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Owning Mahowny (2003)

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A bank manager with: (a) a gambling problem and (b) access to a multimillion dollar account gets into a messy situation. Based on the story of the largest one-man bank fraud in Canadian history.


(book), (screenplay)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Perlin
Det. Ben Lock
Sonja Smits ...
Dana Selkirk
Bernie (as Chris Collins)
Dave Quinson
Doug (as Vincent Corazza)
Bill Gooden
Eric Fink ...
Parking Attendant
Tanya Henley ...
Brona Brown ...


Dan Mahowny was a rising star at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. At twenty-four he was assistant manager of a major branch in the heart of Toronto's financial district. To his colleagues he was a workaholic. To his customers, he was astute, decisive and helpful. To his friends, he was a quiet, but humorous man who enjoyed watching sports on television. To his girlfriend, he was shy but engaging. None of them knew the other side of Dan Mahowny--the side that executed the largest single-handed bank fraud in Canadian history, grossing over $10 million in eighteen months to feed his gambling obsession. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


To some it's a game. To others it's a habit. But to Dan Mahowny -- beating the odds is everything See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 September 2003 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

A Queda de um Jogador  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,287, 4 May 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,011,054, 19 October 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While this is not a remake, The Borrower (1984) is based on the same true story. See more »


The distance Dan's green car is from the curb when he stalls out changes between camera shots. See more »


Psychologist: You know, some folks believe everyone has a public life, a private life, and a secret life. What do you think about that?
Dan Mahowny: The thing is, I guess... that my secret life... is a bit less secret than everyone else's right now.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the closing credits you'll see the strongroom door from the start again and hear the sound of the ball in a roulette wheel. Rien ne vas plus. See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Episode #1.2 (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

A tour de force. One of the best of 2003
9 February 2004 | by See all my reviews

Every once and while, film buffs get a treat. Amongst all the crash and burn violence and volume of the summer blockbusters, every once and while, a movie will sneak under the radar and capture our attention.

Owning Mahowny didn't get much of a theatrical release. Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, the film never played on more than 24 screens and earned only a fraction of the minute $10 million budget. But here is your chance to find it in the lonely ‘O' section of your local DVD retailer.

The movie is based on the true story of Dan Mahowny (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a mid-level bank official that has a gambling problem. Dan will bet on almost anything and his addiction would result in a financial hole not easily climbed. It is here that Dan begins to use his title at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce to fraudulently steal money for week-end trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Over his eighteen month spree, Dan was able to gamble over $10 million of the banks dollars.

The film follows Dan through the initial stages of his addiction and careful details his interaction with Vegas hotel staff, co-workers and his girlfriend as he feeds his desires while keeping his compulsion secret. As he falls deeper into the casino's pockets, the hotel owners fall deeper in love with his freelance style, and Dan is soon treated with celebrity like status upon every visit. However, eventually, the police begin to piece the missing money together and the result is the uncovering of the biggest one-man bank fraud to ever hit the Canadian borders.

Owning Mahowny is a terrific film largely in part to the incredible acting performance by Hoffman. As Dan Mahowny, Hoffman is able to portray an insatiable gambler who is ignorant to his surroundings when at the card table. His stare at the table and lack of emotional response, either for the good or the bad, is incredibly parlayed by Hoffman's sweat and stature. A scene where Mahowny takes his girlfriend to Vegas but quickly ignores and forgets her once he is in front of a blackjack table is unforgettable.

Owning Mahowny is not without its good supporting cast either, including John Hurt (Alien) as the Casino owner that takes a shine to Mahowny and Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting) as his girlfriend. Both show us the contrast between someone who doesn't want to know how he does it and loves him for it and the other who can't seem to get to know the man she loves.

Like 1999's Rogue Trader, it is scary to see the loopholes exploited by bank or financial institution employees in these true stories brought to the big screen. It both movies, you see how one man with the access to large amounts of money can easily get over their own head and dig themselves deeper and deeper into a whole, yet they are always thinking they are one bet or one trade away from righting the wrong.

Owning Mahowny was one of the best films of 2003, and should not be missed. Storytelling doesn't get any better than this.

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