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Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  9 February 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 89,583 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)
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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
See  »

Did You Know?


In one scene, Ben screams "Snake eyes" while throwing dices. Years later, Nicolas Cage would star in a film called Snake Eyes (1998). See more »


The checks (casino chips) in play on the dice game in particular are unlabeled. Those are hard plastic play at home chips. Every joint has the name and denomination of their checks on a round label in the middle of their, usually, clay checks or sometimes a hard, slippery composite check with a metal insert about the size of a dime. The checks are labeled for obvious security reasons. See more »


Sera: What's up?
Ben Sanderson: I was looking for you tonight. I don't know if you've a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, but I thought maybe we could get some dinner.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References Apocalypse Now (1979) See more »


Soundtrack available on Pangaea Records
Released through I.R.S. Records
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.

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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_
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