7.6/10
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293 user 125 critic

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Ben Sanderson, a Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his alcoholism, 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 (103) »

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:

|

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:

(Digital)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Permits were not issued for some street scenes. Hence, some scenes were done in one shot, to avoid any police contact. See more »

Goofs

During their first "real" date in a restaurant, a guy with a blue and white shirt passes them in the same direction twice in within three seconds. See more »

Quotes

Sera: So, Ben with an "N"... what brings you to Las Vegas? Business convention?
Ben Sanderson: I came here to drink myself to death.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

My One and Only Love
Lyrics by Robert Mellin
Composed by Guy Wood
Performed by Sting
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Powerful Film About Loneliness And Acceptance
15 May 2005 | by 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.


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