Down 1,293 this week

The Cooler (2003)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  16 January 2004 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 28,052 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 213 user | 157 critic | 36 from

In an old school Las Vegas casino, its top gambling jinx breaks his curse when he falls in love, much to his boss' consternation.


Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $5.99 on Amazon Video


Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 14 Mar 2011
a list of 42 titles
created 24 Dec 2011
a list of 24 titles
created 06 Feb 2012
a list of 23 titles
created 03 Feb 2014
a list of 40 titles
created 6 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The Cooler" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Cooler (2003)

The Cooler (2003) on IMDb 7/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Cooler.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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.

Director: Richard Kwietniowski
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver, John Hurt
Hell on Earth (1931)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Directors: Victor Trivas, George Shdanoff
Stars: Ernst Busch, Vladimir Sokoloff, Renée Stobrawa
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A movie crew invades a small town whose residents are all too ready to give up their values for showbiz glitz.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Rebecca Pidgeon
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, 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: Mike Figgis
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands
Hintertreppe (1921)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A crippled mailman is in love with a maid who lives in the same building he does in one of the city's poor neighborhoods. She, however, is in love with a wealthy, handsome young man. ... See full summary »

Directors: Leopold Jessner, Paul Leni
Stars: Henny Porten, Fritz Kortner, William Dieterle
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Constanza, princess of Spain, meets Pedro, her promised husband and future king of Portugal. Amidst political intrigue, Pedro falls in love with Inès, Constanza's aid. Inès returns hastily ... See full summary »

Director: José Leitão de Barros
Stars: Antonio Vilar, Alicia Palacios, María Dolores Pradera
Trifles (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Director: Juan de Orduña
Stars: Aurora Bautista, Jorge Mistral, Lina Yegros
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Director: Ramón Torrado
Stars: Antonio Casal, Jorge Mistral, Isabel de Pomés
Soldiers (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Director: Alfonso Ungría
Stars: Antonio Acebal, Francisco Algora, Vicente Amaya
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Director: Luis Marquina
Stars: Roberto Rey, Ana María Custodio, Antoñita Colomé
Of the Flesh (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Director: Marilou Diaz-Abaya
Stars: Charito Solis, Phillip Salvador, Vic Silayan
Crossing Over (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Wayne Kramer
Stars: Robert Donavan, Monte Grix, Michèle Lawrence


Cast overview, first billed only:
Buddy Stafford
Johnny Cappella
Highway Officer (as MC Gainey)
Richard Israel ...
Marty Goldfarb
Timothy Landfield ...
The Player


The unluckiest man in Vegas - a guy whose bad luck is contagious - is used by the last of the old time mob run casinos to kill high rollers' action. That is, until he falls in love with a cocktail waitress and gets "lady luck," which throws the situation into reverse. Things turn nasty when the casino director tries to break up the romance. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love have to play to win See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 January 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Golpe de suerte  »

Box Office


$3,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$128,973 (USA) (28 November 2003)


£438,172 (UK) (2 July 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Bernie's Room 104 is located at the Town House Motor Lodge, 303 West Second Street, in Reno, Nevada. The film crew put another motel sign ("Bettor Life") over the Town House sign for filming the movie. The EZ Mini Market where Bernie shops is also at the Town House Motel. The Room 104 interiors were shot at the studio. The pool is still empty, even in the summers. The Town House is a quarter mile from the Golden Phoenix, at Second Street and Arlington in Reno. See more »


Natalie's hair changes several times between shots when telling Bernie about her 'Little Joe.' See more »


[first lines]
Casino employee: Where's Bernie, they're killing us. Yeah, we need him right away.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Maria Bello's face is reflected on the side of the "Lady Luck" hotel. See more »


References Lost Horizon (1937) See more »


Can I Steal a Little Love
Written by Phil Tuminello
Arranged by Kevin Antunes
Performed by Joey Fatone
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Las Vegas-Or the City in a Parallel Universe

"The Cooler" has really divided viewers. Some, definitely not all, are taken with William H. Macy's first-ever sexy role where he shows his buns (and a bit more) as Bernie the Cooler, a key employee at the Shangri-la, a Las Vegas casino a bit shopworn and out of touch with the latest and hottest on the Strip. A cooler is a guy who shows up by the side of a punter on a long winning streak and, somehow, extinguishes his luck merely by hanging around the table and acting like a klutz.

Maria Bello is a cocktail waitress, Natalie, relegated to the low end of the casino where elderly day trippers bet small amounts. Feeling sorry for her, and perhaps a bit attracted, Bernie gets her transferred to the big spender zone where, presumably, tips are better. One thing leads to another and - wow - Macy is, according to a few of my female friends, a heck of a lot sexier than, say, a wannabe babe magnet like Brad Pitt.

Running the casino is Shelley, Alec Baldwin. Shelley has a problem: the casino's investors (a euphemism) want to tear down the place and build a new, modern joint that will pack in the younger high rollers. A sentimentalist at heart, as well as a gangster, Shelley wants Shangri-la - which does turn a profit as he points out to the guys demanding change - to stick it out as the last classy, old style casino. This is the stuff of eyeball to eyeball confrontation.

Natalie is the catalyst for a change in Bernie's luck - and lust. From an initially awkward conjoining, the two fall deeply in love and find they're in synch in the sack. So she's no longer a catalyst, she's the Significant Other.

Bernie has some family issues with his lackluster son and Natalie has to deal with problems with Shelley that would merit a lawsuit about a hostile workplace . Shelley - poor guy - really needs a dedicated cooler, Bernie is the best and he knows, he thinks, how to insure renewed employee dedication.

No Nevada gaming authority or cops here - this casino seems to be in a parallel universe where the honchos make their own rules independent of even the semblance of regulation. There can't really be a Shangri-la like this place in Las Vegas (I'm sort of sure).

Macy delivers a terrific performance as a schlepp who finds he has the heart of if not a lion at least a fierce tabby. Bello handles the shifting moods of her character very well-she's a good actress. And very pretty. Baldwin turns in a predictably dependable job as a tired mobster/businessman who holds true to values rejected by the new generation of Organized Crime wiz kids (one persistent pest sent to remake the casino is dismissed as a "Harvard turd").

All in all, a good movie especially because it showcases Macy in an unexpected role where he demonstrates the depth of his enormous acting ability.

WARNING: Very explicit sexuality and some in-your-face brutality. Not for kids.


16 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Macy Sold Out kevindoran77
Question about Ending haines
this seems a bit like a david mamet work... nalberico
Positivity joyinacceptance
Which year was it based on? jurassickid97-172-310845
Discuss The Cooler (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: