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Reindeer Games (2000)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  25 February 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 29,727 users   Metascore: 37/100
Reviews: 209 user | 122 critic | 33 from

After assuming his dead cellmate's identity to get with his girlfriend, an ex-con finds himself the reluctant participant in a casino heist.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dana Stubblefield ...
Tom Heaton ...
Michael Sunczyk ...
Douglas Arthurs ...
Distant Inmate #2 (as Douglas H. Arthurs)
Guard #1
Ron Sauvé ...
Guard #2 (as Ron Sauve)
Prisoner #1 (as Ron Hyatt)


After being imprisoned for six years on a grand theft auto charge, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) and his cellmate Nick (James Frain) are finally going to be paroled. After hearing endless stories during his incarceration of Nick's romantic correspondence to a woman named Ashley he has never met (Charlize Theron), Rudy is looking forward to returning to his family and having a fresh cup of hot chocolate. When Nick is killed during a prison riot, Rudy decides to assume Nick's identity upon release from prison and meet up with the unknown woman. Burdened with a base knowledge of Nick's Indian casino employment past, Rudy finds himself in too deep with Ashley's brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise) and is violently forced to cooperate with a casino robbery that Gabriel and his gang have been planning with Nick in mind. Written by Brian Orndorf

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The trap is set. The game is on.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deception  »

Box Office


$34,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,128,356 (USA) (25 February 2000)


ESP 244,329,691 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Frankenheimer's last feature-length, theatrically distributed film. See more »


When Rudy is pointing the water pistol at one of the gang members, at one angle, his arm is fully extended. At a different angle, his elbow is bent so we can see the gun as his face in the same shot. When they cut back and forth, Rudy's arm jumps from extended to bent and back. See more »


[first lines]
Rudy Duncan: [narrating] To tell ya the truth, I never was much for the holidays. It's been forever since I'd known a holiday, since I'd seen my family, since I'd been with a girl, since I'd driven a car. You see, cars are what put me here: Iron Mountain, Maximum Security. I was riding a hard five for grand theft auto. Meanwhile, most of my esteemed raping and murdering colleagues were up for parole in three. The world works like that sometimes. All the time, in my experience. That's me, Rudy ...
See more »


Referenced in Role Models (2008) See more »


At Last
Written by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
Performed by Etta James
Published by EMI Feist Catalog Inc. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Affleck-ted, but Not Fatally
23 February 2001 | by (Berkeley, CA) – See all my reviews

John Frankenheimer follows up his great comeback film, "Ronin," with "Reindeer Games," a flawed but efficient thriller that recalls his earlier "52 Pick-Up."

Freshly paroled ex-con Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) assumes the identity of his cellmate, Nick (who misses out on his parole when he is taken out during a prison riot), when Rudy falls for Nick's gorgeous pen-pal, Ashley (Charlize Theron). The ruse goes awry when he is also mistaken for Nick by a gang of thugs (headed by Gary Sinise) who recruit him in their planned heist of an Indian casino at which Nick had been employed.

Like "52 Pick-Up," "Reindeer Games" has a central character whose flawed behavior puts him at the mercy of dangerous individuals who conceive a scheme that spins out of control. "52 Pick-Up" was successful because the entire cast, beginning with Roy Scheider as the trapped hero, was equal to the task of bringing the grittiness of the material to the screen. The one significant problem with "Reindeer Games" is the casting of squeaky-clean Affleck as its central character. Through no fault of his own, Affleck looks like a lightweight alongside a supporting cast that includes Sinise, Clarence Williams III, Danny Trejo, and Dennis Farina -- all actors who look like they have lived a little. Affleck cuts a profile similar to that of Scheider, but without the lived-in look that made him convincing as someone who would be able to go toe to toe with his tormentors.

"Reindeer" is helped greatly by the performance of Theron, who, while also young, always has been able to project a more adult presence like the young Kathleen Turner. Credited more for her on- and off-screen glamour, Theron often is underrated as an actress. Here she conveys equal parts sweetness, intelligence, dismay, and ferocity. Of course, she also livens up her sensual scenes. For many actresses, nudity itself is the extent of their sexuality, but Theron generates heat simply by looking comfortable and bringing an unforced quality to the proceedings.

The other major plus is Frankenheimer's direction, which turns an adequate screenplay into a solid thriller. He keeps the story moving and handles the action scenes economically, avoiding the excesses of Michael Bay, Simon West, and other directors of MTV-inspired fireball-fests. As in "Ronin," the action actually stays within the bounds of plausibility, which makes them more involving.

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Favorite Charlize Scene In REINDEER GAMES abrooks-4
Favorite Quotes Andyp007
Where did this take place? yooper1019
what a GREAT movie! clarkent25
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Ashton Kutcher is in this film! Double-Down
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