MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 211 this week

Hard Eight (1996)
"Sydney" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  28 February 1997 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 22,480 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 129 user | 56 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

John has lost all his money. He sits outside a diner in the desert when Sydney happens along, buys him coffee, then takes him to Reno and shows him how to get a free room without losing ... See full summary »

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 46 titles
created 05 Sep 2011
 
a list of 41 titles
created 06 Jan 2013
 
list image
a list of 27 titles
created 23 Jul 2013
 
a list of 38 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 43 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Hard Eight" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Hard Eight (1996)

Hard Eight (1996) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Hard Eight.

User Polls

1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Magnolia (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An epic mosaic of interrelated characters in search of love, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jason Robards, Julianne Moore
Boogie Nights (1997)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The story of a young man's adventures in the Californian pornography industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds
The Master (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciarán Hinds
Blood Simple. (1984)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Five people's lives that are curiously intertwined happen to all be at a diner at the same time. An old man (Hall) gives advice to a young man (Baltz) about his cheating wife and best ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Kirk Baltz, Scott Coffey, Miguel Ferrer
Short | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The rise and fall of Dirk Diggler.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Michael Stein, Robert Ridgely, Eddie Delcore
Back Beyond (Video 2013)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A montage of unused scenes, shots and takes from Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master'.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, David H. Stevens, Jimmy Stevens
Flagpole Special (Video 1998)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Chris Penn, John C. Reilly
Blossoms & Blood (Video 2003)
Comedy | Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A collection of alternate takes and deleted material from the Paul Thomas Anderson film Punch-Drunk Love (2002) are compiled and matched with the Jon Brion song "Here We Go" in this ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Salvador Curiel
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
John
...
...
Jimmy
...
Hostage
...
Young Craps Player (as Phillip Seymour Hoffman)
Nathanael Cooper ...
Restroom Attendant
Wynn White ...
Waitress
Robert Ridgely ...
Keno Bar Manager
Kathleen Campbell ...
Keno Girl
Michael J. Rowe ...
Pit Boss
Peter D'Allesandro ...
Bartender
Steve Blane ...
Stickman
Xaleese ...
Cocktail Waitress
...
Jimmy's Girl
Edit

Storyline

John has lost all his money. He sits outside a diner in the desert when Sydney happens along, buys him coffee, then takes him to Reno and shows him how to get a free room without losing much money. Under Sydney's fatherly tutelage, John becomes a successful small-time professional gambler, and all is well, until he falls for Clementine, a cocktail waitress and sometimes hooker. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

money | hooker | waitress | gambler | casino | See more »

Taglines:

When good luck is a long shot, you have to hedge your bets. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, some violence and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hard Eight  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$69,486 (USA) (28 February 1997)

Gross:

$142,356 (USA) (7 March 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The original shooting script included a different ending for the film where we discover that Jimmy had betrayed Sydney and given his name (and John's and Clementine's) to the man who was being held hostage in the motel. The man tracks down Sydney outside the same highway coffee shop where he met John and shoots him three times, killing him. It's not known whether this scene was ever actually filmed. See more »

Goofs

When Sydney first walks to John sitting outside the restaurant, the camera tracks behind him. At the end of the shot, the camera's plastic cover (it was a damp day) is visible on the left in the door glass. See more »

Quotes

Sydney: This is a very fucked-up situation.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Magnolia (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Country's Cool
Courtesy OGM/Old Georg Music, Hollywood, California
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
a first-time filmmaker very well on his way...
23 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Paul Thomas Anderson's first film, Sydney (titled 'Hard Eight' by the distributors), has a story, but its more concerned about the characters, and how these actors play them. Like its inspiration, Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le Flambeur, understanding who these people are in this seedy, desperate environment, is the key. The script is intelligent, and contains a truth that isn't found in most "off-beat" crime films. In fact, the crimes in the film, while not without the importance to the story, is secondary to how these people are around one another, the courtesy, the un-said things, the mishaps, and the truths. In tune with Melville, the film is decidedly European- the story is quite leisurely, almost too much so, but in the characters Anderson has created and fleshed out he has people we can care about.

Philip Baker Hall, in a towering performance of professionalism (he's one of those great character actors who practically wears the years of his life on his face, not to sound pretentious about it), is the title character of Sydney. He offers Jimmy (John C. Reilly, believable in a role seemingly more like himself than his Reed Rothchild in Anderson's Boogie Nights) a cigarette and a cup of coffee, and then finds out through the conversation his mother's passed on. He offers up an intricate, but rewarding, way of making money in a casino without laying down a card (the slots, and a different scheme). Flash ahead two years later (awesome transition, by the way) where Jimmy is with Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow, a good performance). Things seem to be going alright all around, except that Jimmy has a violent (shown off-screen, of course) run-in, and needs Sydney's help. But there's another secret that has yet to be told.

All the little details of the story are accentuated by a directorial style that is usually peerless, and the tracking shots that have become paramount in Anderson's films (i.e. opening of Boogie Nights, walking through TV studio in Magnolia) are as smooth and interesting as anything from Scorsese. The Vegas Muzak is a touch that adds, like with Melville, a cool kind of touch not at all un-like film-noir. It's actually a thin line that Anderson is walking; how to make the Melville story's elements (an aging gambler past his prime, watching over the young people in their own messes, seeing the old turn to new) as one's own. I think he's achieved that in the film with a sense of sincerity with the characters dialog with each other. Perhaps Sydney has a different agenda than just being friendly. But Anderson wisely allows Hall to make the right choices with just certain facial expressions, what isn't said that counts. And the scenes with Samuel L. Jackson bring out the kind of intensity, sometimes quiet sometimes not, that hallmark his best performances. Maybe not a masterpiece, but it certainly isn't the work of an amateur, assured in his own script as a director, and in the strengths of his four key players.


43 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
PSH playing craps benihana83
A great little GEM!!! Dissector
Sydney or Hard Eight butterfinger
Hard Eight is a better title Zosoerob
Sydney's free room comp technique johnson3000
2 questions re: Hoffman scene + Seymor's past d_m_s
Discuss Hard Eight (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?