MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,563 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 22,778 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

Editors' Spotlight

Alpha House Premieres Today

All ten episodes of the second season of "Alpha House" are available now. Watch them now, only on Prime Instant Video.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 33 titles
created 19 Feb 2012
 
a list of 28 titles
created 11 Jul 2013
 
GOT
a list of 44 titles
created 19 Oct 2013
 
a list of 33 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 33 titles
created 3 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
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
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
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, CiarĂ¡n Hinds
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 8.2/10 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  

Paul Thomas Anderson spoofs the famous 1980's Mattress Man commercial outtake using Dean Trumbell, the character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in Anderson's Punch Drunk Love, and he ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, David H. Stevens, Jimmy Stevens
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
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
Couch (TV Short 2003)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

A man (Sandler) goes shopping for a new couch.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Adam Sandler
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

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

One of the reasons why the film was renamed was because the studio thought people might think a film called "Sydney" might be about Australia. See more »

Goofs

Camera operator's shadow visible on the ground during the first scene where Sydney meets John (full-frame version only). See more »

Quotes

Jimmy: What I mean - what I believe... is that you killed his father... like the stories I heard go. Now, if somebody killed my father... I would feel the need to do something. The stories I heard - you know, stories get around - is that you used to be a hard-ass. You were a hard-ass and you took his dad out, Sydney. So you think - what? You can just walk through this life... without being punished for it? Shit, man. I know all those guys you know. Floyd Gondolli, Jimmy Gator, Mumbles O'Malley. They ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Is Free
By Frederick Knight (as F. Knight) / Bettye Crutcher (as B. Crutcher)
Performed by Brenton Wood
Courtesy of Hi Records
Under License From EMI Capitol Music Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Calm and Collected Character Study
19 January 2004 | by (Atlanta, GA) – See all my reviews

Hard Eight (1996/Paul Thomas Anderson) ***1/2 out of ****

The camera opens to a diner called "Jack's Coffee Shop". A semi is pulling out of the parking lot. After it pulls away, two people are revealed. A young man sitting by the door with his face to the ground, and an older man who is walking towards him. Even though we can't see his face, we know he is old, just by the way he moves. He asks the young man if he would like some coffee and cigarettes. And this is how Paul Thomas Anderson's first film begins.

"Hard Eight" is about a down and out loser named John (John C. Reilly), who sits outside a diner, until he is encountered by a mysterious old man named Sydney (Philip Baker Hall). Sydney offers him $50, and a lesson in gambling. Before to long, they are in Reno, making lots of money. Then two people get in the way of their friendship: Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), a hooker/waitress; and Jimmy (Samuel L. Jackson), a mischievous security guard who seems to be hiding something.

I never thought that Paul Thomas Anderson could make such a grounded film with substance. His usual films are flashy ensembles, and they move fast. But "Hard Eight" is a different story. It is a slow paced Film Noir, that is both quiet and observant. The cinematography is drab, and the direction is tranquil. Philip Baker Hall and Paltrow turn in good performances. But it is Jackson who really shines. The twist could have been over done, but instead, it is handled nicely and effectively.

"Hard Eight" is by far one of the most interesting character studies of the 90's. I like this cool side of Anderson, and I wish he would use it more often than his usual over the top formula (although I like both). This is no classic, but I found it worth buying.

-30-


18 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
PSH playing craps benihana83
Hard Eight is a better title Zosoerob
A great little GEM!!! Dissector
Sydney or Hard Eight butterfinger
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:
?