, with no wish to live, but for one reason or another, wants a companion to share in his misery, but not try to save him. He finds this companion in a hooker, Sera, played by Elizabeth Shue. They immediately form a strong relationship based on one night of talking about their lives. Sera in particular quickly grows attached to Ben, for no other reason than she has been alone her whole life and wants nothing more than to feel that want and need by someone.

Cage won his first Oscar for his role as Ben, and how deserved it was. He was astounding, perfection, down to every single tick, the volume of his voice, the pain and tragedy buried in his eyes. I could not believe the extent of his role, the dedication and time he invested in bringing this character to life. Same goes for Elizabeth Shue, who with a simple glance at a person, she reveals her entire self, and no one even dares to notice except for Ben. This neediness is apparent, she wants to hold onto this relationship so badly, yet what makes their relationship work is total and complete acceptance of their respective decisions. He will not tell her to stop being a hooker, and she in return can never ask him to stop drinking. And it is in that factor that makes this film worth watching. To be totally accepted by those around them, to open themselves up to such an extreme.

Leaving Las Vegas is a sobering film about connections, loneliness, acceptance, and a small little island of hope that is Ben and Sera. They are two good people, depicted in a world full of sorrows and misdeeds, who latch onto each other and never let go. They were nothing but ghosts, till that chance encounter, and became each others worlds. Cage and Shue bring these good people to life in such an extraordinary way, making Leaving Las Vegas a film to be treasured and remembered for years to come. I highly recommend this film.

134 of 157 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
i LOVE this film but HATED the soundtrack midnight_cinephile
Yuri yelling at Sera: Translation? Fist_Rothbone
Why did they choose Elizabeth Shue for this part? Winter23
After the rape scene... lisacamillek
Top 10 Movies of Your Loneliness Moments ColdenScence
Cage went on a real drinking binge while filming mr_polite_
Discuss Leaving Las Vegas (1995) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page