7.6/10
99,395
297 user 102 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.

Director:

Writers:

(based upon the novel by), (screenplay by)
Reviews
Popularity
2,227 ( 323)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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

Cast

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

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The bartender at the breakfast/biker bar that wipes the blood from Ben's face is played by Julian Lennon, son of John Lennon. The dark-haired prostitute at the casino bar is played by Law and Order SVU's Mariska Hargitay, daughter of Jayne Mansfield. The last cab driver in the movie, who tells Sera she is a "pretty young lady who can get any man she wants," is played by legendary soul singer Lou Rawls. Another bartender is played by Danny Huston of the famous Huston actors family (brother of Anjelica Huston, son of John Huston and grandson of Walter Huston.) See more »

Goofs

The level of liquid in Ben's glass when he's packing to move to Sera's place. See more »

Quotes

Ben Sanderson: Don't you think you'd get a little bored, living with a drunk?
Sera: Well... that's what I want.
Ben Sanderson: You haven't seen the worst of it. I knock things over... throw up all the time. These past few days I've been very controlled. You're like some sort of antidote that mixes with the liquor and keeps me in balance. But, that won't last forever.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Husbands and Wives (1992) 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

Viva Greek Tragedies
5 January 2004 | by (Valencia, California) – See all my reviews

Not unlike John Huston's Under The Volcano, Leaving Las Vegas borrows from Greek mythology, obliquely mirroring the tragedy and pathos of Orpheus' failed attempt to rescue his dead wife, Eurydice, from Hades. Mike Figgis obliges us with a helpful hint in the scene where Nicolas Cage gives Elizabeth Shue a present of earrings: Greek cameos.

As in the ancient tale, love challenges the inevitability of death, although, in the case of LLV, roles are upended and sometimes blurred, and Orphean references are either thinly disguised, or non-specific to the point of being thoroughly sublimated. Academic, to be sure, but completely acceptable as long as LLV can sustain itself and remain engaging. And it surely does, thanks to Figgis' intelligent script and direction, Cage's role as a down-and-out writer and his protracted self-destruction, and Shue's portrayal of a lonely hooker, lifting that old bromide beyond what could have been routine, to a level not seen since Jane Fonda's character in Klute. Excellent performances all around.

With all that said, this film is not for everyone (in particular those who only respond to gratuitous sex, car chases, and mindless pyrotechnics). The lurid depictions of despair, self-loathing, and violence could put off even the most hardened social worker. In my mind's eye, I could see psychiatrists amongst the theater audiences, furiously jotting down their observations. Understandable; the two principal characters are, in the common parlance, screwed up. One cannot cope with failure, so decides to opt out, while the other does cope, but only barely, existing along the ragged edges of what passes for society in Nevada Hell. These details, though, tend to outline and, indeed, strengthen the true heart of this film: Sacrifice and Unconditional Love.

If this film is not for everyone, then who is it for? Those with real life experience and the maturity gained thereby. Those with strong emotional constitutions. Anyone appreciative of impassioned performances. Freudians. Alcoholics, recovering and otherwise. Pimps. Priests. Classicists. Petty whiners in need of perspective. And, more than anyone else, couples who plan on breaking up. In sickness and in health, 'til death do us part. 9.5 out of 10.


67 of 87 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page