7.3/10
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125 user 78 critic

House of Games (1987)

Trailer
2:06 | Trailer
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ricky Jay is a sleight-of-hand artist and an acknowledged authority on the art of the con. In an NPR interview, Jay related that when David Mamet needed a short-change scam to be explained in "House of Games", he asked Jay for details of an authentic short-change hustle. However, Jay did not want to betray the confidence of the hustlers he knew who still used various short-change cons for their "livelihood". The envelope switch you see in the final film is an original switch invented by Ricky Jay specially for the film. Later, it was reported that an amateur thief had been caught attempting to use the switch as he had learned it from the film. See more »

Goofs

When Mike is dressing in the hotel room, the narrow (back) side of his necktie is clearly three inches too long when he finishes. One edit later, wardrobe has obviously corrected the error. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Margaret Ford: You took my money.
Mike: How naughty of me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Best Films of 1987 (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

Who Gets Conned Here?
1 May 2003 | by Bucs1960See all my reviews

I've viewed this film four times and at each viewing my interest was piqued a little more and I appreciated the film a little more. Granted the stylized approach is a little off-putting at first, but on repeated viewings, it becomes appropriate in the context of the film. Lindsay Crouse,(Mamet's wife at the time), plays a psychiatrist who methodically approaches her treatment of her patients, is a very closed person, and seemingly unfulfilled; hence, her interest and eventual immersion into the activities happening in the House of Games. Her almost robotic reading of the lines seems to fit her screen personality. She is at first curious and then becomes obsessed with Joe Mantegna and his way of life. As we will see, she plays right into his hands, and so do we. I won't go into detail about the story and it's strengths since it has been said better in previous reviews on this board. But the big con is on us, the viewers......we think we know what is happening...in fact we think we know several times. WRONG!! The ending will blow you away and if you figured it out, you need to be working the con game. This is a strange, almost erotic movie that will fascinate you, even though it might take a couple a viewings to fully appreciate it.


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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

Gross USA:

$2,585,639

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,585,639
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmhaus See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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