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Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  9 February 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 89,521 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.



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



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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
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Did You Know?


During Cage's Oscar acceptance speech for Best Leading Actor role in the film, he thanked his "gorgeous wife" Patricia Arquette whom he married just a year prior to the ceremony. The two finalized their divorce in 2001. See more »


Ben flips out and overturns a blackjack table in a casino. The tables in casinos are fixed to the floor to minimize the risk of someone stealing chips by "accidentally" overturning the table and scattering them on the floor. See more »


Peter: You're sick... that's all I have in cash. Now please, don't drink it in here.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Featured in The 68th Annual Academy Awards (1996) See more »


Written by Nicolas Cage & Phil Roy
Performed by Nicolas Cage
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Cage's Career Milestone
22 October 2004 | by (Las Vegas, NV) – See all my reviews

"Leaving Las Vegas" is an insightful, harrowing experience about the binding forces of true romance, the power of encouragement and compassion, and the tragic effects of alcoholism. The performances are absolutely astounding: Nicholas Cage delivers one of the most unforgettable, genuine, and human performances ever captured on film (a well-deserved Oscar for every reason), and Elisabeth Shue, as his soul provider and protector through the trauma of his alcoholic turmoil is sentimental, passionate, and definitely deserving of the Oscar for Best Actress in 1995, providing us with the eye of Ben Sanderson's heart and soul, as his equally troubled lover who has pledged to stay with him through tears and trials. Director Mike Figgis is intensely effective in following the many turmoils of Sanderson as he copes with terminal alcoholism, even going so far as to declaring he will "drink himself to death in Las Vegas", and the effects of his struggle upon his functions, health, and spirit, as well as the corresponding attributes of his loyal lover, Sara. I'm certain that anyone who has experienced the turmoil of alcoholism or has been deeply involved with such an abuser will gravely appreciate the realism and depth of this film to address the egregious effects of drinking constantly, and how this alcoholism tears many lives literally apart. I was horrified by Sanderson's dependence upon alcoholism as a substitute for happiness and control, and Nicholas Cage's uncanny human performance, with all of his appropriate, convincing twitches and erratic movements, enhanced the compassion and torment I felt for this character, who has literally surrendered his life to this terrible disease of alcoholism. We gasp in horror as we see Sanderson taking a shower with a bottle of gin in hand, and trembling to the refrigerator for a bottle of vodka: these are the true, tragic symptoms of alcoholism, and this film does an excellent job in addressing them. A brilliant, tragic, yet extremely essential study of the disease of alcoholism and how it can destroy every aspiration, every desire, and every state of consciousness we have within ourselves, when we are constantly craving "one more bottle of vodka" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week... Nicholas Cage delivers one of the most heartfelt and eerily convincing performances in the history of film, and this is one lamentable, subliminal look at one of the saddest and unnecessary addictions in humans: striving to either enhance, better, or in this case, destroy their lives in constantly drinking intoxicating and deadly substances. Sanderson to Sara: "You can never make me stop drinking"--- the sad, yet frighteningly real state of mind of a disparaged, hopeless, alcoholic. **** out of ****

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i LOVE this film but HATED the soundtrack midnight_cinephile
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After the rape scene... lisacamillek
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Cage went on a real drinking binge while filming mr_polite_
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