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House of Games (1987)

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A psychiatrist comes to the aid of a compulsive gambler and is led by a smooth-talking grifter into the shadowy but compelling world of stings, scams, and con men.

Director:

David Mamet

Writers:

David Mamet (screenplay), Jonathan Katz (story) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lindsay Crouse ... Margaret Ford
Joe Mantegna ... Mike
Mike Nussbaum ... Joey
Lilia Skala ... Dr. Littauer
J.T. Walsh ... The Businessman
Willo Hausman Willo Hausman ... Girl with Book
Karen Kohlhaas Karen Kohlhaas ... Prison Ward Patient
Steven Goldstein ... Billy Hahn (as Steve Goldstein)
Jack Wallace ... Bartender / House of Games
Ricky Jay ... George / Vegas Man
G. Roy Levin G. Roy Levin ... Poker Player
Bob Lumbra Bob Lumbra ... Poker Player
Andy Potok Andy Potok ... Poker Player
Allen Soule Allen Soule ... Poker Player
Ben Blakeman Ben Blakeman ... Bartender / Charlie's Tavern
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Storyline

A famous psychologist, Margaret Ford, decides to try to help one of her patients get out of a gambling debt. She visits the bar where Mike, to whom the debt is owed, runs poker games. He convinces her to help him in a game: her assignment is to look for "tells", or give-away body language. What seems easy to her becomes much more complex. Written by John J. Magee <magee@helix.mgh.harvard.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where the game is never over. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Tell See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$116,677, 18 October 1987, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,585,639
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmhaus See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of six cinema movie collaborations [to date, October 2015] of actor Joe Mantegna and writer-director David Mamet. The films include Edmond (2005), Redbelt (2008), Lakeboat (2000), Homicide (1991), Things Change (1988) and House of Games (1987). See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film, at the end of the airport baggage area scene viewing Mike and Margaret from above a ventilation duct, Margaret's travel bag is visible on the far left exactly parallel with the edge of the conveyor belt upon which it's placed. But in the next shot from the same view, the bag is at a 45-degree angle from its original position. See more »

Quotes

Prison Ward Patient: Y'know, I know there are people who are normal.
Dr. Margaret Ford: Are there?
Patient: Yes, there are. But...
Dr. Margaret Ford: But what?
Patient: But I don't know what those people do.
See more »

Connections

References King Kong (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

This True Love Stopped For You (But Not For Me)
by Rokko Jans
Sung by June Shellene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Journey to the Dark Side
23 October 2016 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In Seattle, Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) is a successful psychiatrist and writer of a best-seller. When her client Billy Hahn (Steven Goldstein) tells that he owes US$ 25,000 to the gambler Mike (Joe Mantegna), he threatens to commit suicide with a gun. Billy also tells that Mike will kill him anyway and she is not helping him. Margaret feels powerless but she promises to help him if he delivers his pistol to her. Margaret goes to the House of the Games, a place where gamblers play pool in the saloon and poker in the rear, and she meets the cynical con man Mike. He tells that Billy owes him only US$ 800 and he would forget the debt if she helps him in a poker game. Margaret observes a player but she finds in the end that it was a scheme of Mike and his friends to take money from her. On the next morning, Margaret visits a patient and she feels that she cannot help her. Her friend and adviser Dr. Maria Littauer (Lilia Skala) suggests that she should give a break in her career and write another book. Margaret seeks out Mike and asks to see how he operates since she wants to study the confidence games to write a book. He agrees and Margaret begins her journey to her dark side.

"House of the Games" is the directorial debut of the writer David Mamet with an intelligent thriller. The story of a psychiatrist that feels powerless to help her patients and befriends the con man Mike and his friends to write a new book is a powerful characters study. Mike' scheme is predictable but the plot keeps the attention of the viewer until the last scene. In addition, the cinematography is top-notch. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Jogo de Emoções" ("The Game of Emotions")


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