7.6/10
94,503
287 user 122 critic

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

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.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 30 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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:

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

9 February 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adiós a Las Vegas  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,600,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$31,968,347 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie that Ben and Sera are watching when they lie by the pool at the Desert Hotel is The Third Man (1949). See more »

Goofs

Yuri is supposed to be swearing in Latvian on the phone. In fact, he speaks gibberish. See more »

Quotes

Sera: Don't you like me, Ben?
Ben Sanderson: Sera... what you don't understand is - no, see, no. You can never, never ask me to stop drinking. Do you understand?
Sera: I do. I really do.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Married: Family Day (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Ben And Sera Theme
(uncredited)
Written by Anthony Marinelli & Mike Figgis
Performed by Anthony Marinelli & Mike Figgis
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Unconditional love in an alcoholic haze.
17 June 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ben Sanderson is an alcoholic, who after getting released from his well paid screen writing position, heads to Vegas with his severance pay. Where he seriously plans to drink himself to death. But whilst cruising down the strip he meets Sera, a nicely turned out prostitute, and both troubled souls come together in an unlikely romance.

Based around the semi-autobiographical novel by John O'Brien, an alcoholic who committed suicide before the film made it to the screen, this is a sad, dark and deeply upsetting picture. Sanderson and his plight has no motive, we are not fed reasons for his nihilistic behaviour. We find him at the beginning of the film joyously hurtling thru a liquor market isle, promptly filling his shopping cart with bottles of liquor. From here on in we know that this is no ordinary film about an alcoholic trying to get off the booze, we are on a train to Bleakville, stops at Love and Liberation seem a very long way away.

Enter Sera, the sweet and wholesome prostitute, who having escaped the abusive and borderline psycho pimp, Yuri, is herself in need of liberation. But can she carry the burden of both as this unlikely and almost certainly doomed romance starts to become significant? Nicholas Cage as Sanderson is terrific, very compelling, realistic and segueing from zany wired comedy to the desolation of Sanderson's death wish descent within a heart beat. Elisabeth Shue as Sera is also incredibly potent, if perhaps guilty of looking too pristine, and prompting questions of why she would be drawn to Ben's world anyway?

Shue none the less works her socks off to make Sera sensitive and believable. Directed by Mike Figgis, who shot it beautifully in Super 16 film, the film won a Best Actor Academy Award for Cage, and garnered nominations for Best Actress {Shue} & Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay {both Figgis}. Massively popular and praised on release, it has lost none of the impact that it had back then. 8/10


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