A French boarding school run by priests seems to be a haven from World War II until a new student arrives. He becomes the roommate of top student in his class. Rivals at first, the roommates form a bond and share a secret.
Atlantic City is a place where people go to realize their dreams, the promise of the future manifested by the demolition of the old crumbling buildings to be replaced by new hotels and casinos. Someone who recently came to Atlantic City for that promise is native Moose Javian (Saskatchewan) Sally Matthews, who currently works as a waitress at a hotel oyster bar, but who is training to be a black jack croupier and wants to be more cultured, such as learning French, in order to work at the casinos in Monte Carlo. Another dreamer who came to Atlantic City decades ago is Lou Pascal, who has long worked as a numbers runner and who claims to have been a cellmate and thus implied confidante of Bugsy Siegel. Although Lou still dresses to the standard to which he is accustomed, his dream long died as he only works penny ante stuff for Fred, most of his current income from being the kept man of widowed recluse, Grace Pinza. Grace too came to Atlantic City to fulfill her dreams - most ...Written by
It is the only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year not to win any Academy Awards. See more »
At one point Sally (Susan Sarandon) asks a florist to send flowers to her dead husbands family in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Sally mentions that it is "near Medicine Hat". Medicine Hat, Alberta is in fact nowhere near Moose Jaw, which is over 250 miles away. See more »
As the end credits roll, an old building on the boardwalk is demolished to some of the tunes that appear earlier in the film. Each time the wrecking ball hits, we hear a cymbal crash and the soundtrack jumps to a different song. See more »
The setting and the characters are just right for each other. Atlantic City is undergoing a transformation, with new casinos and hotels dotting its shoreline while a few blocks in, out of the tourists sight, the full time residents live in what's left over from the past. Louis Malle captures it all with this story about a retired small time member of the local organized crime syndicate (Burt Lancaster) who comes into a small fortune worth of stolen cocaine when the guy that stole it (Robert Joy) is killed by the dealers who meant to buy it in the first place down in Philadelphia, and are now hot on his heels as well. Back in the life, though unwittingly, he sells the coke to an ongoing poker game in one of the suites in a new hotel, bit by bit, and falls into the romance of his dreams with young Susan Sarandon, whom he watched every night from his hotel room as she bathed her breasts with lemon juice in her room across the way. Like the refurbishing city its set in, he feels rejuvenated and in one instance even fearless in the face of the ruthless Philly dealers. The film put Lancaster back in the limelight for a while, and refreshingly so. Its gritty realism and characters, especially Joy, who makes an excellent hippie con-man, marked the end of an era of that realistic 70's urban crime drama genre that deftly mixed romance with drugs and violence, and portrayed the underworld, mostly minus the cops, so well.
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